Written by Clayton Alexander
The Better Business Bureau has released a brand new report on how the travel, leisure and hospitality industries will be affected in the wake of COVID-19, which you can download for free by visiting BBB.org. This report’s data includes responses from BBB Accredited Businesses, research from the International Association of Better Business Bureaus, and multiple online business and marketing sources cited throughout the report.
What can these industries expect in the next five years?
One of the most important sections of the study is a forecast that projects the growth that the travel, leisure & hospitality industries will experience over the next five years. In terms of annual revenue, a growth of 10.9% is expected for Travel Agencies, while U.S. Hotels/Motels are expected to see a 11.7 increase; and finally, U.S. Restaurants are expected to see a 2.8% growth. In addition to these numbers, the section also predicts the growth for each of these industries’ business, employment and wage growth as well.
Is it safe to travel now?
After a year of being quarantined, enduring heavy restrictions on where to go, what to do, and how to interact with one another, people are ready to get out and travel. The looming question for many: is it safe? The American Hotel & Lodging Association predicts business travel is expected to be slow and steady for 2021 with a predicted boom in summer leisure travel. According to the Expedia Travel Trends Report, the average person saved $3,444 for their 2021 trip, with Millennials projected to spend far more. According to a BBB analysis, customer service and cleanliness topped the charts as the biggest drivers for people leaving positive reviews – ranking higher than price and safety. Additional surveys show that 43% of respondents are willing to spend more money to confirm physical distancing on their next airline flight. They also want more control over their surroundings by avoiding public transportation or are planning to use their personal vehicle to travel. As the travel industry adapts to new regulations, health awareness, and customer requirements, the overwhelming theme for consumers is trust.
What can the travel industry businesses do to recover business and maintain customer trust?
- — Take a proactive stance. Encourage a comfortable and safe environment for customers. If the company policy is to require masks, follow CDC guidelines (cdc.gov) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – iata.org. Continue good hygiene, create signage to encourage social distancing, and maintain cleaning protocols.
- — Be an active partner with the community. Supporting the business community and local causes that are in line with the company’s values go a long way in boosting reputation.
- — Leverage social media with engaging content. Social media can impact a customer’s perception of a company’s brand and credibility. Exciting copy, photos, and video can drive prospective customers to the business website to make a reservation, ask a question, or learn more about the services available.
- — Advertise honestly. Building or re-establishing trust after a challenging time takes effort. The best practice is to advertise honestly and ethically about what your business is doing to keep customers and employees safe.
- — BBB means trust in the marketplace. 81% of US consumers and 78% of Canadian consumers familiar with the BBB seal are more likely to trust the business is ethical and honest. If your business is an Accredited Business, include the BBB seal and connect it to your BBB Profile. 70% of US consumers and 66% of Canadian consumers familiar with the BBB Accreditation seal are more likely to perceive the company as a good business. Visit BBB.org/get-accredited to learn more about BBB Accreditation and how it can help your business.
On a final note, for those who might be doing some traveling this season, we highly recommend checking out BBB.org to see businesses in your area for anything you might need while on your trip. We hope you have a great time!
Clayton Alexander is the Storyteller/Communications Specialist at Better Business Bureau serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties.