What is coronavirus for the tourism industry and related marketing? Here are some tips to help you in the next period.
With the spread of COVID-19 in more and more countries, the tourism industry has become the most affected of all areas. In early March, IATA announced that globally, the aviation industry would suffer losses of between 63 and 113 billion dollars.
Studying hundreds of travel agencies worldwide, we notice that every day new and new strategies appear as the situation changes from day to day. Decisions have to be made at every level, but what about marketing in particular?
In the following, we will present some recommendations to consider during the crisis, and, most importantly, some tips that can help the tourism industry to be prepared when this whole period passes.
- Take control of the conversation at all key points
If we are realistic, the truth is that every client who calls you thinks of coronavirus. This means that avoiding this topic will not bring you any benefit. It is very important to be proactive in the emails you send to customers, mainly trying to allay any concerns about this topic.
- Do not take into account the worst case scenario for the tourism industry
The latest information indicates that the impact of COVID-19 varies depending on the different sectors of the tourism industry.
For example, some agencies have noticed an increase in the conversion rate on their sites with the impact of coronavirus. This is largely due to the migration of customers from international to domestic travel.
If you are an agency that offers domestic packages for sale, this is the right time to recommend these packages to tourists who have had to cancel or postpone their international holidays.
Unfortunately, this situation is not similar in the case of travel abroad. In this case, both traffic and conversion rates have dropped considerably. Given the changing behavior of tourists and the fact that they currently avoid moving to a destination with a larger group of people, we can conclude that, in terms of tourism, the segment that had the most to lose because of this pandemics is that of international travel.
- Move your focus from sales to conversion
Whether you have already been affected by the current situation or are just preparing for the worst case scenario, one of the most important things you can do now is to try to shift your focus from sales strategies to conversion strategies.
The fluctuation of the level of passenger traffic is inevitable in this situation, at this moment no travel agency has a budget to ensure the interest of tourists as long as it does not even exist. In fact, trying to promote external packages now could have a negative impact on a travel agency’s credibility when the crisis is over.
The conversion rate is not just a short-term interest. This is a crucial element in ensuring your speedy recovery once the crisis is over. If you focus now on the conversion rate, it will be much easier for you when the traffic recovers, thus facilitating increased revenue.
- Reassess the communication channels used
At the moment, communication channels are no longer used to promote promotional packages, as they did until recently. In this period when nothing is normal, you have to think about what else you could use these channels.
Now is the time to invest more energy in positioning the agency in the market and to send messages to customers. Aim to solidify existing relationships, instead of trying to get reservations that will not take place in the near future anyway.
- Use modification / cancellation policies to remove any doubt
Many agencies have been asked by existing tourists or potential clients the following question: What will happen to my vacation if it is directly affected by coronavirus?
Now is the time to reassure your customers that you are doing your best to protect them and their travels. Be proactive and show customers that you have the best policies to earn their trust.