Powerful & Practical Ways to Restore Confidence in Travel

Frida Kops   ● 8 min read
This article forms part of a weekly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every Friday.
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By identifying travellers’ specific concerns, your tour operator business can develop the most efficient solutions to restore confidence in travel.

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Here's this week's roundup:

Traveller Survey by IATA Reveals COVID-19 Concerns

A recent IATA survey reveals travellers’ main COVID-19 concerns. Crowded airport transfers on buses/trains and sitting next to a possibly infected person are among the top three worries.

The other major concerns are:

  • Lining-up at check-in/security/border control or boarding (42%)
  • Using airport restrooms (38%)
  • Breathing the air on the plane (37%)

When asked to name the top measures that would make them feel safer, respondents highlighted COVID-19 screening at the airports (37%), social distancing on aircraft (33%), and mandatory facemasks (34%).

Almost half of the respondents were ready to travel within the next few months. But there was a significant drop seen from the results of a similar survey recorded three months ago.

“This crisis could have a very long shadow. Passengers are telling us that it will take time before they return to their old travel habits.”

– Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO

The survey confirms that quarantine remains one of the biggest blockers to industry recovery. IATA has already proposed alternative measures which I discussed last week.

Aside from your refund and flexible booking policy (I have one you can use here btw), have you considered other ways to restore confidence in travel?

Read the full article here.

Interested to know about IATA’s alternative suggestions to quarantine? 

Their detailed initiatives are described in this article.

YOLO: Elderly Are Happy to Travel Abroad Without a Vaccine – Survey

If you’re assuming that the older generation will be the last demographic to travel again, don’t be too hasty. A survey conducted by Flavours Holidays found that 62% of the older demographic would travel without a vaccine.

For this group of respondents, the biggest concern is “flying” (83%) while the financial aspect is the least concerning element. 42% of those over 70 are ready to take a holiday abroad within the next six months while 34% prefer to go somewhere they’ve been to before.

“A large proportion of our guests fall into the older age bracket and we appreciate that for many, travel may seem daunting right now. We have spent time understanding where the concerns are so we can adapt our offering to ensure we are ready to welcome guests of all ages back safely when the time is right for them.”

– Lorne Blythe, founder of Flavours Holidays

Flavours Holidays is a company offering cooking, painting, language & photography holidays. By having a flexible booking policy in place, the company can provide its guests with the opportunity to rebook a trip within a 2-year period

Keen to restore confidence in travel for their guests, they’ve also flexed their services to promote ‘staycations’. And for those who are not ready to travel at all, authentic learning experiences can still be accessed through a range of online classes. 

Read the full article here.

Comment: A Response to ‘the End of Tourism’

A few weeks ago the Guardian published Christopher de Bellaigue’s article titled “The end of tourism? which received a lot of comments from travel industry professionals. I want to share with you a very objective response in my opinion, from Fiona Jeffery OBE of Finn Partners.

She challenges De Bellaigue saying that there are more than “a few environmentally minded reformists” who “have tried to develop sustainable tourism that creates enduring employment whilst minimising the damage it does”. But, she agrees that the travel industry should be doing more to achieve that sensitive balance between profitability and sustainability.

“We should recognise that, despite growth rates exceeding all expectations for the last decade, our industry can be toxic and vulnerable when mismanaged. However, if managed well it can provide economic prosperity and be healing to the soul.”

Fiona says that the global pandemic is a wakeup call to the industry. It is a reminder for us to protect our planet while running a travel business. She believes that by committing to global measurement standards, our industry will become more responsible. 

Successful management of this will in turn, lead us to a more positive and sustainable future on the road ahead.

What’s your opinion on that?

Read the full article here.

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Restoring Confidence to Travel: 5 Tech Solutions to Help Customers Feel Safe Again

Source: PhocusWire

Last month I spoke about the latest technology trends in travel. Today, I take this a step further by identifying 5 technological solutions that will help to restore confidence in travel.

But first, let’s see what questions potential travellers are asking today according to our curated article.

  • Where is it safe to travel?
  • Are there flights available?
  • Is it safe to fly?
  • How can I find out if a specific destination is even open for tourism?
  • Can I travel internationally?
  • Do I have to self-quarantine when I arrive?
  • Can I get a refund if I need to cancel?
  • Will I be able to enjoy things at the destination such as beaches, museums, tours, restaurants, etc. Or will everything be closed?

The problem is the lack of a single source of information to provide answers to these questions. That, in my opinion, is one of the major challenges the travel industry faces right now.

Here are 5 tech innovations that will help travellers feel safe and confident again:

1. Strict health protocol. Various data shows that people would feel more confident to travel after undergoing health screenings at the airport. Some countries have already implemented the latest technological devices. One example is a voice-activated kiosk tested at Abu Dhabi airport. It checks the temperature along with the heart and respiratory rate. In Hong Kong, there is a disinfection booth to sanitise a person before the flight. 

2. Contact tracing. Tech companies all over the world are working on contact tracing apps. China uses a colour-coded QR code to control people’s movements based on their health status.

3. New sanitary measures. A few months ago, I mentioned the uniform hygiene standard for tour operator businesses introduced by SanSee. Improved sanitary measures with respective certifications can make your customers feel at ease.

Interested to read about a hygiene certification for tours and activities?

This article describes the process of certification.

4. Increased automation. Many sources state a rising demand for increased automation in the travel industry. I strongly disagree with considering technology as a replacement for people; rather, the two should support each other.

5. Up-to-date travel advice. The tool I found particularly important is the COVID-19 Travel Advisor widget. It allows travel companies to provide up-to-date information on the travel requirements and policies in each country.

Does your tour operator business plan to implement any of these tech tools?

Read the full article here.

4 Reasons Your Email Open Rate Is Decreasing

email marketing for your tour operator business

If your tour operator business is noticing a decline in email open rate, then I recommend reading further. I’ve highlighted below the 4 possible reasons behind your drop and tips on how you can fix the problem.

1. Your email is too big

If the email you are trying to send is bigger than 102 KB, Gmail addresses will clip them. That means your customers won’t see the full email unless they click on the “view entire message” button. 

There are a few things you can do to reduce the size of your email and avoid having them clipped.

  • Reduce the number of individual text blocks and images.
  • Use a HTML sizing tool to see how large your email is.
  • Send yourself a test email to make sure the full message loads properly.

2. You are using too many spam words

Some email providers mark certain words as spam.

The main culprits are:
  • Free access
  • Unlimited
  • Urgent
  • Bonus
  • Apply now
  • Increase sales
  • Increase traffic
  • Order now
  • Trial
  • Win
  • Click here

How can you make sure that your email won’t end up in junk? 

Apply a spam test before you hit “send”. If you are using ActiveCampaign, this feature is available there.

3. Weak subject lines

I can’t stress enough how important the subject lines in your emails are. They can either draw the reader in, or push them away.

5 types of headlines that tend to do really well:
  • The offer subject line focusing exclusively on your offer.
  • Curiosity subject line making readers curious about the content of your email.
  • Self interest subject line in which you need to explain to your subscribers what’s in your email for them.
  • Urgency subject line encouraging people to read the email so they won’t miss out on the amazing deal.
  • Story subject line introducing a story your readers will be interested in.

4. Your subscribers aren’t excited about your content anymore

There could be an array of different reasons. The best way to find out is to ask your customers what topics they want you to cover. Today, travellers have so many questions and not enough answers. I am sure there is plenty of value your tour operator business can deliver to them, and re-engage. 

You can use social media polls and surveys to identify your audience’s content needs.

Another important thing is to segment your subscribers to ensure they receive information that’s most relevant to them (which will result in better sales conversion rates for you). 

Read the full article here.

How Travel Brands Can Inspire Confidence in the Sector Through Content Strategy and SEO

Source: Econsultancy

As you read this, your customers are searching online for travel advice that they’re not receiving from their government or the media.

Let that soak in for a moment. 

Your customers are online searching for information they’re unable to find from their obvious go-to sources.

This is an opportunity for your tour operator business to provide that information. The more valuable and aligned your content is with a travel booker’s query, the better it will perform online. 

“Whilst we’re all in agreement that this is a challenging time, there are strategic marketing investments that travel brands can make now, both to provide reassurance to prospective travellers and to boost interest in new holiday ideas.”

Surprisingly, according to last year’s Google study, over 50% of searches end without a click. Below you will find valuable tips on how your tour operator business can inspire confidence through content strategy and SEO. 

  • Information and reassurance are key. Travellers are searching for the answers on their “how”, “where” and “what” questions. A recent survey shows that “travel quarantine” is one of the most popular search phrases. Your tour operator business should produce high-quality valuable content with a clear structure. It needs to provide a concise answer to a question and contain clear headlines (using h1, h2, h3 etc. formatting styles).
  • Capitalise on rising search interest. If you can identify what kind of destinations your customers are searching right now, you can create relevant content using specific keywords.

“To ease uncertainty around safety, and reassure people that they can successfully social distance even while abroad, travel brands can look to tailor advice to help encourage travel to new and unusual destinations.”

  • Structure pages to drive visibility. How can your tour operator business target the audience making specific searches? By demonstrating topic authority through the content. After you’ve identified the most trendy topic, create a content piece with answers to your customers’ inquiries on that topic. Make sure that these answers are blinked to the existing content on your website. Include clear CTAs and place them at the most visible part of your website.

Remember, travellers will book with tour operator businesses that can answer their questions and inspire for a safer travel experience.

Read the full article here.

A statistic I found interesting:

45% of those polled in June said they expected to travel within two months or less, compared with 61% surveyed in April. (The National)

A question for you:

How are you instilling confidence in your existing and prospective customers?

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.
  • Tips and tools on how to improve your tour operator business, generate more sales and make your life easier.
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