Truth or Dare in Travel and Tourism: Trust – the Final Frontier
Part 3 of a Special 3-Part Series
Lies are like candies in a candy store, they come in various colors and sizes and offer different experiences. Some lies are motivated by money and greed, other lies are inspired by ego needs. Some people will lie to avoid punishment, others lie for the thrill of getting away with the falsehood, while others lie to cover up a previous lie. With all the chaos being handed down by the pandemic, in travel and tourism, trust – the final frontier – will be the leading factor for recovery.
Individuals might lie a little or a lot, based on their prediction of the outcome. In some industries lies are unfortunate (i.e., a doctor prescribes a drug in which he has a financial interest and the patient develops a serious allergic response). In other situations, lies are a distraction (i.e., corporate executives focus on firing executives to divert attention from diminishing sales). A frequent business lie is known as the One Stop Shop syndrome where a business claims to cover all your needs but offers less than stellar performance for most of them.
Ethics Resource Center
Research by the Ethics Resource Center found that industries most likely to bend the truth were hospitality and food (34 percent of employees observed falsehoods); arts, entertainment and recreation (34 percent) and wholesalers (32 percent). In the hotel, travel and tourism industry, lies are used to shade the reality of the situation. Cruise ships lie about the safety and sanitation of their vessels and passengers get sick and die from a variety of viruses. The hotel industry lies to cover up a poor location, poor ventilation from an inadequate HVAC system, or citations from the health department because of a roach-infested kitchen. The airline industry lies about the air quality onboard to cover up the reality of airborne distribution of viruses through the ventilation system and sickness caused by the pressurized cabins.
Truth or Dare explores the tourism industry with a search for the truth and offers a recommendation that, as we move into 2021, truth becomes the foundation for all business operations and an essential part of all marketing and public relations efforts.
Trust. The Final COVID-19 Frontier
Even with a new president in the White House, COVID-19 with its death and destruction, will not disappear over a glass of champagne. Even when this pandemic is tucked into the history books, other viruses are waiting in the wings.
It will take years for consumers to feel comfortable about traveling to faraway places with strange sounding names and an even greater amount of time to trust the purveyors of hotel, travel and tourism products and services.
Research by PWC.com on what consumers want from the hospitality industry found that:
1. Safety is at the top of the consumer list and they are willing to pay for it.
2. Consumers want factual information with 85 percent indicating that travel decisions hinged on communications received from hotels and airlines about safety; however, 40 percent said they were unsatisfied with the communications they are currently receiving about safety protocols.
3. Sanitization extends to parking services that will reassure guests that the hotel understands their priorities.
4. Consumers are seeking destinations that are adequately equipped with healthcare facilities. Knowing they will be around other people (which may present risks) they are wary of the transportation modality and their accommodations.
5. 43 percent of consumers are likely to spend more to confirm physical distancing on their next flight while families with children are willing to pay 60 percent more.
6. Consumers are putting their faith in brands they trust, equating brands with cleanliness.
7. In the past, price, loyalty programs, location and airline schedules carried fairly equal weight, today, brand trust is linked to confidence in safety and cleanliness and can lead to new business.
8. 75 percent of respondents said employees wearing PPE and third-party certified sanitation reviews offered them a sense of security.
9. People want to travel. It is likely that the 18-40-year-old consumers will lead the charge with 13 percent indicating they will travel more in the future then they did in 2019.
10. Destinations that are not peaking with COVID-19 19 are more likely to see new visitors – if there is adequate contact tracing and hospital capacity.
11. A vaccine is likely to inspire confidence for potential travelers; however, they are also seeking easy access to testing at their destinations.
12. Consumers want control of their environment.
13. Driving takes precedence over flying.
14. Hotels should use data-driven marketing to target consumers most likely to stay at their properties within drive distance – in the short-term.
Who travels, when and where, will be influenced by government officials easing restrictions, companies designing travel policies for their employees and scientists producing vaccines and treatments.
Consumers want to be reunited with the good feelings they obtain by being on holiday; however, in light of COVID-19, they want to have fun, be protected and feel safe. They want to be informed on what the industry players are doing to improve their safety standards, based on protocols provided by trusted sources. There is a new player on the hospitality field – and it is TRUTH.
© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.