How Will Travel Marketing Be Reshaped Under COVID-19?

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The unexpected outbreak of the Coronavirus caused the world to come to a complete halt. From overburdened health care systems and overworked health care employees to millions of people losing their jobs worldwide, every sector has been facing innumerable challenges for the last couple of months due to the pandemic. And unfortunately, for many industries, the future still looks bleak.

The travel and tourism industry has been one of the hardest-hit industries around the globe due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The industry accounts for 10.3% of the global GDP. With no definite end in sight in many countries around the world, this global pandemic has, and will almost certainly continue to reshape the landscape of the tourism and travel industry for the foreseeable future. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that international travel could be adversely affected by up to 25% this year.

With social distancing norms, limited domestic and international flights, and complete shutdown of many major tourist attractions, the travel, and tourism industry has come to a standstill. With no services to offer currently, does it make sense for tourism and hospitality brands to continue marketing during these unprecedented times? If your travel and tourism brand is currently affected by all of these restrictions, you have to think of novel ways to continue riding out the storm without losing out on loyal and valuable customers. Here are some simple ways in which the travel and tourism industry has adapted to the current situation and how your company can re-strategize the existing campaigns to etch out content to market through this crisis.

Redesign Your Current Content Strategy

Your brand will have to revamp its content strategy. You can no longer promote offers on hotels and flights, and there is no way to lure customers in with attractive deals in common tourist destinations. Instead, you should now focus on utilizing your existing social media channels to interact with your audience on a personal level. Rather than making money via bookings, use your social media platforms to reach a wider audience and build relationships. Optimize your existing Facebook and Instagram marketing strategies to be suitable for the current situation and share content that is not only informative but also comforting.

With lockdown restrictions slowly starting to ease in the US, it is imperative to continue reaching out to your audience and engaging in conversations around the future of travel. Make sure to stay up to date with the news surrounding the virus and its impact on different popular travel destinations around the world. Use this time to educate your audience about different safety guidelines and travel Dos and Don’ts and answer all of their questions. Remember, your audience does not only care about your services and your products but how your brand makes them feel overall as well. Take this as an opportunity to address your target audience’s concerns and mitigate their fears.

You can also slightly modify your tonality and style to and put out content that is light-hearted, humorous, and relatable. With everything that has been going on around the world, let your social media profiles be a place for your audience to relax and have a good laugh. Focus your marketing strategies to spread positivity and optimism and to show your audience that you care about them.

Change and Highlight New Practices

Once tourism slowly starts in the near future, hygiene and sanitization are going to be of utmost importance to your customers. Travellers would book hotels and travel options only after thoroughly understanding the sanitization practices in place. Your marketing strategy should now highlight key points about cleanliness and how your brand has hygiene as the topmost priority. From minimizing contamination via public places to ensuring strict health check-ups of all incoming guests, redesign your procedures to ensure your customers that their health and wellbeing is paramount to your business.

But hotels and airlines are not the only two sectors that are a part of the tourism industry. If you are a local vehicle rental company that rents out buses or minivans to large groups of people, you will have to assure your customers that you have stringent cleanliness practices to sanitize all your vehicles after every use. You should also lease out smaller cars and vehicles that single families who are not comfortable travelling in groups with strangers can rent for their personal use. You have to adapt and improvise to stay on top of your game once businesses open. Start making changes now, so you are ready to implement them when it is safe to do so.

Offer flexible bookings and cancellations

Another major change that the customers will expect going forward is the option of flexible cancellations. Travel brands should promote flexible booking options which allow customers to make last-minute changes to their bookings and itineraries without hefty fees. Since frequent health checks and self-quarantining is the new norm, knowing that they will not lose out on all their money due to certain unforeseen circumstances will put your customers at ease and improve their trust in your brand. Reassure your customers that as the times are changing, you are changing with it too and are willing to accommodate their needs.

Conclusion

It is no doubt that the coronavirus outbreak has caused a global upheaval, and the tourism industry has suffered tremendous losses. With gradual relaxations in all major states and cities around the world, it is time for the tourism industry to redefine and reimagine their travel marketing campaigns to suit the current climate. Take the time to understand your customer’s concerns and remember that now is probably not the best time to push sales. Be sensitive to the crisis your audience is facing and reach out to them to assure them you are listening and you care. Weave beautiful stories to help your customers look forward to a future where they can travel and see the world again.

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