How to Win Over the COVID-Conscious Traveler

May 17, 2021
4 min read

SBA has been working with tourist boards, international airlines, hotels & resorts, and tour operators for over 25 years. In that time, the industry has gone through many changes and evolutions, but nothing has been as disruptive as the COVID-19 pandemic. After a year and a half of closed borders and sheltering in place, the world is starting to open up and in the US, travel is top-of-mind for so many.

Destination marketing has always been about inspiring people with beautiful images of the place that travelers will experience when they visit. With a competitive destination landscape the inspiration phase has always been an important first step in the customer journey. But today, travelers have more on their minds than just finding a beautiful spot for their first post-COVID trip–they’re looking for a destination that will be safe for their family while trying to navigate the confusing and constantly changing set of guidelines and restrictions that are the new normal in this time. 

This is where marketers have an opportunity to meet the moment and use their creativity to find ways to put safety and vital information at the forefront of their messaging while also inspiring travelers with beautiful imagery. Destinations that can show that they are thinking like the traveler and providing them with vital information about COVID Compliance will not only be doing the right thing but will also have a distinct advantage over those who do not when it comes to where customers plan to travel. SBA developed a prototype of a travel app as one such way to achieve this goal. 

With restrictions constantly changing and important information scattered across various sources, travelers are looking for a one-stop destination to plan their trip as well as serve as an in-country resource while people are visiting. The app format makes it easy to update regularly as regulations change and also push out notifications for people to get real-time updates. 

Let’s take a virtual visit to our fictional destination, Isle de Soubry and see how a COVID travel app can work for your destination.

Providing a COVID travel app resource is only useful if travelers use it. Making an app that not only has the COVID-related information travelers are looking for, but also serves as a useful travel tool to hold all of the relevant information they need for their trip, will help ensure they come back and use the app for everything related to their trip.

The app begins by gathering information from the user with a 3-step onboarding process. This step-by-step guide requests the user’s travel information in order to generate a customized home page when they arrive, complete with their flights details and accommodation. Their vaccine record will also be stored in the app and just a tap away if they need to produce it at any time at the airport, customs control or hotel. This onboarding process has the advantages of:

  • capturing travelers information and adding them to marketing communications
  • providing a place for travelers to enter their flight and hotel information so that everything they need is in one place and they come back to the app throughout their trip
  • if the destination requires it, offering a place for travelers to upload their vaccine record so the app can serve as a proof of vaccination throughout their trip

Step 1
Enter Flight Details

Step 2
Enter Accommodation Details

Step 3
Scan Vaccination Record

Everything at a glance
The app has been designed to offer the most important details at a glance. Upon completing the onboarding process, the user will arrive at a home page populated with the details they entered. At a quick glance they will be able to see what airports they’re flying in/out of and the dates of their departing flight, as well as their accommodation details. Users can tap on either of these sections for more details.

At the top of the page users are prompted to tap for “Fast Facts”. This will bring them to a page that is updated regularly with the latest information on COVID statistics and health guidelines in the country. The goal of this page is to distill the often overwhelming health data into bite-size, comprehensive pieces of information. Users can return to this page frequently in the weeks before their trip to get an overview of the current COVID status and health recommendations.

For more detailed health information, users can choose to look through the Health Guide on the home page which will provide regional maps, charts, and information on local testing centers & hospital care.

Users can also choose Explore to find out about indoor & outdoor activities in the country, restaurants and cultural attractions. COVID-relevant information will be available for each activity listed. Restaurants, for example, will incorporate icons indicating whether they are open for indoor or outdoor dining, if there is a time limit on the stay, whether reservations are required, etc. This will allow travelers to feel fully informed and give them peace of mind as they plan their trip.

Custom home page incorporating user’s flight and accommodation details

Fast Facts: Digestible health information,
updated regularly

Explore Restaurants with integrated
COVID-specific information

Want to know more about how we're approaching marketing challenges in this post-pandemic landscape? Nothing gets us more excited than solving problems and helping brands reach their potential. Reach out with your ideas, challenges or thoughts and let's see what we can make together!

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