As traveler confidence expands and contracts, mirroring the volatile trajectory of the pandemic, the hospitality and tourism industries must make building traveler trust an ongoing priority. SiteMinder’s data-driven Five Stages of the Hotel Booking Reset captures this reality perfectly.
Before answering how to build traveler trust, it is critical to identify what the specific concerns are. Our research uncovered the Rethink Travel Global Survey 2020, conducted by Amadeus and Censuswide to gather insights from over 6,000 respondents. The findings revealed these international travelers’ top five concerns as:
- Increased risk of catching or transmitting the virus (43%)
- Government-imposed quarantines at either end of the journey (39%)
- Fear of being stranded (37%)
- Fears of mixing with crowds at the airport or stations (32%)
- Reduced enjoyment due to restrictions (31%)
Although hospitality and tourism brands have no control over government-mandated policies, you can address many of these concerns through strategic guest and visitor communications:
- For hotels and resorts, think e-newsletters detailing your health and safety protocols guided by CDC recommendations, as well as currently available activities—both on-property and throughout the local area.
- For destinations, you can employ a microsite that becomes a one-stop-shop for content relating to the most up-to-date state and local travel restrictions, along with popular things to do (especially outdoor-based attractions) that are open and safely welcoming visitors.
- For both, targeting the in-state or drive market continues to be a smart bet until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the general public.
You have already moved tables in your restaurants six feet apart, enhanced your hygiene and sanitization efforts and made other changes to increase guest confidence, but these measures still don’t allay another fear: that of being financially penalized for postponing or calling off a trip.
Although this concern didn’t make the Rethink Travel Global Survey 2020 top five, it still racked up a solid 26% of respondents. So make sure your property’s reservation change and cancellation policies are fair, flexible and up-front given the unpredictability of today’s travel landscape.
Tech to the Rescue
One of the most compelling findings to come out of the Rethink Travel Global Survey 2020 is that a full 84% of respondents said that technology would increase their confidence in travel in the next 12 months. This insight supports the concept we advanced as brand “touchless points” in our blog last year.
In addition to already in-demand tech tools such as contactless check-in and keyless room entry, a new generation of pioneers are thinking outside the box. The Lee School Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship awarded five prize-winning solutions for the hospitality industry—from the Roomba-on-steroids “Maidbot” and a virus-capturing high-capacity HVAC system to apps and Cloud-based platforms that streamline human resources and operations departments to single-use recyclable bed sheets. (Travel Weekly has details on the competition and winners here.)
Our best advice? Do your research and ensure any technology you consider will yield measurable ROI.
The Bottom Line
Any actions you take to build traveler trust, no matter how many, won’t make a positive impact on your revenue unless you clearly and effectively communicate with your target audiences about what you’re doing. This is key because, as homebound wanderlusters move from dreaming about travel to planning their next trip, they’ll be stacking up your health and safety measures (a leading factor in deciding where to go) against your competitors—and only one can earn their booking!
With more than 40 years of experience and a 360-degree perspective on the hospitality and tourism industries, the Dana team knows how to build traveler trust. Want to hear how we can help you generate awareness of your brand’s efforts through strategic marketing communications? Give Lynn Kaniper a call at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.