After looking at predictions for the travel industry as it begins to emerge from COVID-19, travel companies will be figuring out the next steps to take. Business as usual will look quite different in the future of travel, and there will be new ways to interact with and attract travel clients in the market.
Certainly, wellness and hygiene are at the forefront of everything we do at the moment, and this will be reflected in how we travel as well. Groups are expected to start smaller and close to home, while travelers may be more budget-conscious coming out of the pandemic. They are also going to be looking to go contactless as much as possible.
For travel brands working out how to better serve and attract the new breed of travelers, we provide some tips below.
Ways To Better Serve and Attract Clients In The New Travel Market
1. Detail The Safety Precautions You Are Taking
First and foremost, travelers will want to know that they will be safe if they choose to go on your tour or buy your travel product. Armed with the information that you give them about the precautions you will take and how you plan to meet government safety regulations, they will then decide on booking.
It’s, therefore, in your best interest to make all of this information readily available on your website. Send it out via email to your existing customer base, and generally be proactive in letting travelers know that their safety, along with that of your team, is the number one priority.
2. Create Exciting New Products
If your travel business’s planned path to recovery includes opening right away, you will probably have come up with a new local offering. This is because industry predictions for the future of travel highlight that local tourism will bounce back first.
We already mentioned that there are several schools of thought as to how tours will start again.
One is that they will start small with groups preferring to stay close to home. Travelers who have been under lockdown for the last few months may be looking to get to know their local surroundings better without venturing too far out of their comfort zone.
Due to social distancing, they might also be interested in doing this privately with their family or a small group of friends they are familiar with. The alternative would be a small group in general, to limit exposure to the virus as much as possible.
Outdoor activities will likely be popular as open spaces and nature have been sorely missed, and it is easier to keep a safe distance from others.
Although international travel is on the backburner at the moment, there is no saying when it will return. During this time, you can get a head start on lightly revising your international offerings, as travelers may be cautious and looking to have the same type of experience at an international level.
3. Be A Source Of Trusted Information
As we well know, travelers will be cautious coming out of this pandemic. In rebuilding trust, your travel business can act as the go-to source of up to date travel information, where it’s relevant to your product of course.
For example, you could set up a dedicated page on your website and keep it updated with the latest travel information, including details of what is open or restricted in the area where you operate.
Optimizing the page for SEO will help travelers to find you online. Create funnels on the page to link to your latest travel offerings, and from there you can work on nurturing these leads to convert.
For those not quite ready to book, regularly sharing this sort of information will also keep travelers coming back to the site when they look for updates. In turn, your business will be at the forefront of their minds when they are happy to make the move and secure a reservation.
4. Price Right For The Market
Perhaps your business offers local tours that previously attracted foreign inbound travelers. If you hadn’t done so already, you should assess whether your prices will be accepted by the domestic market. This may give you an easier opening for your business as you have an existing base to design or revise your tour or travel product from.
5. Consider Offering Discounts
While it is important not to price yourself into a hole, limited release discounts or early bird offers can boost sales when you need to kick start your business. It can make your product more accessible to travelers who are concerned about their cash flow coming out of the pandemic.
6. Give More Flexibility In Booking Policies
At the moment, travelers are understandably reluctant to part with their money too far in advance due to uncertainties caused by the pandemic. One of the ways to reassure them that their money is safe is to allow greater flexibility on your booking policies.
This doesn’t have to come at a cost to your travel business either. Be clear about cancellation policies and the conditions under which they can be enforced. You don’t want any grey areas in this and should actively protect yourself against disputes and chargebacks.
With updated booking terms you can let travelers know that you have flexible options for them should they need to cancel last minute due to the virus. You can allow them to:
- Rebook at a future date
- Book a different tour instead
- Claim a travel credit to put towards another tour
- Keep a lifetime deposit that doesn’t expire available for the future
- Make their final payment closer to the time of travel
7. Operate Online and Offer Contactless Travel As Much As Possible
Avoid frequently touched surfaces, crowded spaces, cash: these are just some of the things that the CDC and WHO advise against to prevent the spread of the virus.
To address these concerns, your travel business needs to operate online, from answering queries to allowing reservations and taking in payments.
Your team should also know about how to interact with guests during the travel experience, promoting contactless travel as much as possible.
Looking Toward The Future Of Travel
As people begin to rebuild confidence in travel, there’s no saying how long this way of thinking and doing will be around. So, be sure to keep on top of what’s happening in the future of travel to stay relevant in the market.