Hi! I’m Karen 👋 , a social media freak and customer service advocate from São Paulo.
I am part of an energetic team at an online travel activity booking company, and these last few months have been exciting, to say the least.
You may think that’s kind of a weird statement given the pandemic’s impact on travel and our lives, but I always feel that one can grow during a moment of crisis. Also, it’s nice to know that everybody is dealing with the same issues, so it’s not “just me,” you know?
Maybe you can’t relate to that, and that’s not a problem, but I’m pretty sure you can agree with me that now, more than ever, we need to speak with our customers and LEARN from their needs.
Which is why, during September, Estefania (a coworker) and I started a research project:
Our goal was to speak with 20+ customers per day for an initial two week period and find out two main things:
- How our customers currently feel about travel
- What specific needs customers have to feel safe to enjoy travel activities again.
I hope the feedback from our conversations with 200 of our customers across eight countries may inspire you to speak with your customers in your part of the world.
“I will travel again when I can. I don’t have vacation time because I was forced to use it because of the pandemic”.
- Alba from Colombia
The general travel sentiment from our customers is uncertainty.
Despite getting very different results from Brazilians versus Spanish speaking countries, the common feedback we found is nobody knows what the future holds or how long the uncertainty will last.
TRAVEL SENTIMENT RESEARCH 2020
BRAZILIANS AREN’T SCARED, THEY’RE TRAVELING
Brazilians are mostly feeling very comfortable traveling now. The government restrictions are not harsh and it has a big impact on their behavior.
In Brazil, there are a lot of rural vacation options, and Brazilians are currently preferring beaches and mountains as their favorite destinations. Luckily, it’s easy and fast to travel by car, even in big cities like São Paulo, it’s only a one hour drive to the beach.
“I’m traveling to a beach house my family owns so I can relax and take a break from the home office life.”Patricia from Brazil
For accommodations, vacation rentals are preferred. Cars are the preferred method of transportation, but most don’t feel bad about taking an airplane. The bus travel option is the least used.
Our customers were generally concerned about wasting time and money while traveling during the pandemic. Some customers shared that they wasted money traveling because there were no restaurants or stores open and others shared the same feeling about not having anything to do while traveling.
Brazilians have become more connected to nature, traveling to rural destinations, and that’s where the sustainable options are increasing. The social aspect is taken into account too, supporting the local economy and the environment while traveling is a new spark that can help to improve the small town economies.
OTHER COUNTRIES WILL NOT TRAVEL IN 2020
Our customers from Spanish speaking countries don’t have a preference regarding domestic or international travel because most travel is forbidden or limited in most of the countries surveyed.
95% won’t travel in 2020
24% would travel in less than one year
60% would travel in more than one year
Health and safety is a huge concern for this group of customers. Elderly customers and customers with children will feel safe to travel once vaccinated.
For the remaining demographics being vaccinated is not a necessity, but would need reassurance from travel operators, media outlets and reduced government restrictions indicating a more controlled pandemic situation.
The majority of customers from Spanish speaking countries look for biosafety measures at attractions and would base their decision to visit these attractions on the safety preparedness.
MAKE BETTER MARKETING, BRANDING AND CAPITAL ALLOCATION DECISIONS
We’ve learned the difference between our Brazilian and Spanish speaking customers’ current willingness to travel, but the common variable is that safety measures are a big part of the pandemic travel experience.
With that in mind, we were driven to make better decisions, one of them was the creation of our own superhero! 🦸♀️
WePa, is the superhero who will make it safer for all to enjoy their vacation #safety4all
She’s a “living” representation that we are committed to creating awareness of critical safety information to travelers. We believe this brings value to our customers and is a happy reference to identify critical information throughout our website and social channels.
Also, we had lots of fun designing her, so there’s that 🙂
Bottom line is: speak to customers in all of your markets so you understand the why.
They have all the answers you need.
Pick up the phone and start dialing!
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