How Travel Companies Should Communicate in 2021

Frida Kops   ● 8 min read
This article forms part of a weekly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every month.
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How we communicate, what we communicate, and who we communicate to, are elements that hold equal weight in getting our message across. So if you’re struggling to attract potential customers or resonate with them when you do, these articles may help you master how travel companies should communicate in 2021.

Let’s get started.

Here's this week's roundup:

Over 70s Should Not Be Forgotten in the Recovery of Travel, Says Globaldata

GlobalData’s COVID-19 Recovery Survey revealed that as a result of the pandemic 30% of the Silent Generation (over 70s) will now make purchases online as opposed to in-store visits. 

The same survey also found that just 26% of people aged over 70 felt either ‘extremely’ or ‘quite concerned’ about their financial situation. In comparison, 77% of Millennials are ‘extremely’ or ‘quite concerned’ about their financial situation.   

When these findings are considered alongside other factors, namely that over 70s have been one of the first to receive the vaccination, and they have the greatest flexibility to travel, it’s clear that the Silent Generation will be at the forefront of the industry’s international recovery. How travel companies should communicate to the over 70s through their online marketing efforts must therefore be considered seriously.

“Not only is this demographic one of the first to be vaccinated, they are also typically big spenders and less hindered by time constraints. This makes this a lucrative demographic to target in order to boost post-pandemic travel,” says Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData.

Do you agree that the over 70s will play a critical part in the travel industry’s recovery?

Travellers Globally are Committed to Making a Difference as Travel Returns

Source: ATTA

If you target the Canadian market then this article is worth a read to gain insights into the reasons why Canadians will travel again, what’s important to them, and changes to their travel behaviour.  

Interestingly, 73% of Canadians who took part in this survey conducted by G Adventures said that the most important factor in their holiday choice is that what they spend benefits, local people, in the destinations they visit. With local communities and businesses across the world suffering economically by the pandemic, I believe it’s heightened our awareness of how much our choices can make a difference to the livelihood of others. This theory is also endorsed by 37% of respondents who said they are committed to supporting local people and businesses when they travel internationally again.

Other important factors in the holiday choices of those surveyed include:

  • 53% want to ensure wildlife is protected.
  • 45% want to avoid destinations that are subject to over-tourism. 
  • 60% want to visit places less travelled or remote destinations. 

When asked what their main reason was to travel again, these were the findings:

  • 61% want to immerse themselves in another culture.
  • 56% seek to reconnect with the world.
  • 35% have a desire to connect with nature.

When it comes to the planning phase of booking a trip 34% also pledged to carry out more research before making a booking. This is useful data for tour operators because if your business does support local communities, wildlife, and the environment, then including this information clearly on your website, social channels, lead magnets, brochures and emails could lead to more inquiries, and ultimately bookings.

Vegan Tourism Set to Be Travel’s Greener Shoot With a New Emphasis on Health

Source: Skift

Does your travel business receive a high number of requests for vegan meals for its tours? 

Personal health has become the highest priority as a result of the pandemic, and this includes our diet. As a result, Skift predicts that “vegan tourism is poised for a new wave of growth once people begin traveling again.” 

Many tour operators have benefited in recent years from the boom in veganism. This includes UK travel company, Responsible Travel.

“Bookings for our vegan holidays have more than doubled in recent years, rising by 120 percent between 2016 and 2019,” said Justin Francis, the founder, and CEO of Responsible Travel.

Vegan tours not only benefit the planet but can support local communities and benefit the environment too. This is supported by Justin Francis who reports that eating less meat that is grown by local communities supports the economy and contributes to lowering a traveller’s carbon footprint. 

Still wondering if it’s worth it? Here’s some useful statistics for US and UK travellers: 

  • The number of US consumers who identify as vegan has increased between 2014 – 2017 by 600%, according to Global Data.
  • In July 2020, 58% of US respondents indicated that their goal is to eat more plant-based foods. 
  • There are 600,000 vegans in the UK, compared to 150,000 in 2006.
  • 25% of UK consumers aged 21 – 30 years old said that COVID-19 has made turning to plant-based foods more appealing to them.
  • 30% of North American seniors have a higher plant-based diet as a direct result of the pandemic. 

For tour operators who don’t currently offer vegan tours, this doesn’t mean you necessarily need to. Simply asking your customers at the enquiry stage and openly sharing on your website and social platforms that your tours cater to these dietary preferences can be enough to effectively demonstrate inclusivity.

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Here are my top-tip articles:

How to Speak so That People Want to Listen

Source: TEDTalk

This 10-minute TEDTalk provides useful tips that tour operators can use when talking to potential customers on the phone or via video call. It’s not just what you say, but the way you say it that will impact whether you are truly heard and listened to. 

How to make the biggest impact by what you say:

  • Honesty: be clear and straight
  • Authenticity: be yourself
  • Integrity: be your word
  • Love: wish them well. 

How to make the biggest impact by the way you speak:

  • Register: be aware of the depth of tone. People trust those who speak in lower voices. This means speaking from your chest.
  • Tamber: the way your voice feels. People prefer to listen to rich, smooth, warm tones. 
  • Prosody: the sing-song or rhythm of your voice. This is the meta language we use to impart meaning. For example, this is why speaking in monotone is extremely difficult to listen to. 
  • Pace: slowing down your pace makes it clearer and easier to be heard.
  • Silence: pausing can be effective in your delivery of a message. It allows what you say to register and be processed by the listener. 
  • Pitch: the way you deliver a sentence can give different meanings depending on the pitch you use. 

Volume: speaking too loudly can be overpowering and often offputting. However, speaking too quietly can mean your message isn’t heard or understood.

At 7 min 42, Julian Treasure demonstrates 6 vocal exercises to warm up your voice. He recommends doing this before you begin any important call or meeting.  

I invite you to do the vocal exercises and take Julian Treasure’s tips on board before your next sales call and let me know what effect this has on the listener.

Facebook Ads Rejected? Here’s What to Do

This article provides 3 steps to take when your Facebook Ad gets rejected.

Step 1: Identify Why Your Facebook Ad Was Disapproved

There are some obvious reasons why your Facebook ad may have been disapproved, and some not so obvious reasons. 

For example, Facebook has provided a reason for the rejection that is clearly wrong. If this happens, simply dispute it in Ads Manager.

If the reason isn’t obvious, consult Facebook’s ad policies and terms which you can find here.

Personal attributes is one of the most common reasons why Facebook might reject your ad. If you realise this is the reason, then edit and resubmit it. 

Step 2: Submit a Request for Review of a Disputed Ad

One way to do this is to go into your Ads Manager and find: 

Ad level of your ad campaign > Edit > Request Review

Can’t see this option? Go to Facebook’s Business Help page and use the chat function or email.

What to include in your request:

  • Business account ID
  • Ad ID
  • The reason why your ad was rejected by Facebook
  • Your reasons why your ad complies with Facebook’s ad policies and terms.  

Step 3: View the Status of Your Ad Review Request

Head to your support inbox here where you can check the progress of your review request. If you don’t hear from them within 2 days, this article advises you to follow up with them. 

Do your ads ever get rejected? What are the most common reasons why?

Advertisers, Skip the Platitudes in 2021

Advertising during COVID-19 is tricky so often travel businesses fall into the trap of repeating the same message as everyone else. How many times have you heard the phrase “uncertain times” and “we’re in this together” over the past year? What’s your reaction to those phrases? With a groan I imagine, followed quickly by switching off (mentally or physically!) from the advert.  

At a basic level, the purpose of marketing and advertising is to encourage people to either support something or make a purchase. 

This Harvard Business Review article argues that whilst there’s nothing wrong with the sentiment of unity and healing, it’s unlikely to inspire inquiries or bookings because the message doesn’t offer anything to its viewer.

So what message can travel business owners deliver? Perseverance.  

This is because spending decisions aren’t made rationally but at a subconscious level.

The HBR  puts forward that at a subconscious level, we are living in “Covid Connectome”. A struggle between preservation and perseverance. Only when the perseverance side grows larger, will people start to spend again. 

Tour operators that carry the right messages, imagery, and metaphors in their adverts can play a crucial part in making this happen.

  1. Confirm and support a traveller’s need for preservation by demonstrating your understanding of their natural desire to be safe.
  2. Create a tone and message of perseverance within your ad. 

One example of this for the travel industry is Disney’s “Tomorrow is Just a Dream Away” advert.

Instead of shooting multiple scenes at the Disney World theme park, the ad focuses on families at home getting excited about Disney because they’re planning their holiday. This taps into feelings of nostalgia, excitement and creates positive associations with the act of booking a trip at some point in the future. 

The ad sequence ends with a voiceover saying “when you’re ready for your tomorrow to begin, start planning at”.

You’ll notice that there’s no demand to “book now”, “don’t miss out” or “hurry whilst offers last” which can come across as insensitive. Instead, the call to action is much softer.

Therefore, how travel companies should communicate is by copying this format because it will inspire people to not just feel an emotion, but to take action. All by simply understanding the basics of human subconscious processes.

A statistic I found interesting:

80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls whereas 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call. (Hubspot)

A question for you:

What part of your sales process do you feel could be improved?

Did you enjoy reading the above?

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