Keeping the Travel Industry Afloat During COVID-19

The travel industry has been one of the worst hit during the coronavirus pandemic. With many flights now grounded and holidays/events postponed or even cancelled, the travel industry is facing its toughest challenge to date.

Here are my tips for those who work in the travel sector or with travel companies. We are applying them ourselves for a client of ours and we hope they can be useful for some of you:

1. Work on the brand

Investing in acquisitions is not appropriate at this time, especially on the latent demand side, both because of uncertainty (when will we be able to travel again?) and fear (people have other things on their mind).

The objective of these actions is to ensure the brand is perceived as:

  • Participating in the collective moment.
  • Active in providing support to its users (including morale).
  • Committed to building positive communication that reassures people.

Good branding at this stage can allow us to:

  • Be remembered by our users/potential customers. People are not traveling today, but they will travel as soon as possible, therefore, being memorable means increasing the chances that they will come back to you when needed.
  • Increase brand reputation by generating commitment (also known as a personalising your audience) and strengthening the relationship with our users.

2. Do not abandon the conversion campaigns completely (but be careful with the locations)

If it is true that this is not the time to invest in acquisitions, it hasn’t been said that we can’t work on conversions anyway.

In my opinion, it is not appropriate to completely ‘separate’ campaigns that work on conversions, especially by conscious demand and if you can offer attractive refund guarantees to users.

Clearly, ad hoc messages must be created, and budgets must be adjusted (constantly).

3. Improve customer service

Since there are far more users needing answers right now than there are those who want an offer, players in this sector should absolutely focus on strengthening their customer service (even at the expense of marketing if necessary).

Satisfying, protecting, and reassuring the customer means making sure that when the situation is resolved, they are likely to come back to you.

4. Work on leadership

Since people are scared and confused by all the information they are receiving right now, helping them clarify the issues of greatest interest can be an excellent way to increase your brand leadership.

We are talking about positioning yourself decisively as an authorised source within your reference market (which is travel, not politics or general information).

What does this mean in practice?

For example, it means working to keep users updated in a clear and timely manner on the local and world situation related to the possibility of traveling. This could be as simple as rewriting the frequently asked questions on your website.

5. Take and keep control of conversations

In our opinion, it is advisable to take control and moderate the conversations that involve your brand across the various channels, whether they are owned, won or paid.

This allows you to position your brand, where appropriate, as authorised, present, relatable and ready to listen to the needs and fears of its users.

6. Re-segment and re-program

A limitation often encountered by those involved in digital marketing in the travel industry is that of user segmentation. Many of the companies operating in the sector have, in fact, truly disastrous mailing lists or CRMs.

Therefore, our advice is to take advantage of the time you now have to work on this important and often underestimated aspect.

Organise your mailing lists, tags, tracking, automations, and anything else that may be useful to effectively target your audience. This job, when it's time to go, will allow you to intercept your users with personalised messages and offers without losing your budget.

You can read our tips and actions you can take while business slows down here

7. Prepare to get back on track

When the health emergency ends, one of the strongest desires among people will be to travel again and make up for lost time. This is when you will have to be there, ready to reap all that you have sown in this dark period.

Make sure you are ready for this time.

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