International travel has become increasingly fraught with anxiety and volatility for many, as global crises surrounding terrorism, the travel ban, Brexit, the Zika and Ebola viruses, and other geo-political and local issues have unfolded over the last few years.
It’s hard to know exactly how much these concerns will influence overall travel spending, but research shows that the news headlines, constant stream of social media stories, and government warnings have had some effect on the potential plans of travelers.
According to MMGY Global’s 2017 Portrait of American Travelers report, concerns about political climates and safety abroad may have contributed to the bump in U.S. domestic travel this year. Meanwhile, a 2016 Skift survey conducted following last year’s Brussels terror attacks found that the attacks were causing many Americans to reconsider their travel plans. The survey asked more than 1,100 U.S. online travelers with upcoming trips to Europe if the recent violent attacks in Brussels and November attacks in Paris were influencing their European travel plans the following spring and summer. One in five travelers already canceled their travel plans, while another 28 percent were rethinking their travel plans.
It’s hard to say how many people actually did make changes to their upcoming trips, but it’s clear that such events are impacting the level of comfort for many travelers. While there’s not much that can be done about the current state of global unease, travel providers can improve how they communicate with travelers in order to help them on their travel journey and provide relevant information to help them feel safe and secure, especially when traveling to unfamiliar destinations.
In this era of global travel uncertainty, customers are more likely to seek out information regarding their safety. However, there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to how travelers feel about the trustworthiness of travel providers for travel planning related to safety and security, according to a survey from the CMO Council. Only 25 percent of travelers said travel agents, trip operators, and third-party crowd-sourced travel rating sites were trusted sources, while tourism bureaus ranked even lower in how trusted they were. Comparatively, 55 percent of travelers said they trusted government or law enforcement agencies for travel planning related to safety and security, the highest of any source.
One way travel and hospitality brands can help ease the concerns of customers is by translating their content for their foreign customer base. Brands can build a strong rapport with travelers and help put their fears to rest by providing content that addresses issues surrounding safety and security in the local language of the customer and giving them the tools to navigate uncertain situations that may arise during a trip.
Research shows that customers appreciate it when you talk to them in their language––and such content helps drive spending as well. According to a survey conducted by Common Sense Advisory, 75 percent of consumers agreed or strongly agreed that when faced with the choice of two products, they are more likely to purchase the one with information in their own language. It’s no surprise that language plays a central role in consumer buying decisions, including those related to travel.
Brands that are able to help alleviate anxiety, decrease traveler friction, encourage trust, and provide assurance will have an advantage in the current travel market. Being able to communicate with as many travelers as possible, as clearly as possible, is key. Providing travelers with relevant content that’s translated into their local language can help brands ensure that their messages will not only resonate with customers, but help build trust and reinforce the customer’s confidence in the brand’s message.
Travel and hospitality organizations such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Hotel Tonight and British Airways are relying on Smartling’s Translation Management Platform to streamline the manual processes and reduce the costs associated with digital content localization. Learn more here.
This content was created collaboratively by Smartling and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.