Travel and Tourism marketing should aim to understand how consumer behaviour will change post-pandemic

Worldwide, this is a dark time for the travel industry. As global destinations remain closed and travel company operations continue to be wound down, the industry will increasingly look to its marketing functions to provide campaigns of hope or more simple communications to maintain their engagement with customers and let them know they are still operational, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData remarks, “There is inherent risk in travel marketers showcasing destinations at this time as it could be deemed insensitive. As no one knows how long this global pandemic will last, operators should ere on the side of caution in their marketing communications and simply identify and engage with their individual consumer base to help them to understand how their needs will change post-pandemic.”

This simple approach will pay dividends for an industry that will need to understand how consumer behavior and demand for travel and tourism products will inevitably change as a result of COVID-19. According to GlobalData more than * three quarters of global travellers’ purchasing choices are influenced by how the world around them is changing. Post-pandemic, travel and tourism market demand will have likely changed substantially, calling for a major strategic evaluation for many leading companies and tour operators.

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Hotels.com, a subsidiary of leading brand Expedia, has introduced a simple but effective campaign in response to the current situation with a ‘COVID-19 social distancing ad’, depicting ‘Captain Obvious’ washing his hands, alongside the words ‘Just Stay Home’. Jet2Holidays has also announced plans to introduce the ‘Back with a Bang’ campaign once this crisis is over. Kuoni, a luxury tour operator launched a film across social media channels urging travelers to stay home but reflect on previous experiences, with the underlying message the operator will still be there. A variation of short clips were presented  with sounds from their Safari destinations with ‘#KuoniMoments’ attached.

Bonhill-Smith adds: “All travel-related companies are under severe strain right now with scrutiny over all aspects of their operations, including cancellation policies, the treatment of staff and contingency planning. The introduction of some marketing activity that is strategically placed may help to ease the strain in the short term, maintain a strong bond with consumers and offer an incentive for travel in the future”. 

* GlobalData Global consumer survey Q4 2018

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