The eco and vegan tourist and travel industry: this summer and beyond
If there is one sector that has been hardly hit by the Covid-19 crisis, it’s definitely the tourism sector, and everyone who depends on it (I have a special thought for some of my translation colleagues, specialised in the travel/tourism sector).
Like most businesses, companies in the tourism industry need to adapt to the current situation and prepare for what is yet to come.
This summer: domestic travel
At the time this article is written, not all countries have reopened their boarders, or with restrictions (some have opened them but ask to quarantine).
So right now is the time to concentrate on domestic travel.
Indeed, people won’t stop travelling: they need to breath after this lockdown. What will they be looking for?
First, your clients will want to reconnect with themselves and with nature, without travelling too far from home. What about rearranging your usual offer and focusing on nature-oriented lodgings and activities?
People will also need to reconnect with their relatives: there will be an increased demand for the renting of properties, where they can go on holidays with their family or friends. Kudos if their 4-leg companions are allowed! Plus, it will remove the worry of contamination that some of them may have: indeed, they are among themselves and can, if they wish, not to be in contact at all with outsiders.
Talking about contamination, hygiene will be the main concern for your customers. Make it a selling point! Highlight all that is being done to ensure their security: what health, hygiene and safety measures have you taken? Can your collaborators ensure they comply with official authorities’ recommendations? Clearly state what is being done, in order to reassure your clients.
Customers’ current needs
This summer, there are two priorities: being in contact with nature and feeling safe.
For some people, this lockdown has been an eye-opener on some issues, such as sustainability. They will be asking: will my travel be carbon-neutral, or at least low-carbon? Will the place I rent have a compost bin, recycling bins? If I go to a hotel, will there be refilling bottles of soap, instead of sample ones? And at the restaurants, will they offer local, organic meals? All of these aspects will more than ever be taken into account.
Transparency is another aspect to consider. It will be two-fold: transparency about hygiene-related measures that are being taken, and transparency about the buying conditions. People will fear a second wave, so clearly state what you mean to do in this case (for instance, offer to reschedule, a refunding, or give a voucher they could use whenever they would like). The important part is to be clear and make it easy for the client, because people tend not to spend money if they are not sure what to expect.
Your clients will travel locally, and will want to enjoy local experiences. They will expect to discover new places, new activities, the local culture, maybe even a new way of life (city-dwellers will certainly like to take it slow!). Anticipate by either offering these kind of experiences, or redirect them to local businesses that could meet their needs.
Changes of perspective
Some clients will want to go on holidays in groups. Remember that families have been separated for months, so there will be an increasing demand for intergenerational holidays. They will be looking for privacy, in order to reconnect to one another.
Personalisation was a trend already in demand before the Covid-19 crisis, and not only in the travel and tourist industry. How can you personalise your offering in order to meet your clients’ expectations? That is up to you to say, according to your current offering.
My personal piece of advice would be the obvious – but sometimes overlooked – one: ask your current clients. Do you have a newsletter your usually communicate with? Send one of those, asking your current customers to take a quick poll and see what they are waiting for. Are you active on social media? Why not leverage your presence to talk to your pool of current (and maybe future) clients?
Communication has always been a key to success, for all types of businesses, and now more than ever.
To reassure your clients, you will need to communicate clearly about the implemented health and hygiene measures. You will also need to give them information about the place they intend to spend their holidays in: the local businesses they can go to and have their expectations met (eco-conscious, organic, sustainable, vegan...), the activities available, especially nature-related (hiking, cycling), but also culture-oriented.
If you are an international company with touching points in several countries, do not forget to communicate in all countries, with the local citizens. Indeed, as we said above, you need to speak with your clients but, according to the country they live in, you may need to arrange your offer and your communication. You can ask your translator [lien vers formulaire] to localize your content for the country involved.
What will the future look like for the travel and tourism sector?
A trend I have recently learned about is the fusion of work and travel. Indeed, during the lockdown, people who used to go to the office every day had to work from home. Some companies have understood that even if there are not in the same room, employees can still do their work, and sometimes even more efficiently. According to the latest report from Ademe (the French agency for ecological transition), the majority of French employees who had to work from home enjoyed it, because it made it easier for them to manage their stress and to be more focused. As a result, some of your clients may need to go to a place for a longer period of time, which will be split between home working and leisure. If you see a growing need in this kind of service, you may review your current offers and check which one would particularly suit this type of clients. You can for instance take inspiration from FairBnB’s offering. I am sure some people would indeed like an office with a view on the ocean, for instance!
Searchers are currently looking into the use of artificial UV-C light, which is known for its antibacterial properties, to inactivate the Covid-19 virus on surfaces. Research is also being carried out on deep UV-C, which could kill viruses directly in the air. If these hypotheses reveal true and technologies are created, it could enter in public places as well as in hotels, restaurants and cafés. These measures would reassure tourists, so make sure to stay in the loop and adopt them when they are available.
To sum up
The key points for you will be to succeed in making your customers feel secure, enjoy themselves (they need it, particularly after this lockdown), reconnect with one another and with Mother Nature, and feel like they are in a one-of-kind holiday thanks to personalisation. Be agile with your offer, listen to your customers, and you will hold all the cards to give your tourism and travel business a second wind.
- The webinar “The Power of Luxury Conscious Travel” by Positive Luxury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFDiSt5pP5M&feature=youtu.be
- https://www.vestilanatura.it/viaggi-sostenibili/ (in Italian)