Here at GEC PR, we have seen first-hand the effects Covid-19 has had on the global travel industry as well as specifically our clients and travel industry partners.
However, as much as international and domestic tourism has currently been affected there will be a time when the restrictions are lifted and travel will resume, and brands need to be prepared to handle an influx of bookings and enquiries from would-be travellers.
As an agency with extensive experience in handling crisis situations, we thought it would be useful to share some insights to help travel brands plan ahead and prepare to accommodate bookings, once travel resumes.
- Put a Communications Plan and PR Strategy in place – It’s essential for brands to stay front-of-mind to their customers and a comprehensive PR plan is an effective way to deliver consistent brand awareness about the company, as well as to maintain a relationship with existing customers and potentially attract new ones. Now is the time to create an integrated plan including press release topics to generate editorial content in traditional media channels such as magazines, newspapers and websites, impactful marketing campaigns with media publications and like-minded brands, digital content such as blogs and social media posts.
- Adapt for a Change in Travel Habits – Once the pandemic subsides, people will resume travelling, however the way they travel is likely to change. UK consumers may not need as much face-to-face engagement when making bookings or enquiries, so ensure that online booking platforms and call centre staff will be able to manage demand once it returns.
- Offer Staff Free Training – With many of us now working from home and having a little more time on our hands without the daily commute, now is an opportune moment to encourage staff and employees to use this time to expand their skill set with online training programmes. With many companies currently offering free virtual webinars, this is a great way for staff to improve their professional development and keep up to date on trends in their sector, all from the comfort of their home.
- Diversify your Marketing Strategy to Attract New Customers – Travel will resume, however it’s still not clear how borders will be affected, and which countries will be first to have travel restrictions lowered. Travel brands should therefore look at ways to attract new customers from additional markets, further expanding their customer base. Ways to do this include running marketing campaigns with international publications that may not have been considered important or a target market before.
- Have a Digital Spring Clean – Company websites, social media strategies and digital content need regular maintenance so use this time to look at ways of improving and updating these platforms. Do the images on the website need to be refreshed? Is the information on your social media profiles and company website up to date?
The travel industry has been impacted in unprecedented ways from Covid-19 and while we can’t predict the short- or long-term effects it will have on tourism globally, we do know that British travellers are extremely resilient and are one of the first to book or travel again.