Hairdressers, hotels and college tuition: The rise and fall of post-lockdown prices

What will prices be like as things begin to reopen post-lockdown? These industries are repricing services to increase demand and keep afloat

With reduced pay and high unemployment rates, most have been worried about what prices will be like post-lockdown. 

Some services have already announced raised rates, while others have had to dramatically drop prices to increase demand.

And while we don’t have a crystal ball to predict what exactly will happen in the future, analysing market trends and gathering statements from industry leaders certainly helps predict how costs might look in a post-pandemic world.


University tuition remains high despite migrating online

As the world continues to navigate Covid-19 outbreaks, many higher level institutions are planning on primarily teaching through online learning. Trinity College Dublin will reopen in September with a hybrid approach in place, with larger lectures being online and smaller tutorials and labs being face-to-face. University College Dublin will take a similar approach, encouraging “at-distance learning” whenever possible. The college also announced that module offerings may be reduced in order to lower the mixing of students.

However, despite these changes, most universities do not intend to lower their tuition fees. Many students have spoken out in protest and the president for the Union of Students in Ireland, Lorna Fitzpatrick, wholeheartedly agrees with their concerns. Speaking with The Today Show on RTÉ, she said that students shouldn’t have to pay the price for a reduced educational experience.


“At the moment for undergraduate fees we have the highest fees in the EU at €3,000 and for postgraduate fees you're looking at anything from €4,000 with many paying €7-9,000," Fitzpatrick said. “I don't think students should be forced to pay the same amount for what is going to be a very different experience. The simple answer is we should be reducing the cost to students to accessing education.”


Hairdressers raise prices to fix at home box dye jobs

Due to reopen this Monday, June 29, popular hairdressing chain Peter Mark has announced some changes to their price list. Because hairdressers have been closed for three months, the chain expects to see “hair regrowth” and box dyed hair in need of colour correction. As a result, Peter Mark said it may raise their rates by an additional €45 to €60 compared to their more common services. Three costly colour services will be available: colour detox (for those who used box dye during lockdown), colour extend (for grown out roots) and colour restore (for faded hair colour).

“To adjust for the time that has elapsed since your last salon service our teams may need to perform one of three technical applications,” said the announcement on social media. “These are to address long regrowth, uneven or patchy colour and hair that has faded. These additional technical services may require a longer appointment time and should be factored into your salon visit.”

The salon chain has faced backlash since their announcement, with customers worried that Peter Mark may be starting the trend of raised prices for hairdressers across the country. And, it seems their worries are justified. Guidelines published by the Irish Hairdressers’ Federation contain over 100 specific recommendations to safeguard staff and customers in salons and barbers.

This means that salons will not only have to deal with a backlog of customers but must also pay for PPE and frequent cleaning of stations between clients while operating at a reduced capacity. So it is highly likely that other salons will follow Peter Mark’s lead and charge for additional services to offset these costs.


Cost of flights may increase as competition falls away

Air travel has been one of the most negatively impacted industries since the Covid-19 pandemic. With at home orders and travel bans, flight demand has been incredibly low. Airlines like Thomas Cook and Flybe have gone bankrupt while others like Virgin Australia have sought government bailouts. A quick search online, and you’ll find that right now, ticket prices are fairly cheap as airlines struggle to increase demand.

However, flight ticket prices are expected to rise after lockdown, depending on whether social distancing will be required on board and if competition remains fierce. An industry source recently told The Telegraph that prices may skyrocket if social distancing is enforced. If airlines can only fill half the seats, for example, then they will have to double prices to compensate. This, combined with a surge in post-homebound travel jitters, could definitely increase costs for consumers.


But if health checks and mandatory face masks become the new norm, social distancing may be scrapped altogether. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus representatives have said that social distancing is not practical on board aircrafts and that other precautions in place (i.e. face masks, frequent cleaning) are more efficient alternatives. If social distancing is not required, then prices may continue to remain low to stimulate demand a factor contingent on competition and other airlines staying afloat.


Hotel and Airbnb prices expected to remain lower than previous peak seasons

The hospitality industry has been faced with a daunting challenge as accommodations have had to shift services to follow safety guidelines. Installing sanitisation stations, increasing cleaning services and reducing capacity have all been part of some hotels tasks prior to reopening at the end of this month. As a result, usual amenities like buffet breakfasts, same day check-ins, pools and spas may be temporarily unavailable. 

Staggered check ins, reservation-only restaurant bookings and one way entrances and exits will be part of the new hotel stay experience. Airbnb has also raised the standards of their cleaning protocol after collaborating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These new safety precautions are not just to comply with government guidelines but to help gain the trust of travelers in a post-lockdown environment.

After safely residing in their homes for over three months, many people are wary of travelling to new places. It is expected that Irish hotels, B&Bs and Airbnbs will reopen at reduced rates to encourage guests to travel and slowly build trust. And, with the pressure of competition across the State, these rates will most likely remain low for some time.



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Read more: New guidelines show what Irish schools will look like when they reopen

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