Maintaining emotional connections with clients is key, says GlobalData

TORONTO — It’s an emotional time right now but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says a new report from GlobalData.

According to the data and analytics company, travel brands hold an emotional attachment with their consumers but those that can maintain this connection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have a higher chance in retaining customer loyalty.

“Post COVID-19, the competitive landscape will be even more challenging,” says Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism analyst at GlobalData. “Travel agencies that operate through a multi-branded strategy are already at a strategic advantage as they are likely to encounter quicker financial recovery due to servicing a wide market base.”

Bonhill-Smith provides Flight Centre Travel Group as a leading example. It recently released a travel inspiration video named ‘Open up the World’ aimed at generating wanderlust and reassuring clients that agents were still working from home to aid queries. A later announcement between March 15 and April 7 saw browsing time increase by 91.62% compared to 2019, highlighting how a simple action can gather additional traction.

Another good example was set by Intrepid Travel, which released an initiative called #BeTogether. The campaign encouraged travellers and travel agents to write a letter reminiscing on a previous travel experience, which are then in turn published across the company’s social media channels.

Simple initiatives such as these, adds Bonhill-Smith, will help organizations form a deeper relationship with their clients while captivating the interest of many others.

“Smaller, independent agencies are naturally at greater risk of collapse and yet it all depends on the company response to this exogenous event of COVID-19,” she says. “In light of the current situation, the prospect of identifying a new market opportunity will seem ludicrous to many as all companies simply strive for survival over the next few months. Yet this is now the time for strategic evaluation, where any opportunity for increasing brand recognition should ultimately be a key priority.”

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