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The emergence of a new traveler: how to respond

“As the world faces the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector is among those being affected most severely. Travel is down, fear is up, and the future is uncertain,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Tourism can be a platform for overcoming the pandemic. By bringing people together, tourism can promote solidarity and trust – crucial ingredients in advancing the global cooperation that is so urgently needed at this time,” he added.

The essence of tourism is indeed very similar to the innate human characteristics that live within all of us. The need to connect with others, to persevere during challenging times, to discover and to trust in the greater good. For travelers, going out on an expedition of any sort provides an opportunity to reflect, reset and to reinvent. This is exactly what the industry should now do for itself.

In this new era, there is a New Traveler: one that still has all the desires that travel provides, but now with a caution radar turned on stronger than ever before. The New Traveler must be engaged in a new and profound way, addressing all the concerns and emotions they are experiencing. The abrupt pause that COVID-19 placed on the industry across the globe provides an opportunity to reassess everything we have ever known to be true because there is a new standard we cannot ignore.

So what does that mean for hotels, destinations, airlines, cruises and the entire tourism sector?

Newlink's New Traveler program is the premier reactivation track for all tourism-related businesses. Using the latest research, it guides clients through the exact journey travelers are experiencing and provides a roadmap to reach them at every stop using the correct methods, platforms, messaging and visuals.

  • Brand re-engagement: Underlining the mutual longing and finding ways to stay together while apart. Audiences are captive. They are longing for the day to escape and they are eager to plan it already. Clients must address why they should be the first option when this is all over, essentially inspiring the dream.
  • Reputation Management: Accurately and transparently addressing all the concerns that exist in this new normal. COVID-19 health and safety protocols are not an option, but a must. Does your establishment cover all the bases? Do your stakeholders know, and do they trust everything you are doing? More than walk the walk, you must talk the talk.
  • Destination Marketing: Announcing the reemergence, but now with the offerings that today’s travelers are seeking. Is there an irresistible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Are there new socially distant experiences that will provide comfort and peace of mind?  Are all the pieces in the right place?

As international borders begin to reopen and air-routes re-establish, the desire to travel is once again 'top of mind,' and wanderers are planning their first excursion. Yes, there are new barriers and demands, and the relationship between brands and travelers will be redefined. Brands utilizing innovative strategies that are aligned with the new standard of expectations, demonstrate empathy and provide value, will be able to successfully reactivate their business while generating a deeper connection with travelers.

The time is now to be ahead of the curve; it is a new opportunity for everyone.

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