Currently, there are many uncertainties for both the travelers and the travel trade professionals in particular. Will leisure customers be willing to travel this summer? Will corporate customers be able to return to their previous travel patterns? What will be their trip interest after the confinement period? Travel companies are getting ready for the travel recovery post-Covid-19.
There have been many weeks of the lockdown and although nobody knows the exact date of the resumption, it is clear that it must be anticipated. Being ready will be one of the secrets for travel businesses to get back the reservations quickly.
Industry experts agree on a clear return to normal in 2022. This year, there will be some travel recovery when the business will pick up again, but it will be different and companies should start adapting now. The summer holidays will remain, perhaps to a lesser extent but all the same, a propitious time for the national clientele to spend their holidays and get away from it all.
Together, this period could be used for a reflection to analyze, rethink and fine-tune day to day working tools and get ready for the post-Covid-19 time.
Evaluating the customer base
First of all, businesses should evaluate their customer base: What share of national customers does the company have? What countries do the main foreign customers come from? In which categories do they belong: business or leisure travelers? Analyzing the customer base by country and segment is essential for making the right decisions for the travel recovery.
To date, more than half of the international population is confined in order to deal with this unprecedented health crisis. International tourism will inevitably take time to return. As an indicator, airports estimate a return to "normal" air traffic only from December 2020. International travelers will, therefore, be few in number this year. In order to resume reservations at the end of the confinement, it will, therefore, be necessary to focus on a national, or even local, customer base.
The end of confinement will be favorable for leisure travel, especially with the arrival of good weather, but it is highly likely that individuals will seek to travel close to home. Focus the communication and marketing actions on customers located within 2 hours by transport (car, train, bus ...) and in the nearest big city, etc... And communicate with them about the excellent hygiene and the means made available for their protection in the company establishment.
Adapting commercial and pricing strategy
There are two main tips to be aware of. First of all, it’s recommended that companies stop selling with NC/NR (non-cancellable, non-refundable) rates at least for the entire year 2020. Even at the end of the crisis, customers will still be cautious, and a flexible rate will be much more reassuring. Being as flexible as possible, with no-cost cancellations as close as possible to the check-in date will make customers want to book into the establishment safely. Work on the flexible rates and put others on hold!
Secondly, it’s advised not to lower the rates. Travelers will not be inclined to spend less when the economy picks up. Lower prices would be counterproductive for the resumption and would pull the travel and hospitality market down, which is not the objective for travel recovery. Keep the rates but rethink them... with customer experience! How can the company offer them an unforgettable stay? What extra activities does the company offer? Think about offering packages, in partnership with local players etc., stand out with something unique.
Updating your image online
Creating an inventory of the company’s presence online and updating it is a long and tedious activity that takes a lot of time. That's perfect because that's exactly what we have at the moment.
Start by taking advantage of the closure or low activity of the company to redo the photos. Create a database of attractive visuals that will serve you for many years. And why not, get your staff to participate as models!
Then use this content to update the visuals as well as the descriptions on all the web supports: company site and the booking engine in priority, but also the ads on OTAs and the pages on online news sites. Make the company visible, attract new customers with interesting activities, present the establishment/services and its environment.
Preparing management and marketing tools
The best time to assess the management tools and look at what's new on the market is during periods of low traffic. It is easier to change tools when there are few bookings to transfer and when there is time to compare, discover, train with your team...
This is an ideal time to assess what the company has as well as what it needs. High-performance solutions developed by experts in the travel marketing industry could simplify the company's daily life and attract future bookings.