Part I: Why the Human Element Matters Most
We’re continuing to see a swelling pent-up demand for travel and, once released, it will be a mad scramble to reach those audiences. That’s why strong communication now, not later, is so important. But while standing out may be the goal, every message your brand puts out is both an opportunity and a potential landmine. Learn how to navigate crisis communication so that in the end your brand emerges from the crisis in the strongest position possible.
Put yourself in the traveler’s mindset.
Fears are high; emotions are mercurial. Finding the right tone is a balancing act in an environment where the gravitational pull seems to be changing every day, but the key to an impactful strategy is to acknowledge and empathize with the current mindset while keeping an eye on the future. The messaging shift from “we’re all in this together” messaging to “dream now, travel later” was rapid, and there are several more phases to come. By leveraging tools like social listening and weekly travel sentiment surveys, we stay on top of the conversations so that we’re in the best place to match the current mindset and anticipate what’s next.
Trust that consumers are savvier than ever.
In such a cluttered landscape where every brand is competing for attention, consumers can spot missteps from a mile away. Brands that lean into their human element are more likely to create a connection that lasts beyond the crisis. Consumers are saturated in the news, so this is definitely not the time to ignore the COVID-19 crisis altogether and carry on as if it’s business as usual. Avoid the temptation to react to the day’s news or throw out scattershot messages, as those moments have an incredibly short lifespan.
Being bold requires thoughtful strategy.
This is the time to step out in front of the pack and be the industry leaders who usher in a new era of travel. But being a leader also comes with an incredible level of responsibility. Will your call to action strike the wrong chord if it’s too direct? Will aspirational images of multigenerational travel appear tone deaf? You never want to project the sense that you’re trying to make a quick buck, even if it’s to ensure your own survival.
So what comes next?
We have identified the four stages of recovery – Wait, Ready, Set, Go – and we’re helping our clients navigate their messages along the way. Key indicators guide where, when and to whom these messages should be deployed. It’s more important than ever to create a message that is truly aligned with your brand in a way that adapts to these times. Instill confidence that the days of returning to travel are closer than ever, that your brand will evolve, and adjust to meet their needs while prioritizing health and safety. Because it’s not just a catchphrase: We truly are in this together, and you are no longer representing your brand but rather a collective of people all sharing the same vision.