Trust is key in any relationship and it’s no different between brands and consumers.
When customers invest money into a brand and have a positive experience time and time again trust slowly starts to build. Those consumers that have true confidence in a brand are also likely to stay loyal to the products and services on offer, becoming an advocate and recommending the brand to friends and family. This is key for creating awareness and supporting your business’ bottom line.
It takes years to build consumer trust in a brand or business, yet seconds to break it, as we’ve seen during the coronavirus crisis.
During the COVID-19 pandemic confidence and trust in the travel industry has taken a huge hit, with a range of issues facing consumers – from the worry of the virus itself, to refund delays, cancelled flights and several brands declaring major redundancies and potential collapse. These uncertainties have understandably made travellers nervous to book holidays and flights. So what have our favourite travel brands been doing to restore consumer trust and confidence?
Easy Jet, known for providing ‘more value for less’, hasn’t strayed too far from its company ethos with its latest campaign, Europen, which is helping travellers fly and book with confidence with mega deals across Europe. Offering hundreds of cheap European flights available from as little as £20.99, the brand has opted to slash prices so consumers can get their 2020 holiday fix for less – eliminating any financial worries the consumer may have.
The brand is also reassuring consumers with new measures in place including no fees to change flights up to 2 weeks before travel, with the aim of easing Brits concerns when it comes to changing government restrictions or travel bans.
Friendly family deals
Famous for its ‘friendly low fares’, Jet2 didn’t disappoint with its latest campaign – Summer Saved, offering great deals, low prices and free child places for travellers desperate to get away post lockdown. However, the day after the campaign launched the UK government enforced a non essential travel ban for Brits heading to Spain and imposed stricter quarantine rules on their return, inevitably hitting the brand hard as they grappled to recover.
In the last few weeks the firm has come under fire for cancelling flights and holidays, whilst encouraging Brits abroad to reschedule flights and come home earlier than planned. The latest reports will no doubt have seen a significant impact on consumers’ trust and confidence in the brand.
Bold brand ambassadors
Wizz Air, the Eastern European budget airline, took a completely different approach to restore consumers’ confidence and trust in order to encourage bookings post lockdown. The airline appointed a new brand ambassador, reality star, Gemma Collins to showcase the airline’s new COVID-19 safety measures and launch its new destinations including Alicante, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Malaga and Mallorca.
The news, which saw The GC’s image reimagined on the brand’s fleet of planes, hit the headlines immediately and was also seen by her 1.2 million strong social media following – a great tactic to get millennials back on board.
New passenger policies
Dubai-based airline, Emirates went a step further to reassure nervous travellers in a bid to regain their trust, by introducing its ‘Free COVID-19 Cover’ – a policy which provides customers with global cover for COVID-19 health expenses and quarantine costs, should they need them.
Helping consumers travel with peace of mind, Emirates is the first airline to launch such an initiative, which vows to support any customers to cover medical treatment, hotel quarantine costs and even funeral costs if they catch coronavirus whilst travelling with the airline and the worst should happen. This campaign caused controversy as national headlines focused on the COVID-19 funeral cover, with many consumers feeling the scheme served as a reminder of the ever increasing death toll of the pandemic.
Many travel brands and airlines are making their prices as competitive as possible to tempt consumers back on board, whilst illustrating stringent safety measures and new COVID-19 policies to reassure any nervous travellers. Whilst this approach may help to kick start the industry, it will take time for brands to regain consumers’ trust and loyalty long term.
What consumers want
Ultimately, many consumers might choose to wait for a longer period of time before making travel decisions with external factors, such as the economy and employment playing a bigger role in these decisions than normal.
Consumers that are ready to travel again are looking for brands promoting customer safety as their top priority. Companies across the industry need to showcase any health and safety measures they’ve adopted that are in line with government guidelines or where possible go above and beyond to help reassure customers.
In turn, these positive experiences will be showcased via customer reviews or through word of mouth recommendations, slowly but surely building confidence and restoring trust.
Having worked with several high profile clients across the travel industry, Jam_ is well versed in creating and implementing brand strategies in the sector. Take a look at our work across the industry.
If your travel brand needs support to restore consumer confidence or trust, get in touch via the form below and we’ll be in contact.