As we slowly emerge from confinement with the summer season upon us, destinations, hotels, restaurants, transportation companies and attractions will all be vying for potential travelers’ attention. And dollars. We are now entering the era of travel marketing during Covid-19.
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence: it is to act with yesterday’s logic”– Peter Drucker
Thus, travel brands will need to adapt and tweak their communication tactics considering the impact of the last few weeks. As management guru Peter Drucker once famously said, the greatest danger nowadays are not the turbulence themselves, but rather how we adapt and act given the new reality.
Check out this free webinar
I recently presented a 45-minute long webinar, followed by a Q&A session, for SKAL-Canada. There were also international members from USA, Mexico, Ethiopia and South Africa in attendance.
You can watch this webinar by clicking the video above. You can also download the complete verbatim for this presentation by clicking on this link.
NOTE: I would like to thank Serge Doyon, fellow Skal-Quebec member and founder of Telicom. Serge edited the above video and also captured the voice-to-text document.
Security is the new marketing
One thing I would like to emphasize, in case you don’t have time to watch the whole webinar. In coming weeks, and pretty much until we find a vaccine or long-term solution against the Covid-19 virus, health and security will be the new marketing.
This came out loud and clear in a recent study provided by Edelman for the US Travel Association. Travelers will now be seeking reassurance at every step of the decision making process.
As travelers dream of their next trip or destination, watching videos or reading travel blogs, they will now also consider how safe it is to travel. This means airports, transits and transfers, and how easily one can return home should another shutdown occur, for example.
Many Canadian consumers were caught in the travel credit voucher ordeal in the past weeks, in particular with major airlines such as Air Canada, Westjet, Sunwing and Transat. Next time around, what guarantees will exist to ensure reimbursements or money-back clauses?
Same can be said with hotels, resorts and travel packages, as travelers are now seeking longer periods of time when they can change their mind without penalty and getting a full refund.
We may be getting used to waiting in line before entering the grocery store, but how will this new phenomenon affect potential travelers as they prepare for their trip, in particular road trips? Will families purchase a week’s worth of food and drinks before reaching their destination in order to avoid local grocery stores?
Once at the destination, how will signs and direction help travelers have a seamless experience and avoid frustration and loss of time?
More importantly, we can expect different traveler behaviors at the stay stage. Instead of doing three cities (and different accommodations) in a 10-day trip for example, we can expect travelers to opt for only one hotel or Airbnb, with more extensive day trips.
Travelers will opt for known brands, or experiences they are familiar with, which represents a great opportunity for travel brands who send out newsletters to their customer base. Retention and loyalty are now becoming more important than ever.
Last but not least, we can expect reviews to play a key role, as always. Fellow travelers will want to read about other people’s experience, in particular with regards to enforcement of health and safety guidelines and measures put in place.
So how are you getting ready for this new era in travel marketing? Is it business as usual or have you integrated changes into how you communicate on your website? How about your newsletters or your social media presence?
Mastering the travel marketing trinity
Therefore, it will be of the utmost importance for travel brands to ensure they cover the essentials across the three pillars of their digital marketing presence.
Firstly, this means updating the information on your website with regards to Covid-19, but also on partner sites (OTA) and on Google My Business. Secondly, sending out relevant newsletters educating on new processes and showing images reflecting the new reality. And finally, having a dynamic social media presence highlighting changes and the new customer experience at the destination and on premises.
In the webinar shown above, I give examples for all three of these key pillars. Let me know by sharing other examples or best practices you may have recently witnessed in the comment section below.