Trust, the New Currency of Travel
By Amanda Hills Balfour.
Travel & Tourism is a sector which touches everyone. It has the power to build communities and the progressive social impact to improve everyday lives. Travel is in MMGY Hills Balfour’s DNA and, for Brits in particular, holidays are nearly sacrosanct. The current global mood is one of cautious optimism. In the media, inspirational features continue to run with travel editors and industry experts predicting that international travel will return – at speed – in mid- to late 2020. Search engines are showing that consumers are looking for safety and security as they consider where and when to travel next. Considering the increasingly complex and unpredictable landscape, the exemplary way in which many countries have handled the COVID-19 outbreak will see consumers looking at destinations through a new lens of protection. As a sector, we must harness this unique moment to build credibility with our audiences through the power of influential third-party voices, in addition to our own. Trust, as they say, is the new currency of travel.
Right now, getting people travelling, and importantly booking, is critical to the future success of Travel & Tourism. Whilst the UK and other destinations around the world start turning the key and unlocking doors, we, as evangelists of brand stewardship, must continue to provide a beacon of hope for brighter days ahead. Tourism is uniquely exposed right now, but the tide is turning. Our strategies need to drive demand, turning the spark of travel into a flame, enabling the industry to recover faster. Timing is everything, and in this moment, it is of the utmost importance that we do all we can to drive action and build momentum. After weeks of isolation and being starved of face-to-face connection, it is time to pivot from inspiration to invitation.
Travel, as it always has been, will be the antidote for the everyday fatigue felt by many during the pandemic. As we enter a ‘new normal’, consumers will place greater importance on things such as community, health and happiness. As attitudes towards travel transcend from caution to consideration, we must build consumer confidence by focusing on welcome. Tourism has proven time and time again that it is an agile industry, and we must be more nimble than ever before to identify and leverage the new travel opportunities that a post-COVID-19 world will bring.
We all have an extraordinary opportunity over the coming weeks and months to showcase the economic and social impact that Travel & Tourism has on local communities, working together to build a sustainable future. The coordinated rolling out of new protocols will be a key part of this mission. Trust will be the currency of our ‘new normal’. As we continue on the road to recovery, credible communications, serving up inspiration alongside information, will be the vehicle to earn such trust.