With the covid-19 pandemic, the travel industry has been made to cope with concerns regarding travel restrictions and minimizing human contact. But even in the mid of this uncertainty, the industry has to plan how it will adjust to the new norm post-pandemic. One way to achieve this is by understanding fluctuations in consumer behaviour during the pandemic as well as observe which of the emerging habits and taste are likely to become long-lasting. This article strives to help travel businesses understand the new normal. It focuses on certain client segments and their behaviour with the main aim of designing strategies that will help cope with the effect that coronavirus has presented. It also remains air travel post-pandemic.
Client segments to watch
The client segment that is most reassuring to the travel industry is the Habitual Holidaymakers. These persons seem not so much concerned about budget or too worried about safety, instead, they are still spending on travel and holiday. To retain this client segment travel companies can still apply previous incentives and strategies, and only enhance them by focusing on new destinations.
Another client segment is newly nervous. It is a segment that is less reassuring. They are worried about flying and long haul trips. They prefer short or domestic destinations. To retain this segment travel companies have to go the extra mile and restore confidence, by ensuring they adhere to strict covid-19 preventive measures.
The summer sabbatical is another client cluster that travel companies should pay attention to. These are previous clients that have stopped travelling. This segment accounts for about 50% of the revenue of these companies and thus the companies need to support the segment and reassure it of safer trips.
The temporary tourist client segment shows no long-term business potential. These are one-hit wonders who also are a source of revenue to travel companies. They show few signs of returning. For this client segment, travel companies should not invest too much effort or time on them, especially if this averts campaigns from other segments. Instead, it would be more worthwhile to spend time and effort in the new five-star friend’s segment, which is characterised by a relatively high spending rate and have better chances of being converted from chance visitors to longer prospects. Some motivations that can help encourage this segment to travel include ongoing communication and loyalty programs.
The Expected excursionist is a segment that includes new clients who exhibit some pre-pandemic behaviours. Traditional client retention tactics can be applied to nurture this segment. The reunions is the final segment, and comprise of reactivated clients that had lapsed but then returned to travelling. Rewards would renew this client’s loyalty.
Air travel post-pandemic
The chaotic and dire situation brought by the covid-19 pandemic also led to a global disruption of air travel. Though negative, this offers a new opportunity of having a new perspective of the practices and procedures carried out by airlines. The key to post-pandemic will be ensuring a contactless journey. This will include;
Biometric identity management
This will include a single-token passenger passage from check to gate. For instance, already some airports have started to deploy self-pass which is a passenger processing biometric solution. Self-pass uses facial scans and quickly matches the scans to facial images of passports in identity databases. The system allows passengers to enrol once, after which they no longer require to present documents anywhere throughout the travel route. The face is used to identify individuals and thus there will be no need to interact with the airline or airport agents, boarding passes, driver license, passports or transferring paper tickets.
Other self-service systems that airports are utilizing include the Collins Self Drop which is an automatic luggage drop that makes it possible for passengers to tag and process their luggage which reduces the need for human interactions. Such systems will be very helpful in reducing queues and groups of people congregating at checkpoints. Other technologies that will help speed up the process of boarding include self-boarding gates, which will also help reduce congestion, contact and lines with gate agents.
Other low cost and short term solutions.
In addition to the huge investments that airports have made in biometric and other technologies, they can also add another protection layer for their passengers. This includes health screening such as temperature checks among other health sensors which will help identify potential ill passengers who may need extra medical checks before flying.
In conclusion, the travel industry has been one of the industries that have been mostly hit by coronavirus pandemic. For travel industries to survive post-pandemic, they will be required to understand their client segments and adjust accordingly. The flight industry will on the other hand be required to put in place measures that reduce queues and contact. This article has covered both how the travel and flight industry needs to adjust. On the other hand, travellers need also to take appropriate measures among them to find reliable travel companies. Review sites such as the UK collected reviews can help out.