In order to build confidence for travelers during the Covid-19 world, tourism businesses need to meet the new needs of their customers emerging from the changes in the traveler journey. Based on part 1, three factors that are currently travelers’ top concerns are information, safety, and flexible cancellation policy.
Meet the need for information
In the context of Covid-19, many uncertain situations are possible, as well as many travel restrictions and social distancing measures are still in place. Thereby, travelers are likely to plan more specific itinerary than before. It can be seen that meeting travelers’ need for information in this period is very important for tourism businesses in rebuilding travelers’ confidence and assisting them in their planning stage. Tourism businesses should focus on the details, accuracy, real-time and easy accessibility of information as these are the top factors to help travelers make travel decisions.
Besides, travelers’ habit of searching for information has shifted to online platforms. An Expedia report showed that the tendency to search for information on the destination sites and OTAs increased by more than 20% during the Covid-19 period. Therefore, tourism businesses can boost the provision of information on online channels to more effectively reach potential travelers.
In addition, another very important source of information that tourism businesses should pay more attention to is the reviews from previous travelers. The habit of reading reviews was inherently common, but in the context of Covid-19, this need became more important. Accurate reviews about the safety of travel experiences could increase travelers’ confidence. Therefore, tourism businesses can encourage their customers to give reviews for their experiences on travel review platforms in order to provide an important source of information for potential travelers.
Ensure safety and hygiene regulations
Safety has become a top priority not only for travelers but also for tourism businesses. Therefore, travelers not only need to be inspired to travel but also need to feel safe when making decisions to travel. Updating and applying hygiene protocols, safety measures in accordance with national and world standards by destinations, hotels, and attractions will help travelers feel more secure.
However, tourism businesses should also remember that the safety measures are to make travelers’ experience safer, rather than complicating their trip. Safety measures should be applied appropriately to not make travelers lose their interest in the trip.
Applying technology during traveler journey is one of the most appreciated solutions to enhance safety for travelers. Implementing touchless technologies, online payments, online check-in and check-out, etc will help minimize direct interaction as well as make travelers’ experiences more seamless and faster.
Develop flexible cancelation and refund policies
Travelers’ peace of mind about the trip is also strengthened by the financial aspect. Policies of refunding or changing bookings by tourism businesses have a great influence on travelers’ decisions of booking. According to a Travelport report, 64% of travelers surveyed said fully flexible/refundable tickets are a ‘very important’ factor that would influence them to book a flight. Sometimes, in the short term, the refund and change policies of bookings influence travelers’ decisions much more than the price and the brand.
Tourism businesses can make it easier by developing digital platforms or tools that help travelers proactively and easily cancel or change their bookings. In addition to refunding by cash, tourism businesses can also develop more flexible cancelation policies such as refund by vouchers or equivalent value membership benefits.