With 2022 in motion, your team is most likely full speed ahead on new projects, campaigns, and content creation. As the COVID crisis continues to develop, macro initiatives may be well underway, but the daily communication continues to be quite a labyrinth. Namely, pivoting to changes within international travel restrictions.
The highly contagious Omicron has officially announced a variant in late November, and has since then swept the globe with alarming speed. Throughout the holidays, changes in border regulations and destination requirements have continuously shifted from country to country. As you approach your 2022 content, communicating travel requirements with clarity and timeliness will be essential to helping travelers safely map out their plans.
Authoritative Information is Essential to Building Trust
Travelers will continue to navigate a highly complex travel landscape throughout 2022. Organizations who demonstrate empathy, align with traveler values, and provide sound information can support their audience as a reliable and consistent travel partner.
Travelers are seeking organizations they can rely on. Research on trust in travel found that 46% of travelers prioritize trust as their number one value when choosing a travel provider. The study examined trust regarding COVID management, price transparency, and data privacy. In regards to COVID, only 56% of those surveyed felt the travel industry has managed COVID well, expressing concerns surrounding air filtration, social distancing, and refunds/exchanges.
Along with clearly outlining your health and safety initiatives, it’s critical to keep your guests updated with the latest travel developments and guidance. With such a quickly evolving crisis, however, even the best online sources may not always be updated in a timely manner. Technology solutions can help connect travelers with the latest alerts and advisories from around the globe, offering insights at every stage of their trip.
For example, our COVID-19 Travel Restrictions API gathers information from official sources only, such as IATA’s Timatic and government websites. International travel restrictions and requirements are displayed per country, including info on necessary forms and insurance. Smartvel’s AI performs thousands of checks daily, helping to ensure that travelers access the most up-to-date information possible, regardless of their destination.
When creating 2022 content, a cohesive brand voice is of course also very important to any content team. Smartvel’s international travel restrictions widget can be customized to match your brand’s aesthetic, ensuring that data stays on point with your other marketing initiatives. Travel requirements maps at Norwegian and LATAM Airlines reflect these personalized solutions.
International Travel Restrictions Are Changing Swiftly
Travelers face an array of considerations when trip planning, and journeying internationally brings planning to a whole new level. Requirements on tests, forms, and health insurance vary from country to country, and can change at a moment’s notice. There may be additional requirements for children, teens, and travelers from countries classified as virus variant regions.
Additionally, some countries define fully vaccinated as the completion of a single-dose vaccine or second dose of a two-dose series, while others require a booster.
It is critical, then, that you support your customers with key information on safety initiatives, travel guidelines, and booking flexibility. Whether an airline, hotel chain, tourism bureau, OTA, or other travel provider, this content should be highly visible in your marketing efforts, and the foundation from which your other content builds.
A good example of organized health content can be found on Marriott’s Commitment to Clean.
This digital resource includes information on contactless technology, extensions to loyalty programs, and philanthropic work with medical workers during the pandemic. Embedded within the page is a video illustrating cleaning protocols, along with a personal message from Bill Marriott.
Another example is tour provider Intrepid Travel’s Safe Travels Hub. Travelers can review comprehensive info on vaccine mandates, travel alerts, plus refunds and cancellations. Intrepid is a recipient of the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp, which is displayed on their travel hub, reflecting their high standard of health and safety protocols. This resource provides invaluable insights to travelers along with the backing of an authoritative organization.
Providing Travel Requirements Offers Support Throughout the Traveler Journey
Presenting international travel restrictions and guidelines in a clear and comprehensive manner is enormously valuable to a traveler. While pre-pandemic many travelers may have managed their own search engine explorations for holiday planning, now, it’s an overwhelming process.
Are these all the forms we need?
Will this info be the same in a month? A week? Tomorrow?
What if the situation changes while we’re overseas?
Offering official and highly vetted information within your content brings ease to the booking process, and can also bring efficiency to other points of the traveler journey, as well. For example, integrating global travel guidelines into bot and messaging features can help alleviate call center queues, while requirements checklists can bring a more seamless experience to boarding.
Travel requirements can also prove a precious resource to your own team! Marketing and creative teams across the industry have certainly learned the value of flexibility with content planning during the last two years. As changes occur with international travel restrictions and guidelines, this data can help inform and inspire your email marketing initiatives, destination guides, and social media content.
International Travel Insights: Critical for 2022 Content
For many travelers, international travel is on pause until the environment is more secure. Recent insights from Deloitte reveal that only 40% of UK and 48% of US travelers feel safe on an airplane. And for both groups, some of the most important values in booking leisure holidays are destinations close to home that can be booked last minute and allow for social distancing. Recent weeks have also shown severe Omicron surges and thousands of flight cancellations, which can be expected to greatly impact international travel in the coming months.
However, the importance of highlighting international travel requirements remains the same. As we mentioned in our future of travel blog, travelers have their sights set on epic holidays down the road, including world wonders and dream destinations. Though there are many challenges ahead, with over 9 billion vaccine doses currently administered worldwide, and encouraging data from booster research, travelers can set sights on a brighter horizon. Presenting international travel information now builds confidence in your travel community that when it’s safe to travel again, you’re an organization that can be trusted.
As the world braces for winter COVID challenges, international travel restrictions are expected to be in flux at lightning speed. Providing authoritative data to your travelers will be key to guarding public health, alleviating distress with trip planning, and strengthening trust within your travel community.
For more insights, check out our travel trends for 2022 blog.
by Jessie G