In the meantime, there will indeed be casualties across the travel landscape – just as there will be in many industries.
But there are strategies businesses can undertake now that will help put them in a stronger position when travel returns.
One such initiative is the simple act of remaining in touch with consumers.
“After a long period of social distancing and self-isolation, consumer attitudes and the dynamics of the outbound travel market will undoubtedly have changed dramatically when we emerge from this crisis,” says Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at analyst firm GlobalData.
“Simple initiatives that travel businesses can offer now to sustain their brand awareness and visibility over the coming months will help them maintain a competitive advantage in the future.”
Among the new campaigns in place, according to Ms Bonhill-Smith, is a “movie club” between Contiki and Netflix that “plays a travel-related film every Thursday which is undoubtedly helping them support the community and reach out to consumers”.
Leading online travel agency C-trip has also launched a ‘COVID-19 International Traveller’s Guide’ app “which allows Chinese tourists to identify what travel restrictions are in place in their desired destination and what the immigration policies are there”.
“When restrictions begin to lift, a tool like this will offer tourists an easy way to find the information they need,” Bonhill-Smith says.
“Tour operators are also introducing online streaming content for travellers to experience different attractions and activities from the comfort and confinement of their own home.”
“GetYourGuide for example, is an online marketplace that has now launched virtual experiences across hotspot destinations such as a virtual tour through the Vatican or a cooking class specializing in Italian cuisine, in efforts to maintain the desire and interest for future travel.
“Operators will be hoping for the ‘ultimate travel boom’ when restrictions are lifted; and those that continue to build deeper relationships with their customer base now will have a clear competitive advantage when the travel world starts turning again post-COVID-19."
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