How to keep wanderlust alive when your customers can't travel

Despite complicated and ever-changing travel restrictions dampening wanderlust somewhat over the past year, hordes of frustrated customers being forced to cancel their travel plans means that the appetite to travel is still at an all-time high. Whilst many companies are cutting marketing budgets, others continue to find new and innovative ways to keep their company and experiences on offer at the forefront of their customers’ minds – and it seems to be working. Research from Mintel in January revealed that a huge 66% of UK adults intend to take a holiday despite the current lockdown and restrictions.

66% of UK adults intend to take a holiday despite the current lockdown and restrictions

As tempting as it would be to dial down the marketing in times when bookings aren’t possible, amping up your efforts when your customers are in desperate need of an escape – even if only to daydream – is the perfect way to keep that lust for travel burning, with your brand’s name sitting comfortably at the top of the list when they’re ready to book.

The fact of the matter is, your customers want to be anywhere but home, and the opportunity is there for the taking.

Think outside the box

How do you keep travel in your customer’s minds when they’re stuck inside four walls? Inspiring your customers during times of restrictions can be a challenge, but if done effectively, can make sure they think of you and the experiences you can offer when restrictions are eased.

Lisa Fitzell, Managing Director at Elegant Resorts, tells us how they kept their customers engaged and inspired throughout lockdown by shifting their focus. “At times, when booking levels were low, it wasn’t about trading. It was more about inspiration and keeping dreams alive. We’ve had to change our strategy throughout the pandemic.” Lisa goes on to explain how Elegant Resorts managed to elevate their customer experience, without taking their customers out of their homes. “One of our biggest successes has been our events. We’ll send our clients a gift, so they might have a hamper of cheese and wine for instance, for an event all about Greece. We’ll then go live to the resorts, and walk our customers around, explain the protocols that are in place, and what travel looks like at the moment.”

“One of our biggest successes has been our events. We’ll send our clients a gift, so they might have a hamper of cheese and wine for instance, for an event all about Greece. We’ll then go live to the resorts, and walk our customers around, explain the protocols that are in place, and what travel looks like at the moment.” 

- Lisa Fitzell, Elegant Resorts

By throwing these events, Elegant Resorts don’t just give their customers a top-notch customer experience of the most tailored kind, they also fire up their imaginations, offer incredible, personal customer service, provide a space for likeminded jet-setters to get social – and perhaps most importantly – give them the opportunity to share the incredible experiences they’ve had with the company.

Flex your creative muscles

Don’t get us wrong – we know that the travel industry has been using photo and video content long before quarantine forced us all onto the likes of Instagram and TikTok, but a shift in strategies, resource and budgets has meant that both creative and user-generated content (UGC) plays a major role in keeping travel customers engaged and inspired in this travel lull. With daily usage of YouTube and TikTok growing by 15% over the pandemic, and Facebook and Instagram usage shooting up by a huge 40%, creating content for these channels means you have a good chance it will get seen by the masses. We’ve seen our customers use photo and video content to not only inspire their customers, but also to make an emotional connection, and help rebuild trust with this visual social proof.

Daily usage of YouTube and TikTok has risen by 15% over the pandemic, and Facebook and Instagram have 40% more daily users

Feefo customer, Expedia, have taken to their social channels to do just that, with their Instagram stories providing customers with everything from inspiring virtual tours to faraway lands and lists of the ten most searched post-lockdown destinations to their timely #WorkFromHere hashtag, in which they suggest ideal destinations to take your office elsewhere.

                                           

Visual social proof can go a long way towards eradicating any doubts from nervous travellers, and Eurocamp’s addition of customer feedback to their social images is an effective way of validating a post-pandemic booking. Using customer feedback can give your customers the gentle nudge they need when confidence is low – and if you’re already collecting customer feedback, you’re sitting on a goldmine of social proof just waiting to be utilised.

Remember that your customers have changed!


If you think that keeping your customers engaged throughout this pandemic is about selling to them, then unfortunately you may be missing the mark. Right now, your efforts should be focused on making sure that your customers feel safe and reassured. In the short term, this shift in purpose will help strengthen your relationships and build trust with your customers, which, of course, later down the line could translate into bookings as they view you as a reliable, transparent business who were a reassuring voice in times of uncertainty. A huge 78% consumers believe that throughout the crisis, brands should be helping in their everyday lives, and 8% say they should stop advertising altogether – proof that now more than ever, you need to be more considerate than ever when it comes to engaging with your customers.

78% consumers believe that throughout the crisis, brands should be helping in their everyday lives, and 8% say they should stop advertising altogether

Your customers have changed, as have their priorities, and now is not the time to appear tone deaf. Pete Brudenll, Marketing Director at CV Villas, tells us about how they felt the need to adapt their tone to accommodate the new concerns of their customers. “We’ve taken a softer, more content-led approach to a lot of our media channels. We’ve tried to remain quite neutral, as well as being current. Our tone of voice has definitely changed. Our CV promise (our way of providing customer protection for future travel plans) and the flexibility and security we offer has become a lot more prominent in our marketing, and we feel that is going to be more and more important”.

“We’ve taken a softer, more content-led approach to a lot of our media channels. We’ve tried to remain quite neutral, as well as being current. Our tone of voice has definitely changed."

- Pete Brudnell, CV Villas


Travelling may have ground to a halt for now, but when it comes to communicating with your customers, now is not the time to put your foot on the brakes – in fact, you should be more connected to your customers than ever before.

Take the guesswork out of your customer communications. Feefo offer a wide range of tools to help you improve every part of your customer experience, whether that’s by discovering what your ever-evolving customer base prioritise when choosing a travel company, to spotting trends in your customer feedback to predict how your customers will behave once restrictions are eased. To find out more, get in touch with a member of our team.    


Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.


Tagged under: digital marketing travel HubNews Insight i2