Transparency will be the key to provide service to the future tourists. During this COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of future travels have been labelled as ‘uncertain’. Intermediaries offering more information and clearer policies will indisputably be at an advantage in terms of restoring consumer confidence, said GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Issues surrounding refunds, booking policies and the management of workforce have all come to the forefront – agents or operators that are not clear on all these subjects have faced public scrutiny.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, said: “This is a challenging time for all the operators and agents. In order to service future demand and ensure consumer satisfaction, intermediaries will need to be flexible and transparent regarding their future planning. Presently, the future of travel remains uncertain. A group of negative customer experiences during the pandemic now holds the potential to cause long-term damage to a brand’s credibility.”
The majority of operators and agents have had to adjust the booking policies to offer more flexible alternatives to cope with mass refunds – some of these adjustments may be implemented permanently as a change in consumer demand means that travellers require more flexibility going forward. A company that maintains a flexible booking policy will undoubtedly be at an advantage over one who changes this as travel demand starts to return, Bonhill-Smith added.