For Agents, It’s All About The Connection

GlobalData says that travel agents who maintain an emotional connection with consumers through the pandemic will emerge stronger post COVID-19.

The data and analytics company points out that travel brands hold an emotional attachment with their consumers but those that can introduce simple initiatives to maintain a connection with their customers throughout this global pandemic have a higher chance in retaining customer loyalty.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel & tourism analyst at GlobalData, observes that: “Post COVID-19, the competitive landscape will be even more challenging. Travel agencies that operate through a multi-branded strategy are already at a strategic advantage as they are likely to encounter quicker financial recovery due to servicing a wide market base.”

Bonhill-Smith pointed to Flight Centre Travel Group as an example, operating its  “flagship leisure brand alongside services for niche sectors such as mass, youth, premium cruises and corporate travel services for organizations.”

She pointed out that the travel group released a travel inspiration video named ‘Open up the World’.

The short clip aimed to inspire travellers generating wanderlust and to reassure consumers that agents were still working from home to aid queries. A later announcement between March 15 and April 7 saw browsing time increase by 91.62% compared to 2019, highlighting how a simple action can gather additional traction.

Said Bonhill-Smith: “Smaller, independent agencies are naturally at greater risk of collapse and yet it all depends on the company response to this exogenous event of COVID-19. Intrepid Travel set an example by releasing an initiative named ‘#BeTogether’ where travellers, agents and hosts alike are encouraged to write a letter reminiscing on a previous travel experience, which is then in turn published across the company’s social media channels.”

Simple initiatives such as those explored by both Flight Centre Travel Group and Intrepid Travel will help organizations form a deeper relationship with their existing consumers while captivating the interest of many others.

And Bonhill-Smith concludes: “In light of the current situation, the prospect of identifying a new market opportunity will seem ludicrous to many as all companies simply strive for survival over the next few months. Yet this is now the time for strategic evaluation, where any opportunity for increasing brand recognition should ultimately, be a key priority.”

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