Post-Pandemic Customer Trends You'll Want to Know About

Frida Kops   ● 8 min read
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We’ve seen many predictions recently by travel industry experts on what customer behaviour and trends will look like post-lockdown. This week, I expand on this further drawing conclusions from supporting data and the feedback reports of tour operator businesses.

Let’s get started.


Here's this week's roundup:

Interest Rises in Holidays Offering ‘Isolation and Minimal Interaction’

What does the Indian Ocean, Croatia, villas, and safari tours all have in common?

Travel bookings are seeing a spike in these 4 areas according to the chief exec of Kuoni’s parent company and easyJet Holidays’ commercial director during a recent webcast.

Both agreed that travellers have demonstrated a preference for travel products that offer isolation and minimal interaction.

Derek Jones, chief executive of Kuoni’s parent company Der Touristik UK, identifies their strong sellers as:

  • The Indian Ocean. In particular the Maldives, which is making up around 70% of bookings. Interestingly, this figure would be short of 50% prior to covid-19, which reinforces the buying behaviour pattern for secluded destinations with fewer people.
  • Isolated villas. People prefer to stay in a private resort, away from crowded spots.
  • Safari tours. Tourists are perceiving tented camps and private savannah tours as a form of isolation.
safari-tours

Do you offer safari tours? These are receiving some of the highest bookings recently due the perceived element of social isolation through wilderness exploration, sleeping in tented camps and doing small private touring.

What countries do travellers want to visit first? 

Easyjet Holidays’ commercial director, Alex Loftus, confirms he’s seeing a similar situation to Kuoni. Travellers are “very much wanting to escape”.

Croatia is becoming a popular destination due to its picturesque landscape and small isolated islands.

Favoured pre-covid-19 destinations such as mainland Spain, Turkey and Majorca are also still holding the top spots for easyJet as we come out of lockdown. Could this be an indication that people feel safer travelling to familiar destinations? If so, then tour operator businesses might want to place more weight on their past customers to attract repeat bookings.

But according to Loftus, not everyone is interested in a remote location off the beaten track.

“Interestingly enough, cities are still doing well. We’re seeing a return to demand for city breaks in the winter and we’re seeing a slightly younger, more flexible customer book. Destinations such as Amsterdam and Krakow are still doing well, and we are also seeing that Iceland and the Northern Lights are more popular.”

What I found particularly insightful from this article is the multi-generational group bookings trend mentioned by Jones.

Families who have been isolated apart for so long are looking to carve out quality time together when lockdown measures are lifted. So rather than skip-gen travel, we are now witnessing this three-generation travel trend.

New marketing campaign? It’s at least worth exploring.

Read the full article here.

multigenerational-family-travel-trend

Despite Widespread Talk of Reopening, WHO Just Reported a Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases in a Single Day

I don’t mean to put a dampener on all this positivity towards tourism reopening, but it’s important for us to know the full picture.

On 19 May 2020, the World Health Organisation recorded 106,000 new covid-19 cases with 65,077 coming from the Americas. This is the most new cases ever in a single day. With its relaxed approach to the pandemic, Sweden now has the highest per-capita death rate in Europe.

Stockholm, Sweden A popular cafe in the Sundbyberg suburb stays open during the coronavirus epidemic.
Stockholm, Sweden A popular cafe in the Sundbyberg suburb stays open during the coronavirus epidemic.

In South Korea, the reopening of offices and fitness classes resulted in new coronavirus cases. The research indicated that 44% of South Korean call centre employees became infected with the virus in March.

Right now, case numbers are highest in the US, Russia, and Brazil.

 

So whilst we should make calculated plans to move forward, it’s wise to be mindful that many countries are not out of the covid-19 peak yet, despite what we are led to believe.

Is your target audience from one of the countries still suffering? If so, how can you pivot to seek out new customers in alternative locations in order to secure bookings now?

Read the full article here.

Get Ready for Budget-Conscious Customers

Source: Arival

Do you market to any of the countries listed below? If so, you ought to read the results of this survey carried out by Brand USA.

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • China
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • India
  • France
  • Germany
  • UK

The data suggest that 20-30% of respondents who consider traveling internationally will spend less on their trips.

Budget-for-travelling-in-the-next-12-months-tours-affected.jpg

Moreover, tours and activities appeared in the top 3 areas they were planning to cut.

How can tour operator businesses prepare for this possible scenario?

First of all, don’t panic.

Cutting doesn’t mean avoiding these activities entirely. Experts suggest that the renowned classic attractions will remain on travellers’ schedules.

However, if you provide experiences that might not be the obvious tourist attraction, then consider the following:

  • Create new products/approaches for budget-conscious travellers
  • Clearly communicate your updated health and sanitation protocols.

I found it interesting that most of the respondents would spend less on food, but they were not willing to compromise on oversea travel.

Read the full article here.


Here's my top-tip articles:

6 Ways To Win Back Your Post-Pandemic Customers

Source: Forbes

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”– Michael LeBoeuf, American Businessman

 

Keeping your customers satisfied during these challenging times might not feel easy, but the following six tips are designed to help you do just that – improve customer relationships and prepare for an effective win-back campaign. 

1.Take a deep breath and get quiet. Panicking will make things worse. Do what you need to do to focus and think. 

2. Get busy making it easy for them to come back to you. Reach out to your customers. Keep them updated on how you are preparing to come back to business. How about going a step further and even showing them what’s going on behind the scenes with your tour operator business? The more open and transparent you are, the more they’ll love you for it. Take the guesswork out of an already uncertain situation.

tour-operator-filming-behind-the-scenes-content

3. Send out your safety “playbook.” Inform your customers about the specific measures your tour operator business has taken to keep them safe. Demonstrating it to them through a video is even better.

4. Be the Ambassador of Encouragement. Don’t you get fed up sometimes with all this negative news? I bet your customers do and it affects their behaviour too. Inspire them with your good deeds and kindness. Tell them about your great plans for the future.

5. Organize Zoom calls with your top customers. This could be your most loyal customers but also those customers who have a booking with you this year. They’ve demonstrated commitment to your tour operator business, so prioritise them by reaching out to see how they’re doing. People will appreciate a personal touch.

customer-insights-on-travel-plans

6. Gather new customer insights. Ask your customers what they want from you and their next travel experience. Collect insights on their future travel plans. Engage them in a new product development process if needed. Create that unbreakable bond.

I want to expand on tip number 6 because I strongly believe it’s a dangerous move to think you know your customers already.

We’ve witnessed the dramatic change in customer behaviour and sentiment over the last few months, which means finding out what they need and desire now is essential. You may even discover that your customer last year may not be your target customer now or even in 2021 due to circumstances outside of your control (i.e. flight restrictions).

So unless you’ve asked the above questions recently, I put to you to rethink your approach and ask again. Your customers are the source of vital information that’s much needed for a successful recovery. Even if that means they you have to change direction.

Are you implementing any of the above-mentioned tips?

Read the full article here.

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Are You Guilty of the One Thing That Kills Content Marketing?

Are you satisfied with your marketing efforts?

Do your blogs get enough attention?

How about your newsletter open rate?

If you’re finding that your content marketing efforts aren’t generating the website traffic you desire, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the content you create different than anything else out there?
  • Why should your customers care?
content-marketing

If you answer the above questions every time you write a new blog, send an email, or publish a post on social media, then you guarantee that what you create is:

  • Valuable
  • Useful
  • Compelling
  • And different.

Concentrate on creating high-quality content pieces. The goal should be changing customer behaviour. Motivate them to engage with the information you provide.

What is a content tilt and why you must identify yours

 

“The content tilt is that area of little to no competition on the web that actually gives you a fighter’s chance of breaking through and becoming relevant. It’s not only what makes you different, it’s so different that you get noticed by your audience. That audience rewards you with its attention.” – Joe Pulizzi

 

In a nutshell, the content tilt is what makes your tour operator business stand out from the crowd.

99% of marketers do not have differentiated content.

 

That’s a big gap in the market for your tour operator business.

So how do you find your content tilt? 

By answering these questions.

  1. Is your content unique? If not, think about how YOU can make it unique. There must be things that only your tour operator business can know.
  2. Is your audience specific? Don’t try to engage everyone. Create a very specific profile of your customer.
  3. Which platforms do you use? There may be thousands of beautiful images of your tour destinations on Instagram, but are there any on Facebook or Pinterest?  Similarly, I think that the format of your content also plays an important role. There may be lots of text posts on a specific travel topic but a lack of videos, for example.
  4. How do you tell the story? The same story can be told many different ways.
how-tour-operators-can-find-their-content-tilt

 “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just attach it to a new wagon.”

-Mark McCormack, founder and president of IMG

 

Finally, let’s think of the following:

What if your content disappeared? 

Would anyone notice? If the answer is no, then you have a lot of work to do.

It’s hard to get your customer’s attention but keep fighting for this each day by consistently providing your customer with useful, impactful, educational and inspiring content.

Read the full article here.

Travel’s Reopening: A Global Timeline

Source: Skift

Skift has produced this useful travel industry timeline that at a glance, enables you to see which travel companies are  reopening, where they are reopening and when. It has the ability to filter by region (international and US) and sector (i.e. airlines, tour operators, destinations).

Here are some highlights for the forthcoming months:

June 2020
  • Some US states and New South Wales are opening for tourists.
  • Turkey, Vietnam, Italy, Cyprus, Greece and Iceland are among the countries opening their borders by mid- June.
  • Poland and Spain are aiming to reopen their international borders by the end of June.
  • Porter Airlines, Korean Air, Wizz Air, Lufthansa and Eurowings are planning to resume or expand their international flights.
  • EasyJet will start operating domestic and France flights.
  • Reopening of Canadian campsites.
  • Dutch museums to reopen.
easyjet-reopening-flight-paths-in-June-2020
Easyjet Restarts Domestic UK & France Flights, No Blocking of Middle Seats
July 2020
  • Ryanair to resume 40% of flights.
  • Finnair restoring flights to 40 destinations
  • Bali, Georgia and Israel to make their first steps in reopening to tourists
  • England’s campsites prepare to welcome visitors.
August 2020
  • Carnival Cruise Line plans August 1 return for some ships

In my opinion, this global timeline is an invaluable tool for your tour operator business because it empowers you to take a proactive approach in your marketing strategy and make calculated predictions for the future.

View the full timeline here.


A statistic I found interesting:

Approx 22% of French travellers expect to take an international trip as soon as August 2020.

For Germans, the majority (21%) are planning one month later in September 2020, and for Chinese 34% believe they will travel in October 2020. (Brand USA)


A question for you:

What’s your customer feedback? Do they match any of the trend predictions I’ve mentioned above?

Share your thoughts and comments on our Facebook and Linkedin page or drop me an email at [email protected] – I’d love to hear from you.

The 10xpress is a weekly series curated exclusively for travel companies like you

Every week, I provide you with:

  • Reports, opinion, case studies and key findings that directly impact the tours and activities sector.
  • Educational articles to guide you through the changing world of online sales and marketing from industry leaders.
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