The tourism industry suffered hard when the pandemic hit. COVID-19 and its restrictions closed borders, virtually ending travel across the globe. However, travel bans are lifting and travelers are regaining confidence. As a result, tourism is poised to make a spectacular recovery. Thus, brand loyalty will be critical. To emerge strong after this big sleep, the hospitality sector will need to take action. Now’s the time to remind customers of the integrity, service, and experiences that make their brands special. Customers are on the go! Therefore, leveraging brand loyalty in tourism will be the heart of success.
Restoring Brand Loyalty in Tourism After COVID-19
For most people, it’s been a long time since they’ve boarded a plane or even made dinner/hotel reservations. Travel is back, though, and travelers are ready to shake off their cabin fever! To get ahead of COVID-19, some businesses reacted early on and issued vouchers that people could redeem when restrictions eased. Businesses who followed this strategy retained some revenue by avoiding a full refund. In addition, these companies very likely secured the good will of a future traveler. That said, while a voucher is a solid way to bring back a customer, other strategies exist to win audience loyalty. For example, now that restaurants can open dining rooms, some are adding a gift card or percentage off the next visit to get customers in the door again.
Reassure Travelers About Hygiene & Safety
When it comes to brand loyalty, consumer confidence is everything. What travelers want to feel confident about right now is hygiene and safety. In-room collateral, including printed information on stringent cleaning schedules—and even a branded bottle of hand sanitizer—do much to reassure guests upon arrival. In addition, hospitality businesses can be proactive before guests leave home. For example, a pre-visit postcard, message, or email can:
· Apprise the guest of the cleaning and safety protocols that have been implemented
· Remind guests or travelers of how to access customer service teams if they have any questions
· Update customers on COVID-19 related adjustments or changes. Also, reassure guests of the company’s commitment to health and safety
Customers will return to the companies in the tourism industry that make sure their audience feels at ease.
Direct Mail: Meeting Travelers Where They Are
Digital presence is vital to the tourism industry. That said, the road to brand loyalty is traveled offline and well as online. According to Travel Weekly, print marketing is as relevant as ever. One example is the travel brochure. Brochures remain popular with older and younger travelers alike. Most customers use digital content to research things like pricing and schedules. However, print formats— including branded postcards and brochures—fill a different niche: inspiration. A beautiful brochure showcases the best features of a business, and is a thing to dream on. It is, as well, an actual thing to hold onto.
Other printed materials can keep tourism brands top of mind, too. A printed map with a QR code combines virtual and in-person experience. A branded map may highlight local attractions, while the QR code links to a digital tour of a hotel, resort, or restaurant. No matter how a business chooses to show up in a customer’s mailbox, the result is deeper brand loyalty in tourism.
Brand Loyalty Pays Off in Brand Advocacy
An efficient—and modern—strategy for gaining new customers is to let your loyal customers spread the word. Thanks to social media, satisfied customers have all the tools to share a good experience or product. (And often do!) As a result of the pandemic, influencers who blog and share about tourism had as rough a go of it as the industry at large. Now they, too, are ready for a rebound. Reach out with some gratitude after an event or visit to inspire your best audience to share widely. Thank you gifts can include:
· A beautifully packaged and branded mint or candy
· Calendar of upcoming events
· Discount codes or vouchers for a future experience
CCG Marketing Solutions offers full-service marketing support, including large format, offset, and digital printing. We excel at direct mail with variable data capabilities. We’ve got the tools your business needs to keep your brand at the front of the queue. Get in touch to learn more.