On the 2nd July, Lucas Ennis, Head of Growth at WeTravel, hosted expert speaker Jon Peahl, President of Sansee Systems, in a live webinar to discuss hygiene and safety for tour operators and their clients when they reopen.
WeTravel is a booking and payment solutions provider for SME travel businesses, tour operators, group trip organizers, and travel planners.
Sansee Systems offers a global hygiene program and certification for tours and attractions based on a post-COVID-19 society.
Download our summarized one-pager document from the webinar by clicking here.
You can watch the webinar on YouTube here:
Key Discussion Points
In the webinar, Luke and Jon tackle some of the pressing issues concerning travel providers at the moment, including:
- Key areas to focus on the new traveler journey so you can get more bookings for your group tours
- How to update your website and tour proposals to instill confidence with your potential customers
- 4 actionable steps you can take to inspire confidence with your team and future travelers
- How to start a readiness plan to show your customers you are ready to open
COVID-19 Impact On Group Travel
WeTravel recently assisted an educational association with collecting data to present to Congress on how group and educational travel has been impacted by the pandemic, and several points came up which spurred this webinar.
First is that travel companies aren’t 100% ready to re-open or run tours at this time.
Then from the travelers’ perspective, it showed that the main thing they are looking for is for the company they will be traveling with to have a clear hygiene plan in place.
With the aim of closing this gap by giving travel organizers some actionable tips to walk away and implement in their business over the next few weeks, Jon agreed to hop on the call with Luke to provide us with some expert advice.
Jon has worked side by side with the CDC dealing with infectious diseases. He’s also studied epidemiology, law, and has been in the travel industry for about 20 years, making him just the man to speak to for this occasion.
Areas To Focus On
Travelers are going to be ok with an elevated level of risk – those who are ready to go on trips within the next 6 to 9 months are going to be ok with an elevated level of risk.
They will want to see a safety plan in place – trips can still be run safely, although travelers will want to see that your company has a plan.
Perceptions will matter – travelers are going to want to see your readiness plan upfront before they can trust you enough to travel with you.
Control perceptions and instill confidence in travelers – share your readiness plan on your website, in your proposals, in your contactless payments and waivers.
Use visuals, pictures, and videos to instill confidence – set the right tone using reassuring language and visuals online and on-site to demonstrate your readiness and measures you are taking.
Inform and educate without alarming travelers – some travelers will be ready to book without delving into too much detail, while others will want to know everything. Set up prominent banners, pop-ups, or CTAs with links to more information on your website to cater to everyone.
Setup or improve your readiness plan – outline industry connections and associations, for example, SYTA, ABA, NTA, ATTA.
Contactless payments – offer flexible payment plans with contactless payments and refund options where applicable.
Actionable Steps To Inspire Confidence
Communicate as early, often, and as specifically as possible.
Analyze contact points that you and your guests encounter on the experience to see how protected you are from these exposures.
List materials involved in the experience and how they handled, stored, and cleaned to be kept sanitary.
Teach your team, yourself, and your guests any necessary skills or precautions to follow or take during the experience.
Act by sharing your readiness plan and making it visible.
Nothing is perfect the first time around. Your readiness plan and actions you take are a work in progress.
There are clear benefits to having a plan in place: it gets your whole team on board and gives them something to reference.
Importantly, it shows your clients that you are ready to welcome them and instills confidence in your abilities.
On the other hand, not having a plan can lead to travelers seeking out your competitors instead. It can also leave your team unsure of how to answer or respond to a situation or query.
More Helpful Resources
CDC Reopening Guidelines [PDF Download] – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control [CDC] has a 62-page document on reopening guidelines from May 2020.
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions [PDF Download] – IAAPA has released their May 1 “Reopening Guidance, Considerations for the Global Attractions Industry”
Live Tours https://www.livetours.com/ – Audio system for live guided tours using smartphones and earphones – COVID-19 Hygiene Certified. Jon mentioned this company in the Q&A.
Student Youth Travel Association [June 24 Guidelines] – SYTA has released a page called “Considerations: Health and Safety on the Road”