- Is the travel industry still alive?
- Will the industry recover at least by the end of 2021?
- Are people still traveling in this COVID era? Or are they panicking about traveling?
Too many questions to answer, right?
How terribly has the coronavirus affected the travel industry?
Like these, many overwhelming questions are rolling out the internet these days. All because of the advent of the novel coronavirus like an unexpected bomb blast in the travel industry.
Online travel agencies (OTAs) have globally faced unexpected severity and large workforce reductions. In the year 2020 alone, global travel and tourism had to lose about 4.5 trillion dollars of revenue only because of COVID-19.
The difficult thing to believe is that, in 2020, the sector’s contribution to global GDP has declined to $4.7 trillion from $9.2 trillion compared to the previous year. Moreover, the pandemic has caused the loss of 62 million jobs and left 272 million people unemployed worldwide.
While reading about all these declines, we wanted to know how some OTAs are taking care of their businesses despite natural disasters, calamities, pandemics, and other issues. So we dug deeper into this. We’ve lined up a few amazing tips and tricks you can leverage during uncertain times.
Try these Amazing Tips & Tricks
COVID-19 ate up the travel industry like a ferocious beast. “Please cancel my booking!”, “Will you refund my payment?”, “Does this hotel follow all the safety measures?”
All these phrases would have spammed your inboxes in these two years, right? Are you in a confused state not knowing how to take the next move? This is not the time to complain or panic or sit pathetically idle.
The travel industry is certainly resilient, it was able to withstand unexpected threats in the past like global economic issues, wars, Influenza, 9/11, Great Recession, and other crises. So, you will have good learnings when you go through how the tourism industry withstands all these like a pro during such slow downtimes.
Here, we suggest one best thing –
“Just Try Different Tricks And Stick With The Right Ones That Clicked ;)”.
We’ve rounded up a few amazing strategies to consistently maintain the growth of your OTA business without being swept away during unprecedented attacks.
Stay Tuned with Your Travelers
Focusing on minimizing your budget, there are chances for you to forget about your travelers. Let come what may, at the end of the day it’s your contribution at the time of uncertainties that matter the most. Here, we came across a few travel companies that invested in and prioritized marketing during past recessions.
- Delta, the most popular travel agency of Delta Airlines, allows medical volunteers to travel to New York as part of Delta’s support for frontline medical workers fighting COVID-19 in hard-hit areas of the U.S. for free of cost. To learn more about this, you can check out their website
- Four Seasons, another travel agency in New York, is offering free rooms to healthcare workers. To learn more on this, you can click here
- Cruise liner giant Carnival is offering cruise ships to help the escalating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems worldwide. Wanted to learn more about this? Then, check out this website
Digitize Your Responses
The novel coronavirus has pushed travelers to cancel their trips. Due to this, many travel operators are facing unprecedented spikes in volume.
Researchers from Publicis Sapient report that in the third week of March 2020, the average response time crossed more than two hours. In another report, it says that as many as 50% of the travelers’ calls went unanswered.
When you take too much time to respond, people will eventually lose trust in your brand. No matter what kind of difficult situation you may undergo, you’ve to be the first in picking up your customers’ calls or responding to their messages.
You can carry out this by streamlining digital touchpoints that let travelers cancel and rebook via digital channels anytime they wish. Leading companies have blended their digital and call center teams, automating the use of natural language processing tools to analyze calls and optimize travelers’ demands fluidly across channels.
Re-evaluate Your Competitive Landscape
The economic impact of COVID-19 has led many regional airlines, small-to-medium-sized, and independent travel agencies to face financial difficulty and bankruptcy.
Recovery will not be homogeneous as different parts of the world fight to control the spread of the virus on different timelines. Domestic travel is likely to recover faster than international travel and some countries will be open for business before others.
From this, it’s clear that you have to visualize the status of the landscape during the post-pandemic. While the timeline is hard to predict, those in the position to do so need to take steps now to be ready to gain market share, enter new markets, and offer new products.
- Before entering new sectors, gain insights about customer behavior, identify the right prospects, and look for signals to identify when travel is bouncing back.
- Once these markets are identified, you can streamline your marketing technology and processes to be able to get the right messages to the right customers at the right time.
- Set up dynamic segmentation and line up the right offers and promotions.
- It’s likely that the changing competitive landscape will make it more necessary for you to invest in direct-to-customer digital channels.
- Direct hospitality bookings are also likely to strengthen as some travelers will hesitate to book through online travel agencies or stay at Airbnb properties as they seek out increased quality assurances and flexibility in their rebooking and cancellation options.
Embrace Contactless Technologies
Health and wellness practices will no longer be a ‘nice-to-have’ in a post-COVID-19 world. All travelers will expect higher standards to ensure their health & well-being. For this, digital tools will facilitate“touch-free” options more convincingly.
For example, mobile-first technologies such as contactless payments have been in the market for a few years, with limited adoption. However, recent behaviors signal a spike in adoption as customers become more highly conscious of who and what they come into physical contact with.
Today, mobile usage among travelers seems to be increasing throughout the travel journey, from passports and boarding passes to keyless hotel entry and digital check-out at hotels.
Embark on investing in “touch-free” technologies such as biometrics, gesture controls, and automation to personalize digital interactions while enabling social distancing. A leading example of this can be found at the Chengdu Shuangliu airport in China which has kiosks that already use facial recognition to help travelers check their flight status and find their gate.
Assure Public Safety
Today, even the travel aspirants are dismayed to travel and they need some assurance and instruction on how and where to return safely to traveling.
With prudent risk mitigation techniques, we expect important regulatory bodies and travel industry participants to work together to respond to this health crisis in the same way as they have to others.
In short, it will be more convincing as you implant health screenings just like security screenings in airports. To offer security to travelers, you will have to gather and share precise traveler details and globally monitor macroeconomic, geopolitical, and environmental events, and encourage them to move on for a safe & secure trip.
To Wrap Up Things
Though COVID-19 was a massive disaster two things are becoming clear, one that people will be eagerly waiting to get back to adventures & trips after the pandemic crisis, and two that the travel industry will put on new apparel because of the current travel restrictions.
Just grab the opportunity and showcase your OTA business to the travel aspirants encouraging them to go for a trip. High-end designers, developers, and digital marketers at ColorWhistle are pro players on the grounds of the travel industry.
Only after getting a clear view of your requirements, we embark on developing custom solutions for your OTA business. We don’t like the habit of following the crowd, we always aim at delivering creative solutions to our clients that create a unique image among the competitors.
All the websites we build will be ready for social media integration, mobile-ready, SEO-friendly, and have a good user experience. Also, we offer custom booking development options as well.