2020 is a year of adversity that leaves us all in need of an escape. We miss the ability to explore new places —to travel. But these days it can be hard to take a trip to anywhere but the grocery store without feeling judged. So, as travel restrictions lessen and consumers reconsider taking a holiday, it’s important that brands support travelers and reduce “travel shame”.
Mitigate Risks for Travelers
Heightened safety concerns mean an increased demand for information. Prospective travelers need to be connected to a destination’s COVID-specific rules and regulations. In addition, brands in the travel and attraction space must proactively communicate what they are doing—above and beyond the bare minimum—to keep guests safe.
Ask yourself: How can I show that safety protocols are keeping guests safe? How can I instill confidence in prospective travelers that they are making a responsible choice by choosing my brand over others?
Keep it Close to Home
Greater travel distances are aligned with higher concern levels so many people are more likely to escape to drivable destinations. This means travel brands must help locals rediscover their backyard.
Ask yourself: How can I make close-to-home feel like a relaxing, yet invigorating escape from the everyday?
Provide Talking Points
Talking about our travel plans is a natural extension of any trip, as is reflecting on our time away afterward. However, with travel now a delicate subject, make it easy for your guests to alleviate any negative preconceptions by giving them talking points about their safe escape.
Ask yourself: If you imagine a conversation between one of your customers and their colleagues, what experiences might your brand create that invoke a sense of pride that they made a smart decision? For example, “We chose to stay at Hotel ABC because I was able to check in online and go straight to my room bypassing the lobby. They made it easy to socially distance.”
Connect to Travelers
Create an outlet for travelers to connect and share their experiences with other travelers. People value and trust feedback from others and enabling these kinds of interactions helps to build a community around your brand. Real input also counters the fear of the unknown, preparing travelers for the new normal.
Ask yourself: How can I connect guests who have recently traveled with those who are still on the fence? A recent traveler’s great experience can help a future guest on their travel journey.
Support the Benefits of Travel
Let’s get realistic: the mental health impacts of COVID are severe. Travel can play a significant, positive role by giving people a much-needed respite. The decision to travel isn’t selfish or frivolous; it has the ability to improve our mental state, our connections with the people we love, and the economy as a whole. When done wisely, traveling in 2020 can positively benefit us all—and your guests need to hear that validation.
Ask yourself: How am I combating travel shame with travel support?
Different times call for different measures but that doesn’t mean travel plans have to halt all together. By initially connecting consumers with the information and support they need throughout the travel process, you alleviate any concerns and give them the permission to journey on.