Seven communication survival tips for the travel and tourism industry when borders reopen

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Despite official or self-enforced restrictions, there is still a desire to travel – or at least start making plans – so travel and tourism businesses must adapt and reposition themselves to fit the new landscape.

Cover the new bases

With the current “threat” being COVID-19, companies in the industry must implement new measures to ensure health and safety. These should be clearly communicated to external audiences to remove any doubts about the quality and safety of their service or product.

Measures and standards that were previously taken for granted or taken for granted, must now be reiterated alongside new measures being implemented to mitigate the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Revise your segmentation models

Market segments that were previously the most frequent visitors may no longer be able or willing to visit or use the same services and destinations. Having previously depended on foreign visitors, many destinations have now seen an influx of nationals visiting and exploring popular destinations in their own countries.

Destinations that offer proximity, a flagship attraction or an activity are already favored by new audience segments. To ensure that the right people are targeted in these new circumstances, we recommend that you review and revise your current segmentation model.

Demonstrate transparency and agility

As the virus spreads, recedes, mutates, or is rendered harmless through medical achievements, companies should be able to show they are nimble. It should become a standard part of business communications and show the company’s ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

Building trust through people and the brand

When communicating both externally and internally, it is important to anchor the message to the brand or to a key person, such as the CEO. By giving your message a face, it will be easier to build trust and accountability.

Review and update crisis training

COVID-19 has presented a whole new set of risks that must be managed. Reviewing your crisis and preparedness plans and training for these new risks will add a new level of security to your business and help mitigate the consequences of a potential event.

It’s not all about sales

People are looking for solace, comfort and inspiration. What a business communicates to the outside cannot just be about increasing sales. Because the industry is currently synonymous with increased risk of contagion, it will be seen as unethical to promote it. Not all content needs to fuel a sales promotion program, but rather should inspire, engage and inform.

Sustainability becomes fundamental

The environmental impact of travel has become increasingly clear, so companies working in some of the polluting parts of the travel industry will need to take a stand on it. If we are to rebuild, why not “rebuild better”?

Simen Johannesen is Senior Account Manager and Head of Travel and Tourism for H + K Norway and Charlotte Reksten is Senior Account Manager for H + K Norway

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