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The onset of Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it. The impact of Covid-19 and the responses to it have varied significantly from country to country. But as parts of the world open their borders up to visitors once again, the travel and tourism industry is beginning to see a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel.
After months of lockdown and isolation, enthusiastic travellers will be eager to get away, yearning for safe breaks, health-enhancing experiences, and energising immersions in nature. But there is no denying the travel and tourism industry has been transformed indefinitely. Concerns about international travel are influencing consumers, who are now looking at holidays that involve less travel overall. Clear and fair cancellation policies, flexible booking options, financial protection and health and hygiene factors are more important than ever before. Holiday type and accommodation sought is also transforming, with a shift towards more secluded settings, including self-catering, private charters and villas all seeing increasing interest.
But what is post-Covid-19 travel going to look like, and what are the emerging trends?
Social distancing is here to stay
It will be months, if not years, before we can go back to our pre-Covid-19 ways of socialising. Protective screens will separate guests and staff, and people will continue to wear face masks and gloves until there is a vaccine. Hotels and properties will adapt and adopt more technology and automation services that support a contactless experience.
Demand for authenticity from travel and tourism brands
Whilst everyone’s experience of lockdown has been different, it has given people more time to reflect on all aspects of their lives. Consumers are more conscientious, and as a result brands will have to be transparent, act authentically and do what they say in their travel PR and marketing. Customers will also look to book with companies that offer financial protection and a full refund to their guests if something were to happen in the future.
The rise of ‘bleisure’
‘Bleisure’ refers to the concept of combining business with personal leisure time. It will often take the form of a business traveller extending the duration of their trip, in order to include time for leisure activities. Although it will be some time before business travel bounces back, this does open up some opportunity for travel and tourism. According to the latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), nearly half of all working adults (49%) are working from home. Which means it’s even easier for people to take breaks for longer than they would typically, because they can work from anywhere.
What does the future of press trips look like?
Individual press trips are likely to resume as soon as it is viable to do so, although some journalists will have reservations about going away. When considering your travel PR plans, it is important to remember that a lot of travel writers are working freelance, and travelling right now does impose a risk to their health and safety, and if they were to get sick, they would be out of commission for a couple of weeks or more. It is likely that bloggers and influencers will be the first travellers back, and any writers will want reassurance that their environment will be safe and Covid-19-secure. And as for group press trips, which are often more cost-effective, these will likely take some time to resume, as writers may be wary about the level of risk associated with group travel. When developing your travel PR strategy, consider writers that are currently operating in the destination you are looking to promote. For example, if you are UK-based holiday company and looking to promote holidays in Croatia, look for an influencer who is already based in Croatia. You may be surprised to discover their core following is based in the UK. Not only does this reduce the associated risk with air travel, but it is also more cost effective.
Ultimately, we believe travel can and will make a full comeback, and as it does, companies will need to be more competitive than ever to retain customers and visitors. Get in touch with us today on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can create and develop a winning travel PR strategy, that keeps your brand awareness high, communicates key messages, leverages insights and puts your travel brand in the best possible position for complete recovery and beyond.
The Department of Commerce states that 70% of smaller companies go out of business within just one year of experiencing a crisis – we think this is enough of a reason to be prepared! Our Crisis PR 101 guide will give you the tools you need to develop a crisis plan that will protect your business when a crisis strikes. As well as the guide you’ll get top tips from experts to give you more support in building a futureproof plan for your business.
Hopefully these tips have been useful for your travel brand. If you’re looking for more ideas to promote your business, take a look at our blog on the ultimate guide to travel PR.