Adapting to market realities: products, pricing, placement, positioning
Travel and tourism businesses will need to be as creative as possible to survive this crisis. It is often said that every crisis brings opportunities and what matters is to identify the appropriate ones and to know how to make the most of them in order to stay relevant.
- Social media is more indispensable than ever: During the pandemic, the number of people turning to social media has increased significantly. Some hospitality providers and agencies are looking to Instagram histories to offer summer promotions or to showcase their products and gain followers who dream of travelling.
- Prioritize customer service and be flexible: Travel restrictions have forced consumers to cancel upcoming trips and the accompanying hotel bookings, restaurant reservations, and excursion or attraction passes. Consumers forced to pay cancellation fees or unable to obtain a refund may well be unwilling or unable to rebook in future. Although it is not always possible to issue full or partial refunds, brands that provide above-and-beyond customer service are more likely to attract and retain future travellers when demand recovers.
- Embrace change and thought leadership: Use this time to strengthen your brand. Some businesses are changing inside out and embracing this change rather than fearing it; for example, you might consider taking advantage of the situation and turn your website into an information hub, updating it with travel cancellations and reschedules and including changes to hotel or trip reservations. This would allow your business to establish itself as a thought leader and recovery pioneer, earning the trust and respect of travellers.
For destinations and travel and tourism products, promoting safe but enjoyable options, even virtually, will broaden appeal and cater various risk appetites:
- Your local market: More than ever, you will need to activate your domestic market throughout this crisis to help fill the gap left by restrictions. Local loyalty and “pride-in-place” will be indispensable recovery assets going forward.
- Solo getaways: Trips for one are likely to be more appealing than usual. Opportunities for taking a solo getaway could include bed and breakfast specials and outdoor activities like hiking, camping, or fishing.
- Outdoor recreation: Travellers will undoubtedly be craving wide open spaces at this time that will inspire them and safely fulfill their need for a getaway. Focussing on areas with a lot of space will appeal to people within your surrounding community. If you have campgrounds, hiking trails, lakes, and open parks—providing people with locations, maps, opening hours, tips and resources will be reassuring and encouraging to travellers.
- Virtual tours, photo galleries, live cams: Some brands and destinations are promoting virtual tours, even virtual safaris. This is also applicable to city attractions like museums and historic sites.
- Deals and offers: Many destinations are embracing discounts, deals, and giveaways. As long as safety measures are taken into account, these could be opportunities that can be used/redeemed at a later date.
- Video messages: Personal messages from individuals within your organization can be an engaging way to provide information and supportive words – particularly in the context of social and physical distance which many people have found alienating and isolating. This can help your brand connect on a personal level and alleviate loneliness.