Travel firms urged to focus on client needs and personalised approach

Travel firms should focus on “hyper personalisation and individual client needs” to entice consumers back to booking holidays. 

Luxury tour operator Scott Dunn is showcasing hideaway holidays in its marketing, but rather than “forcing destinations and product down people’s throats”, the operator said it was focussed on ramping up personalisation.

Simon Lynch, the operator’s sales director said his brand was “in listening mode” and was adapting its approach to suit individual clients.

Speaking on the latest Experientialist Live webinar from OutThere, Lynch said all brands need to work on how they reassurance clients and provide flexibility to cater to their needs.

He encouraged all travel brands to be “on the front foot”, highlighting that all firms would ultimately be vying for a “bigger share of the pie” from what would be a smaller travel market. 

“We have some people that are excited about getting back on a plane and we are facilitating that and we have other people who are quite reticent and nervous and rightly nervous so we are trying to give them more flexibility too.

“It’s about personalisation for what individual guests are looking for from the future of travel and we are really trying to adapt and personalise our approach with that.

“We are talking a lot about hideaways at the moment. Properties with private entries or private villas –dialling that right up because that’s what people want to know about. 

“And we are also trying to move away from trends and predicting trends - the ‘what’s hot for 2020’ and such - we’re not talking about that kind of thing. We’re talking about ‘you’ as the guest and what you want. What do you want? How do you want to personalise your trip? How do you wish to travel?

“We aren’t trying to force products or destinations down people’s throats but instead we’re asking guests to tell us what they want and how they want to travel. We are trying to be in listening mode.”

He said the brand was seeing bookings coming in for Indian Ocean, African safaris and staycations in the UK and Ireland. He said there was clearly “optimism and eagerness to travel” but that it wasn’t immediate, with the vast majority of bookings being for Christmas this year and into 2021. 

Richard Liddle, of family travel brand Two Point Four, said he believed clients would require more transparency and will want to understand the protocols companies and suppliers have in place. 

He said: “Misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge is one of the biggest challenge people are facing, and I don’t think people will accept that moving forward. People will want to know very clearly what are [businesses] are going to do in different situations, what protocols they have in place and what are the terms and conditions are. It’s finding a way to communicate those things better and transparency is important too.”

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