I recently listened to TTG’s interesting and insightful video interview with Kuoni’s Derek Jones and felt compelled to share some feedback and thoughts on the topic of trust, and the way consumers see the travel sector compared to – for example – hospitality.
To Derek’s point about consumers being unhappy and vociferous [about travel] while feeling more sympathetic towards hospitality, I would say British consumers have witnessed restaurants and hotels rushing to feed the NHS, house the homeless, donate food, and offer hotel rooms to women victims of domestic abuse.
These news items have been reported very publicly on major news channels and all over social media. Some initiatives have also started in travel, such as free holiday homes or discounted holidays for NHS workers, but to my knowledge, they have mostly been reported internally – and only to a limited extent.
Bearing in mind 80% of all leisure and travel spending decisions rest with women, and that women tend to prioritise social impact as an important factor in their decision-making, maybe this is one of the reasons that has caused a decrease in trust?
We know communication is critical at times of crisis, and we’ve heard from several sources that, worldwide, women leaders have been consistently top rated, above all New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern – well known and often quoted for her emphasis on engagement, open communication and empathy as part of her leadership style.
In the UK, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls is someone who has been very public in her engagement since the very start of lockdown.
I feel the travel industry has not communicated, engaged or empathised with the public to the required extent, and where efforts have been made, they have been isolated or hidden from view.
Perhaps if more women were in senior decision-making roles, on boards and investors committees, empathy, communication and engagement would have been higher up the agenda?