COVID-19 has affected all global industries, but none more so than the travel sector. Travel has become a hugely popular industry vertical over the past 5 years, and one that has come to gradually replace the traditional travel agent.
With many of us keen to book our next break in the sun, we’re asking how influencer marketing can play a role in a global travel comeback in 2021.
2020 will be remembered as the year travel was put on hold globally, and this has meant many travel content creators have had to drastically adjust their content. Even in October, the number of worldwide scheduled flights was down by 46.4%, compared to last year.
Because of the global situation, there remains a psychological barrier associated with travelling long distances. People are anxious about the ever-changing situation from month to month, and have a higher perceived risk when it comes to travelling overseas. Jobs and finances have never been less stable, and this is discouraging people from spending their income on travel. These shifting attitudes have had devastating implications to the jobs within the sector; airline jobs were the first to be cut and will be the last to be reinstated.
Any form of ‘normal’ is a long way off, but experts are suggesting that influencer marketing can spark travel’s comeback in 2021.
It’s important to highlight that although this year’s situation has been bleak, the travel sector has bounced back from previous crises, and will bounce back from this in a similar way.
For example, the 9/11 attacks, the 2008-09 global financial crisis, and other pandemics have previously shocked the industry; but travel proved resilient. To demonstrate, passenger demand across six aviation markets recovered within seven months after the SARS outbreaks in 2003.
That being said, COVID-19 is a much more complex virus and will continue to inflict many changes within the industry. Principally, the travel sector will have to adapt to consumer requirements and safety priorities to move forward.
Flexibility will prove a key factor, as consumers seek services that provide the option to make swift amendments and cancellations. Plans are ever-changing, and any travel packages need to accommodate that;
The travel sector also has to make strides in regaining the trust of their consumer. Many people will have experienced a lack of consistency with refunds and cancellations at the start of the outbreak, as plans were hastily annulled;
Safety will become more of a priority, with people wanting to know that venues are COVID-19 safe. Travel brands will need to stress their safety procedures in their messaging, and ensure that consumers feel safe at all times; and
COVID-19 has changed consumer purchase behaviours, making peer reviews more important than ever. When it comes to travel spending, consumers will want to verify things like safety and affordability, and brands should help them make these informed choices.
A global comeback is on the cards for 2021, and content creators are likely to play a big role in this. Here’s how content creators can be used by brands and tourism boards alike to boost travel in 2021:
Creator content can play a key role in regaining consumer trust. Despite a freeze to their usual work schedule, creators have been able to dedicate time to solidify relationships with their audience, and this will be instrumental in helping consumers regain trust in the travel sector.
An authentic content creator will have used this period to guide consumers through the pandemic, offering trusted advice every step of the way. Content creators can offer positive messages, as well as reinforce social distancing guidelines in a manner that people will happily interact with.
It is also important to get audiences excited about the prospect of travel, after a long period of isolation and restrictions. People may turn to travel content as a vehicle of escapism, regardless of whether they're booking a trip now or in the future. Travel content always brings a sense of magic, and creators can help to reinforce that message.
Travel brands will work on providing content that inspires, informs and boosts morale. Content creators will help brands spread the word and help keep consumers up-to-date with travel safety procedures, in order to offer helpful safety advice when travelling for the first time since the outbreak.
To learn more about how COVID-19 has affected consumer behaviour, and how content creators can help bridge the gap between your brand and your consumer during these uncertain times, download our report, The Age Of Influence: How COVID-19 Has Propelled Brands Into The Era Of Influencer Marketing, in partnership with GlobalWebIndex.