Despite the coronavirus crisis wiping out 35% of global airline capacity – some 37 million seats – in the last 10 weeks, it’s not all doom and gloom for the travel industry right now.
In fact, new research shows 58% of people are already making plans to travel between May and September – providing their destination is no longer in quarantine.
With such pent-up demand set to be released over the coming months, airlines that identify and embrace the trends set to drive customer behaviour in the crucial period following the recovery from the crisis will be first to thrive again.
As soon as you’re in a position to start planning your airline’s recovery from the coronavirus, we recommend prioritising:
Going off the beaten track
While travellers are desperate to book their next break, plans are generally being reined in. Research shows a quarter of people will try to avoid big cities when they travel again and many will focus on shorter trips. Meanwhile, 51% of travellers are keen to swap popular destinations for less-known, but similar, alternatives. Therefore, it’s worth looking into offering new and exciting routes off the beaten track as your customers will value quieter, isolated adventures with less human contact.
People around the world are obsessively reaching for their hand sanitizer and while this will decline once the coronavirus outbreak begins to weaken, a new sense of personal hygiene and health has been awoken. Travel providers that create experiences, journeys and spaces that are underpinned by health-boosting features will find a new and large audience awaiting them.
Passengers caught up in travel disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak will remember how they felt during this time. Did their airline communicate effectively and provide all the information and advice they needed? Or were they left to find out for themselves and forced to wait in queues to speak to call centre agents? 55% of passengers say receiving notifications direct to their personal device is their top priority during disruption, so airlines with a proven track record of delivering this will retain custom and be the first choice for many travellers looking to book when life returns to normal. The airlines that remain front of mind with regular communication, even while planes are grounded, will reap the rewards as soon as passengers are ready to start travelling again.
Sharing your green credentials
With 87% of travellers expressing a desire for their trips to be sustainable, outlining your green credentials has never been more important. What’s more, 67% of customers are willing to spend more on their travel if they are sure it has the lowest possible impact on the environment. With the flight shame phenomenon continuing to grow, it’s time to find a way to tell your customers what you’re doing to 'go green'.
A new wave of demand for automated commerce is being created and enabled by the current coronavirus crisis. People expect not only to be able to order and pay via their personal device, they also want AI and other technology to predict exactly what they want, when they want it. Travel companies that are able to truly personalise their offering with highly targeted ancillary promotions and communications are those that stand to gain the most once passenger numbers start to increase again.
To find out how you can keep your brand front of mind and boost bookings when the coronavirus crisis is over, get in touch with our in-house communications experts today.