As people around the world begin packing their suitcases again, travel and tourism organizations are facing new challenges. Let’s take a look at four ways that these businesses can rebuild customers’ confidence and reignite their trust in travel.
1. Share timely and accurate content that addresses travelers’ safety concerns.
As a travel/tourism organization, your business depends on people, well…traveling. Whether your revenue is from transportation, accommodations, activities, or any number of other travel-related costs, it’s imperative to rebuild your customers’ trust by showing them that traveling can be safe again.
62% of American adults feel comfortable taking a vacation.
To start, conduct a brief communications audit. Ask yourself:
- How are you engaging with your audience?
- What platforms are you using?
- What content are you sharing with them?
- How are they responding?
Right now, more than ever, it’s important to share up-to-date, accurate information and resources that help travelers stay informed and navigate their choices. Not only does this position your organization as a trusted, valuable source of information, but it could also earn customer loyalty as they check back for updates and ultimately book with you.
Your customers’ activity likely changed dramatically during the pandemic. Think about their current concerns and how you can allay them. Craft messaging that shares your commitment to their safety—what steps have you taken to protect their health?
Source: GBTA Poll, May 20, 2021
HOW IT WORKS
We helped the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) share critical updates and information with their key audiences throughout the pandemic. With consistent, accurate communications, CLIA put safety first and maintained their audience’s trust.
2. Offer clear, consistent, and cohesive content across all of your communications channels.
Throughout the pandemic as well as today, you’ve likely been doing your best to stay in touch with customers and keep your brand top-of-mind. But is the content you’re disseminating consistent across all mediums? If not, it could be confusing your audience.
After you conduct the audit in #1 above, you’re ready to streamline your communications. Think about how you can better reach and inform your customers and other potential travelers. What information do they find most helpful? What are the benefits of working with your organization over others? Are there other opportunities to reengage and attract customers? All of this should inform your messaging strategy.
HOW IT WORKS
We conduct communications audits and help travel and tourism clients effectively reach their target audiences through dynamic design and compelling messaging. Examples include:
- Brand USA: We audited and refreshed their full suite of communications, including business plans, annual reports, market reports, and more.
- CLIA: We audited and redesigned CLIA’s communications and fine-tuned the messaging.
- New Jersey Travel & Tourism: We audited their communications and existing exhibit booth assets and delivered an award-winning trade show booth experience at IPW, the United States’ leading travel trade show, resulting in a 100% increase in appointments over the previous year’s event.
3. Outsource your communications to a marcom firm, so your team can focus on their roles without having to allocate “extra” time for marcom needs.
Due to lack of revenue during the pandemic, many travel and tourism organizations had to downsize their marcoms and events staff, leaving the remaining team to take on parts of, or all, of those roles. As travel starts to pick up again, many of these organizations are finding themselves without enough staff. Instead of hiring more employees while you’re still dealing with reduced budgets, hire a marcom agency that can serve as an extension of your team and provide end-to-end marketing support.
Source: U.S. Travel Association
HOW IT WORKS
We work with travel and tourism organizations as an extension of their marcoms teams to provide communications, brand management, creative design and messaging, event management, and project/campaign management. By outsourcing these roles to Novak Birch, our clients can focus on their business objectives while we create powerful, branded experiences and solutions that support them. We’ve delivered results for:
- Brand USA: Trade show booth program, branded communications, film premiere events, trivia apps, website toolkits, event branding, and office branding
- Great Outdoors USA: Trade show booth program
- CLIA: Virtual event and branded communications
- New Jersey Travel & Tourism: Trade show booth program
- HMSHost: Branded airport and motorway activations, retail toolkits, retail programs, and employee engagement programs
- Choice Hotels: Trade show booth programs, display walls, milestone walls, and websites
4. Enhance your customer experience by leveraging opportunities for hybrid, virtual, and in-person interaction.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we’ve seen the benefits of hybrid and virtual experiences. It’s easier than ever to connect with people in meaningful ways, no matter where they’re located. So how do we leverage this opportunity—along with in-person interaction—to better engage with customers?
When planning your outreach, look for opportunities to meet with your customers or partners in person, hybrid, and virtually. How can you share your brand story and promote your offerings in a cohesive, memorable way…no matter how people interact with you?
For starters, make key content available digitally. This is the easiest way to get your most important information out there for the world to see.
Then, consider how easy it is for your customers to engage with you. Whether they are booking, planning, or otherwise, are they able to easily find the information they need, ask questions, and take action? One way to do this is to leverage user-generated content, or UGC. This is any form of content (such as images, videos, text, and audio) that people who aren’t an official representative of your business have posted on online platforms, such as social media, YouTube, review sites, etc.
Do you regularly review your UGC and use that feedback to make changes, as needed, to your offerings and services? As we’ve discussed before on our blog, your brand isn’t just the information you communicate to the world—it’s how the world sees you. So it’s critical to stay apprised of what people are saying about you, so you can maintain a compelling and authentic brand presence.
And last but not least, remember tip #1 above. Do your communications address customers’ potential health and safety concerns? Be sure to share the measures you’ve put in place to ensure their safety.
Sources: HubSpot, HBR, Bizzabo
HOW IT WORKS
- Brand USA: Since 2013, we’ve worked with Brand USA to conceive, design, fabricate, and install high-impact exhibit experiences at global trade shows, including IPW. Using a visitor strategy focused on a blend of informative and actionable, engaging activities—with data capture incorporated—we deliver immersive, interactive experiences that led to a 33% year-over-year increase in visitor traffic. We also branded their office environment, including a custom, interactive lobby projection system.
- Great Outdoors USA: We designed a dedicated space at IPW called Great Outdoors USA—an aisle of federal agencies and other organizations showcasing U.S. destinations and travel services. The new space saw a 57% increase in visitor traffic.
- New Jersey Travel & Tourism: We designed and fabricated a new trade show exhibit for IPW that draws visitors in and enhances their experience, resulting in a 100% increase in visitation.
- CLIA: We designed a logo, meeting materials, an email campaign, and graphics for the website, social media, and virtual platform for CLIA’s Cruise Forward Virtual Summit, which saw a 29% increase in audience attendance.
By aligning and invigorating your brand communications and optimizing your audience experiences, you can elevate your brand presence and increase your visibility and impact. The result? Improved audience trust and loyalty, which leads to more engagement and business recovery.