Coronavirus – How Travel Businesses can Limit the Damage

11.03.20

Coronavirus - How Travel Businesses can Limit the Damage

The recent Novel Coronavirus outbreak is causing much disruption amongst the travel industry, and as a result new challenges are being presented daily to businesses operating in this sector. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is continuing to advise against all travel to Hubei Province, as well as the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea. In addition it recommends against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China with Italy most recently being added to the list.

Meanwhile with thousands of flights being cancelled, many airlines are struggling to cope with the slump in demand. Recent key updates include:

Impacting Business and Leisure Travel

It’s not just the airlines who are being hit hard. The cancellation of business travel as well as holidays is wreaking havoc on the economy. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) “Doing Business Under Coronavirus” conference joins a growing list of cancelled or postponed events including the BNP Paribas Open, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Along with nine major tech conferences including Google I/O, Facebook’s F8 event, and ITB in Berlin. So far $480 million has been the biggest loss from the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, which was supposed to host more than 100,000 attendees.

Coronvirus - How Travel Business Can Limit The Damage

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Announces Additional Enhanced Screening Measures

From air to land to sea, in a bid to enforce its commitment to the health and safety of guests CLIA’s ocean-going member cruise lines are to deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in South Korea, Iran, China and Italy within 14 days prior to embarkation. Additionally, illness screening must be carried out for all who have travelled via airports in any destinations listed on the U.S. CDC “Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel” page. New strict temperature screening policies have been actioned, as well as pre-boarding screening and the provision of initial medical support where needed.

How to Best Manage your Communications, Reduce Risk of Customer Loss, and Minimise Financial Damage

The travel industry is suffering its worst crisis in over 18 years, with cruise and hotel stocks declining and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting a worldwide revenue loss of up to 20%. And while CLIA are taking appropriate measures to communicate key crisis information to its member cruiselines, it’s crucial you, as a travel company, take ownership and ensure the necessary information is sent to your customers. Personalisation has never been more important at a time like this, where any changes or updates to travel must be specific to whom you’re informing. Your communications must be relevant, informative, and timely, in order to minimise the risk of further upset for those who already have to deal with the stress of cancellations - and limit the financial impact this may have on your business.

The Importance of Accurate Information that’s Sensitive in Nature

To avoid misinforming customers, travel companies across the board must focus on providing accurate information that’s educational as it is calming, about any disruptions and how to stay safe when travelling.

Many tour operators are advising customers due to travel on an affected route, to keep up to date with the latest information from their travel company or airline. And to contact their airline, travel company, port authorities or local health authorities for further information – so it’s imperative that you stay up to date and keep your communications factual. Additionally advice such as that provided on the NHS website offers your customers helpful information such as how Novel Coronavirus is spread, the symptoms, and how to avoid catching and spreading germs.

By creating highly personalised, informative communications that engage with each customer on an individual level, most importantly you can keep your customers safe. You can also help improve their experience by reducing frustration and consequently avoiding bad publicity, ultimately better protecting your brand reputation.

Want to put your customer’s health and safety first and minimise the risk of reputational damage, by rapidly delivering the essential information they need? Get in touch with us today to find out about CrisisComms, our communications platform built for your most challenging crisis communications needs.

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