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Travel brands should realign their marketing strategies to unlock rapid recovery: Eshan Joshi

Brands will also need to understand that their target consumers will not be in a position to use their product/service offerings right away writes Eshan Joshi, Marketing Head, Zostel.

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It is fair to assume that Covid-19 will effectively change the way we travel. In a bid to set up hygiene-oriented safety nets, many rules and regulations will be put in place to make sure things are kept under control. To achieve this, seamless communication across the members and stakeholders of the travel ecosystem is of paramount importance.

After living in confined space for months at a stretch, people (and not just travel-enthusiasts) will want to get out whenever it is deemed safe. Naturally, they will also be sceptical especially since the world is coming to terms with the fact that we need to learn to live with Covid-19 till it is gone. Reason dictates that we can expect new policies and training methods to be devised and delivered specifically for Covid-19 queries.

Against this backdrop, travel brands will need to re-align their marketing strategies to drive the conversion rates once the economic machinery gets up and running. Brands will also need to understand that their target consumers will not be in a position to use their product/service offerings right away. Hence, they will need to inculcate prudence to build effective strategies while refraining from coming across as desperate and needy. The following, then, are expected to be some of the key features of the post-Covid marketing landscape:

1. Covid-specific instructions will be issued: Once the government shares the relevant directives, the onus of communicating the information to travel-seekers across the country and address their doubts and queries will inevitably also fall upon the companies operating within this space. In sync with this development, leading OTAs as well as tourism boards will potentially add a Covid-19-specific feature to their service offerings.

2. CRM executives will go into overdrive: Now more than ever, people will be bursting with travel-related queries. Hence, CRM executives will step in here to help consumers in examining and reviewing the policies and reforms in the post-lockdown, post-pandemic travel landscape.

3. Sales-specific communication will become crucial: Consumers across sectors will prioritize health and safety above everything else in the post-COVID-19 economy. Hence, communicating the information concerning the plans and reforms an establishment has implemented to ensure a safe passage to users will become critical.

Further, given that the economy has taken a major hit, huge discounts will be the norm for some time. Besides slashing prices, going the extra mile for your customer will make a world of difference. However, the brands that make extra efforts in communicating information, helping with queries and after-sale support will recover at a faster rate than their peers.

Looking at the future of the market and the role of user engagement in it

The key to unlocking rapid recovery will be how well you are able to drive robust, authentic, and interesting engagement with your target group. To achieve optimum user engagement in the post-lockdown, service providers will need to put their finger on the pulse of their consumers while also making the engagement worthwhile.

Now, therefore, is a great time to ask your TG meaningful questions. Brands can begin by asking their consumers questions about the situation they are in currently and taking feedback on their existing product offerings. You should also aim to imbue the communication with positivity about the future full of wonderful possibilities. Since the call to action (CTA) to all your posts will stop being sales-specific for the time being, you can leverage this opportunity to know your target group better and develop your brand accordingly. 

You will need to conduct webinars and live sessions around travelling to educate the users about the best hygiene practices to ensure that the safety of travellers is not compromised. You can use a creative blend of tools and resources including infographics and helpline numbers to achieve this effectively and efficiently.

In the post-Covid-19 economy, brands that can adequately drive user engagement will stand to recover faster. And, to achieve this, you will need to treat user engagement as the centre-piece of your post-coronavirus marketing strategies.


Tags assigned to this article:
travel brands Zostel COVID-19 travel marketing

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