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The Challenges Facing Travel Brands Throughout the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has caused countless problems for a great number of industries. However, thanks to declining footfall in hotels, grounded planes, and closed international borders, it’s undoubted that the travel industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors. In this post, we’ll take a detailed look at the challenges facing travel brands and how these brands are looking to overcome the issues.

International travel agents: Free departure amends

Travel materials
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

During lockdown, planes were left at a standstill on runways worldwide, and people with existing summer holiday bookings were unable to travel as planned. As a result, travel companies scrambled to issue refunds and vouchers so people could rebook at a later date. However, with uncertainty still in the market, companies have struggled to attract new bookings, and their cash flow has suffered.

As a result, some travel companies such as TUI have responded by offering free departure amends up to 20 April 2021. As these TUI reviews from Feefo show, this is a move that customers appreciate, as it allows them to book with greater confidence as they know they can change their break if required without losing money on their booking.

Tourism boards: Focusing on the positives

During the middle of the pandemic, most tourism boards had to pause all of their marketing activity because borders were closed to international travelers, and attractions were closed to prevent domestic travelers’ gatherings. As a direct result of this, these brands had to quickly pivot from sales-focused adverts to something different.

In doing this, many tourism boards decided to tailor their social media posts to focus on reassuring and positive messages. Econsultancy highlighted how the Swiss tourism board did a particularly good job of this, using hashtags such as #neverstopdreaming and #staystrong. As a result, many of their Instagram posts received more than 10,000 likes.

Cruise providers: Virus-related discounts start to take hold

Cruise ship docked
Image Bruno / Germany by Pixabay

Cruise providers faced a unique challenge when the coronavirus pandemic first took hold. As this blog from Skift highlights, many ports refused to let ships dock due to coronavirus fears, so many passengers were stuck on the ship. With the US government still advising against cruise travel, industry experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic is the worst issue facing the industry in 30 years.

However, forward-thinking cruise providers have started to offer discounts to encourage people to book a cruise rather than another form of travel. But, this isn’t a widespread practice across the industry, as Norwegian and Oceania are still holding their prices. Instead, these companies have looked to alter their cancellation policies and have introduced new safety practices. However, the longer the pandemic lasts, the more likely it becomes that these brands will follow suit to stimulate demand.

Airlines: Marketing campaigns

While planes have been grounded, airlines have also done their best to stay relevant. Generally speaking, there have been two ways that airlines have done this: traditional holiday-focused marketing campaigns and campaigns focusing on how people can travel safely while the virus is still active.

As SearchEngineJournal have detailed, Jet2’s ‘What are you looking forward to?’ campaign was one of the best around, as it highlighted the positive aspects of travel and helped people daydream about their next break.

Similarly, airlines such as Southwest Airlines put together a strong stream of videos and articles that focused on how customers could travel safely during the pandemic, including blogs and guides backed by scientific research. Rather than focusing on aspirations and dreams, this helped Southwest reassure customers that it was safe to travel with the airline due to the increased safety measures it had put into place.

To conclude, although these challenges facing travel brands are testing times for travel companies, many have responded positively, using marketing strategies, price reductions, and policy changes to reassure customers and ensure people continue to book. So, if you’re thinking about booking your next holiday, take a look around the market. You may find the booking experience more positive than you thought, as brands are actively working hard to reassure you that travel is safe.

Featured Photo by Pixabay from Pexels