Sounding Off: Changing the message to nudge consumers back to travel

Doug Lansky, destination management specialist

“People that have flown feel like it is quite a fearful experience so we need to figure out how to make it less like going through an apocalypse.”

Quote from Doug Lansky, destination management specialist, in an article on PhocusWire this week on initiatives to get travel going.

Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.

Many would argue that the industry has made a start – just in keeping going in the most adverse circumstances.

That is true, but are there other areas the industry could address that would make a difference?

This isn’t a “can do better” school report card; it’s a growing consensus from various quarters that we have to live with the virus, we don’t know for how long and as Lansky says, “we need to get going.”

He makes some valid points. If those that are prepared to fly are returning with tales of how anxious they felt, what does that do to the rest of us?

Many studies over the years have measured anxiety and stress levels as passengers move through airports. If you factor in the pandemic, those emotions will be off the scale.

Accenture has been running a global consumer behavior study over the course the pandemic. Back in mid-June, it found that 47% were uncomfortable with taking a flight in the next two months.

That is unlikely to have shifted, in a good way, by more than a few percentage points today.

And, when asked what initiatives would encourage travelers to get back to land, sea and air, the top three responses included a government-certified health and safety program and a branded health and safety program.

So perhaps there are things that can be done now that help consumers calculate the risk compared to the things they do in everyday life.

Lansky suggests branding experts could be one way forward. 

Surely another has to be in collaboration like never before. Numerous industry organizations have made repeated calls on governments to implement a standard approach in areas such as quarantining and testing protocols.

A standard message would also help at a time when consumers are clearly seeking coordinated and consistent leadership. 

The caveat in all this is to protect the vulnerable but we’re learning how to do this as we go about our new and different lives.

PhocusWire’s regular editorials

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