21 July 2020 | Blog
Going the extra mile: Preparing your passengers for travel post-Brexit
On 31 December 2020 the United Kingdom will officially leave the European Union (EU), so from 1 January 2021 there will be some important changes to travel that your passengers will need to know about.
According to the UK government website, your passengers need to be aware of the following:
Passengers’ passports will need to be valid for at least six months on the date of travel, and be less than 10 years old.
European Health Insurance Cards will only be valid up to 31 December 2020. This card covered pre-existing medical conditions, while some travel insurance does not, so passengers will need to be aware of this.
It is not clear yet what is needed, but it’s suggested travellers may need an international driving permit to hire a car, and a “green card”, proof of insurance and GB sticker if driving their own car.
Consumer rights will not change, so if travel is cancelled or delayed, passengers will still be protected by EU261 and will be able to claim compensation as they can now.
Existing pet passports will not be valid and owners that wish to travel with their pets will need to follow a new process that takes four months.
Visas will not be necessary for tourists taking trips of up to 90 days inside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Visas may be required for longer stays and business travel.
At border control, travellers may have to show a return or onward ticket and prove they have enough money for their stay. They will also have to join a separate queue to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.
Guaranteed mobile phone roaming will end and travellers will need to check roaming charges with their phone operators.
Extra requirements for business travellers
Each country may have different entry requirements and these can be checked here.
If passengers are travelling to provide services, such as legal services, their qualifications may not be recognised in the EU. They can be checked here.
If your passenger will be earning money in the EU, they will need to tell HMRC and check whether they need to pay social security contributions in the country they’re working in.
An employer may need indemnity insurance for their employees on business abroad.
Goods being taken into the EU may require documentation, which can be checked here.
What does this mean for you?
While it’s not technically your responsibility to keep your passengers informed of these changes, it will play a huge part in enhancing the passenger experience, which in turn will have a big impact on customer loyalty in the long run.
According to research by PwC,
“Speed, convenience, helpful employees, and friendly service matter most to over 70% of consumers. Companies that get it right prioritize technologies that foster or provide these benefits over adopting technology for the sake of being cutting edge.”
The key here is doing the right thing and being helpful for the good of your passengers. Keeping them informed and empowered will keep them from calling your contact centre for support, voicing their concerns with their friends, families and social networks, and potentially losing their custom for good.
How should you keep your customers informed?
For some of the requirements above passengers will need to be aware well in advance, in which case telling them for the first time in your pre-departure communications will be too late and your reputation will suffer.
As this information is the difference between your passengers being able to travel or not, it does make sense to proactively keep them up to date through a single communication with no other “noise” to detract from the message.
However, companies within the 15below customer community are also using what we call “Situational Content” to promote this information consistently within all communications – from the booking confirmation and itinerary all the way through to the final pre-departure notification. The beauty of this approach is that it can be built once, signed off by legal and brand teams, and then automatically added to all relevant communications to ensure consistency and accuracy without another thought.
Hyper-personalisation through automation
Research by Salesforce shows that 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their personal needs influences their loyalty.
Travel companies that use the 15below platform are able to use hyper-personalisation to ensure passengers are getting the information they need, at exactly the right time and via the best channel. A suite of advanced filters will allow you to use information within the PNR and third-party systems, like your document checking software, to identify which information is most relevant to them. This could include (but is not limited to):
- Whether they’re travelling for business or leisure and making sure they’re aware of the additional requirements for business travel if necessary.
- If they’re carrying a pet on board.
- If they have a valid passport and visa.
- If they have hired a car via your ancillary partner.
So, while short-term ROI is not the main objective for this communication, the benefits of proactively keeping your passengers informed of these changes are huge.
If you'd like to find out more about how to use automation to keep your passengers informed and empowered about these important changes, get in touch today to speak to one of our passenger experience experts.