What the travel industry needs to do to rebound
A new report from app intelligence vendor Apptopia, customer engagement platform Braze and flight locator Skyscanner shows that consumers still value low costs from travel brands, but are putting health and safety first.
Ready for Takeoff, based on a global survey of 9,500 consumers, plus internal data from the report’s three sponsors, warns that it may take years for leisure travel especially to return to pre-pandemic levels. It does, however, identify three trends which give travel brands a context for engaging with potential clients. In addition to health and safety trumping cost (although cost is still very important), the report found that:
- Passengers shared no consensus about the need for vaccination “passports” (digital means of confirming vaccination status), although 42% of respondents expected that they would be required; and
- Global travel is more daunting than domestic travel, with 59% feeling comfortable traveling within their own country, but only 32% feeling it’s safe to travel abroad.
Travel brands should note a high level of interest in factual messaging about COVID-19-related matters, for example regulations in place at the travel destination (63%), information on the travel brand’s own policies (59%) and news about the state of the virus at the destination (52%).
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Why we care. One of the big stories of 2021 will be how fast and successfully business verticals will be able, not only to re-open, but to recover to pre-pandemic levels of performance. Travel and hospitality faces stark challenges of course, although there’s a large potential audience of passengers who are yearning for get-aways and have travel budgets they haven’t touched for over a year.
The direction from this survey is clear. It’s not the time for travel brands to pretend the pandemic never happened, and send impersonal email blasts letting people know they’re ready for business. They need to take seriously the importance of communicating about COVID-19, their own precautions, and conditions at the destinations they serve. Great deals are always welcome, but for the foreseeable future they’ll need to be packaged with clear, transparent and responsible health and safety information.