Due to the COVID outbreak, the travel industry has been placed under an immense amount of pressure. This is the very same reason why travel and tourism professionals have needed to place a much greater emphasis on the concept of safety. How can such an approach be used in conjunction with your ongoing marketing campaigns and guest communication? We provide you with tips on how to highlight safety in your messaging which response to the new COVID safety needs of your customers.
Understanding the Fundamental Principles of Marketing in the Current Situation
Before moving on to discuss the ongoing role of safety in your communications, we need to appreciate the impact of marketing as a whole. Marketing is normally defined as the means by which you are able to illustrate the core competencies of your firm. Here are some common intentions of any marketing strategy:
- To highlight the most attractive qualities of a firm.
- They establish a strong brand identity.
- To associate the organisation with reliability and integrity.
- To attract new clients while ensuring that existing customers remain loyal.
Of course, you will also need to take into account a handful of metrics such as your target audience, their needs and expectation. As such factors should be predicted in advance, a significant amount of research and analysis will be required.
In terms of marketing within the travel industry, a handful of additional niche metrics should also be identified. Some of these can include (but might not be limited to) highly competitive rates, providing a host of transportation options and partnering with relevant establishments (such as hotels and restaurants) in order to embrace a client-centred appeal.
However, we are also aware that the travel industry is fluid in nature. The desires and requirements of clients are bound to change over time. Although some of these trends can be rather cyclical (such as offering deals around the holidays or special bulk travel packages during the summer season), others are decidedly unpredictable. If your organisation is not able to proactively adapt to drastic industry shifts, you will invariably lose customers.
Appreciating the New Role that Safety Will Play Within the Travel Industry
Perhaps the most confounding factor associated with the current global pandemic is a simple fact that travellers have helped to spread the virus itself. Thus, it was not a great surprise when many nations closed their borders to foreign travellers and holidaymakers. Now that some of these restrictions have begun to ease, you need to be able to place a greater emphasis on safety and hygiene than ever before.
It is already logical that travel-related businesses must follow the rules outlined by governmental regulations (such as social distancing measures and the provision of the proper hygienic products). Although the majority of firms have taken the appropriate steps, clients might not be aware of these changes. This is why communication via marketing is once again critical.
Clarity and Insight: Embracing Efficient Levels of Communication
It is impossible to put a price on safety. Whether dealing with a first-class business traveller or an individual flying coach in order to spend time with his or her family, security is paramount. Let us also make it a point to note that many customers will still be wary of travelling even if they are now permitted. We are not only referring to services directly related to travel (such as cruises, airlines and car rentals). Ancillary firms must likewise adopt appropriate communication measures. These include for example hotels, restaurants and firms related to tourism such as travel agencies.
Travellers who feel that their health and safety will not be placed in jeopardy are much more likely to take subsequent steps such as confirming a reservation or engaging with a customer service representative.
This brings us to the crux of our article. How can your travel firm clearly and effectively communicate the steps which have been taken in order to guarantee the safety of guests during their journey? Let us now look at five key takeaway points which could make all of the difference in the world between a satisfied client and one who decides to look elsewhere; perhaps to one of your main competitors.
Five Professional Suggestions to Communicate the Safety-Related Steps You have Taken
1. Leverage the Presence of Your Website Homepage
Visibility is key if you hope to convey the safety-related steps that have already been taken. This is why it is important to modify the information contained within the homepage of your website so that it highlights how your operations have been affected. You can also choose to place an internal link which redirects visitors to a page solely dedicated to safety and health information related to COVID. Here are some examples of steps which may be listed:
- Mandatory two-metre distances between travellers.
- The obligation of wearing face masks while in transit.
- The presence of sanitary and/or hygienic wipes in order to prevent infections.
2. Reiterate the Steps You Have Taken During the Reservation Process
The information outlined above should likewise be stressed while a client is confirming a reservation. Not only will this once again reiterate your commitment to safety, but it can also place any concerns of the client at ease. As a result, he or she will be more likely to complete the booking. It is also wise to provide a clear option if they wish to discuss their safety questions with a customer service representative. This helps to build trust and to highlight the transparent nature of your firm.
3. Examine and Modify the Description of Your Travel Firm Across Pivotal Distribution Channels
Keep in mind that a growing number of travellers are utilising websites such as Booking.com and Travelocity in order to compare and contrast different services. It is therefore crucial that you modify any information within these and other third-party portals accordingly. If your safety updates are not posted, the visitor might assume that you have not taken the appropriate steps.
4. Provide Safety-Related Information Within Pre-Arrival and Confirmation Emails
The majority of travel firms will send an email to their clients in order to confirm their reservation and to provide additional information such as QR codes or end-user agreements. It, therefore, makes perfect sense to use this as another opportunity to communicate the steps which have been taken to address COVID-related safety concerns. Here are a handful of examples of what might be contained within such an email:
- The health and safety regulations associated with the destination in question.
- The opportunity to choose hands-free payment methods.
- Express check-in services.
- Any additional pre-boarding recommendations (such as arriving earlier due to anticipated delays).
Customers can therefore remain informed during every step of the way.
5. Offer On-the-Spot Safety Information to Reinforce Your Commitment
Finally, any on-site representatives should effectively communicate the safety measures which your firm has taken. This will provide clients with a greater sense of assurance and ultimately, remind travellers that your firm has prioritised their health.
Although the global pandemic has placed a great deal of stress upon the travel sector, firms can still adapt in order to provide their customers with superior levels of service while maintaining safety protocols. Still, effectively communicating your efforts is key if you hope to maintain client loyalty over time. Please feel free to refer back to the suggestions highlighted throughout this article if you hope to satisfy your travellers while remaining well ahead of the competition.