While many companies in the global tourism industry are focusing all of their financial resources on battling the threats they face from COVID-19, GlobalData says that they still need to stay relevant and social media is a relatively cheap way to promote.
The data and analytics company points out, in its “Impact of COVID-19 on the global cruise industry,” that 70% of Brazilians are now spending more time browsing social media when compared to pre-COVID-19 outbreak figures, with an enormous 34% saying they spend all day using social media.
Meanwhile, a considerable number of US citizens (44%) are now using social media more than before the coronavirus pandemic.
Ben Cordwell, travel & tourism analyst at GlobalData, points out that: “This presents tourism companies with a big opportunity to target customers in the Americas by promoting through advertisements on the social platforms.”
Facebook, YouTube and Instagram allow the companies to advertise and this is something that the companies need to take advantage of.
As Cordwell sees it: “Using celebrities to help endorse brands and advertise them is another key way tourism companies can use social media to further enhance their brand image that may have been damaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
TUI Cuts Signal Change Coming
GlobalData also commented on recent moves by TUI – which reported a group loss of €740.5m (US$802m) in its Q2 results and that 8,000 potential job roles are now at risk.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel & tourism analyst at GlobalData, observed that: “Potential job cuts have without doubt been spurred by COVID-19 as losses have soared. However, these cuts are part of a wider operation to streamline and digitize operations.”
Bonhill-Smith continued: “TUI’s headcount has already decreased by 11%. The global realignment program aims to reduce the company’s cost base by 30% for the group.”
She noted that: “In a global survey by GlobalData, 48% of travelers are spending more time, if not every day, browsing social media. After a long period of increased browsing time, post-pandemic this will likely influence travellers to book online independently, rivaling the traditional in-store agency model.
And Bonhill-Smith continued: “Operators with high fixed costs such as in-store agents where rent has to be paid are already at a disadvantage in comparison to online travel agents. The future travel space may see TUI take a move to digitize operations moving gradually further away from the traditional travel agent to cut costs, but also effectively service the needs of the future traveller.”