Reopening the Experience Side of the US and the Globe?

By Mitchell Anthony

February 23, 2021


Americans love to dine, entertain, party and attend sports events.  Americans love for material things had transformed over the last decade into a love for experiences that mostly involve people and gathering. Unfortunately all of those great events that Americans love to pursue came to a roaring halt at the beginning of 2020 due to Covid 19.   Over the last year the regulatory environment and consumer fear has mostly prohibited the restart of experiences and most of the gathering in America and the globe is still shut down or minimized.  This has had a harsh effect on a large part of the US and global economy that is tied to experiences. With vaccinations well underway in America and the globe there is hope and light at the end of this dark tunnel.

When Will Experiences Be Available To Global Consumers?

Well not everything has been shut down and some experiences are still available and operating at normal capacity. This would include golfing, tennis, skiing, snow sports, beach activities, most outdoor sports. Unfortunately most of these experiences are not large industries that drive the economy. They have however kept consumers from going completely nuts in dealing with their deprivation of entertainment and leisure activities.  Some areas of the country are currently open to most consumer experiences. This would include Florida, Texas, and a handful of other more conservative states. The states most impacted by the regulatory environment fighting Covid are in the densely populated parts of America including New York and California. Experiences in these areas are minimized or shut down entirely. Unfortunately the industries that have a greater impact on the US economy seem highly impacted. For example

  • Theme parks shut down
    • Disneyland and theme parks shut down in California.
    • Disney World at minimum capacities in Florida.
  • Broadway shut down
  • Airline travel minimized and highly impacted by fear driven consumers.
  • Business travel extinct.
  • Restaurants shut down or have attendance minimized.
  • Concerts and live entertainment mostly shut down.
  • Special events – weddings, parties, conferences.

There are some Industries that are anxious to reopen and believe it should be done now. This would involve small unbranded restaurants, small unbranded bars, small service industries – hair nails, gyms, etc.

How And When Will We Reopen These Experiences In America?

There is currently no national plan in place by Washington or the federal government in general. The Biden administration has largely left alone the rules put in place by the Trump administration where reopening was delegated to be a decision of each state individually. Most states have reopening of experiences tied to the number of new cases of Covid relative to the population.  In California the current purple tier, the most restrictive of four possible tiers, is set by the number of new daily cases relative the population of 100,000.  This means that until the number of daily cases falls to 7 per 100,000 of population we will stay in the purple tier.  Obviously Newsom could change his mind at any point but thus far he has stuck firmly to his plans. Currently the number of new cases in California is approximately 20 per 100,000 of population per day (down from about 40 two weeks ago).  This has been in decline and falling rapidly. We could be there within a few weeks. Changing the color of the tier though will not reopen California’s experiences entirely as many industries will still have capacity restraints.  Generally reopening seems heavily tied to when herd immunity is achieved in each state. It would also seem that some industries are tied to national stats on herd immunity (travel).  This is because herd immunity is what is required to reduce new cases to less than seven 1000th of 1%.  This seems to be the guideline set by most states.  Seems like an unbelievably low statistic but that is what it is!

Vaccinations seem to be the key to acquiring herd immunity. (Vaccines and Positive cases)  Thus far approximately 15-20% of the population of America has been vaccinated.  Further 30% has already had Covid. This means 45-50% of the population in America could be immune already. Herd immunity has been defined by many professionals as approximately 65-70% of the population having been vaccinated or acquired immunity.  There is reason to believe that America might have heard immunity as early as June or July. Once herd immunity is acquired it will take some time for experience oriented industries to ramp up their operations.  This could delay experiences being available until September.

What are the Risks to A Successful Reopening Of Experiences.

Obviously we could have Failure of Vaccine to be as effective as it was tested and is anticipated to be.  It will be months before we know what the actual efficacy of the vaccine becomes.  Further problems could come from new strains of the virus that are not controlled with the current vaccine. Thus far testing has given us confidence that this will not be a problem.  It would seem the most apparent problem would be tied to Consumer behavior.  Consumers will clearly have fear about returning to gathering.  It is difficult to gauge this but thus far it seems that consumers have been eager to return gathering and that this may not be a huge obstruction in the path of a return to normal consumption of experiences .   Alternatively we could have prove-it phase where consumers move cautiously that could last 1 year or more.

How And When Will We Reopen These Experiences In The Globe.

The globe is bringing vaccinations to the population at a much slower pace than America.  UK and Israel are also leaders.  Vaccinations outside of America are far behind. The Broad part of Europe has only had  5-7% of the population vaccinated. It is unclear why the rest of the globe has not made more progress with vaccinations. It could be because much of the globe has made greater progress in containing the virus with social distancing then has been done in America and as a result didn’t have the sense of urgency to develop the vaccine.  Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Australia have all achieved containment of the virus with social distancing. Conversely Russia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America, have all had problems with containment, but at the same time are far behind bringing a vaccination to their populations.

For Various Reasons Vaccinations In Much Of The Globe Have Lagged America.

The political environment it is such an important part of accomplishing things of this magnitude in any country. Strong leadership is needed to achieve these sorts of goals. Countries lacking strong leadership have suffered and we have seen Latin America and parts of Eastern Europe suffer as a result of these problems.    Third World countries that lack capital has also been a problem. These Poor Economic conditions have caused a lack of funds for obtaining and distributing the vaccine.  Further without development of a vaccine internally these countries have no direct access to the vaccine and must obtain it from other countries. The infrastructure for distribution has been a huge problem for Third World countries.  Global travel to these areas of the world will be impacted for a few years further damaging these fragile economies.


It is reasonable to expect that experiences will get back on track this year in America. The rest of the Developed World will trail America by at least six months or more. The poor and emerging parts of the world will be at least 12 months behind America and may be longer. Experience stocks should continue to do well in the Market.  As a result we have added to our positions in experience names including Southwest Airlines, Wynn Resorts, Darden Restaurants, and Las Vegas Sands.