Crisis communication plan for travel advisors

A key resource to navigate through adversities and prepare for a successful reprise from critical situations is to set-up an efficient crisis communication plan. Follow our guidelines to find out how you can plan your communication strategy in each phase of a crisis, and check our box-out on social media channels, with valuable tips for travel professionals.

Communication plan for each phase of a crisis

Even if it is almost impossible to predict the exact timing of crises, analyzing the previous ones we experienced as a society, we found out that there are 5 main phases characterizing each one of them:

5 phases of a crisis
Staying up to date will help us understand what are the characteristics of each phase, so we can adjust our communication action plan accordingly:

Phase 1 - First Signs of a crisis

In this first phase, it is advisable to define:

  • The team or person in charge of the communication strategy
  • Which are the messages and values you want to transmit
  • Who will be the spoke-person providing internal and external communications

It is fundamental to communicate to your clients and suppliers that, as a travel professional, you are monitoring the situation, and are ready to take all the required measures when needed.
The tone of your messages for this phase shall be authoritative and calm, to compensate for the spread of panic that characterizes these moments.

mountain lake & communication team planning a strategy

Phase 2 - Decline

When the decline phase begins, the crisis is already affecting the non-essential businesses and the travel industry is often one of the first ones to take the hit. That’s why for every travel advisor it will be crucial to communicate:

  • Every adjustment that has been made to guarantee continuity of the activities.
    For example, if a travel agency needs to embrace remote working it will be crucial to communicate alternative contact details for customers and suppliers.
  • What are the consequences of the crisis for the existing customers.
    Your clients will need to know what happens to their bookings, and eventually might inquire about refunds and cancellation. Prepare clear and easy to share terms and condition policies to be ready.
  • What solutions or alternatives your business can offer.
    Travel insurances or voucher offers are examples of services you should talk about as an alternative solution.

In this phase, the tone of your messages should transmit empathy and reassurance, leveraging the human value of travel advisors.

Phase 3 - Freezing phase

The freezing phase is often characterized by a deadlock situation, which can be a great moment to do some branding! It is likely that within this phase you will have more time to dedicate to your communication channels, website, and social media pages, being sure that your messages are in line with the values you want to share.
In these moments of uncertainty, it will be crucial to provide prompt and sincere responses to any customer’s or supplier’s inquiries, showing your trustworthiness as a travel professional.

travel advisor with a globe

Phase 4 - Recovery period

The recovery period is probably the most unpredictable from a timing standpoint. For your communication strategy, therefore, it would be unwise to make bold predictions and to jump into trends that might be just temporary.
Your communication strategy for this phase should include:

  • Optimistic and inspiring messages.
    Customers might still refrain from spending on leisure activities, and sounding like a pushy salesman won’t help for sure. Try to be a source of inspiration for your clients instead, underlining the therapeutic effect of traveling!
  • Honest analysis based on reliable sources only.
    The state of the travel industry in this phase might still be evolving, and while it is important to stay optimistic, it will be crucial for all your stakeholders to rely on institutional information only.
  • Highlights of the unique selling points of travel advisors.
    This is a good moment to communicate and showcase your reliability and your human value as a professional in the travel industry!

Phase 5 - Back to reality

Once the situation will eventually turn the industry into something that resembles the moments before the crisis, you will have to deal with a different industry, and with customers who might have developed new needs, worries and necessities. Adapt to the reshaped market with positive messages, aiming to restore the trust in the travel industry, by clarifying all the precautions taken to make travels safe again!

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How to handle a crisis on social media: 5 key tips

Some of the biggest communication channels for every business today are Social Media. Here you can find 5 valuable tips you might integrate into your communication plan:

  1. Act as a trustworthy source of information for travelers.
    Social Media is fertile soil for fake news! Stand out from the crowd by being a reliable source of information in the travel industry!
  2. Pause your scheduled post.
    You should put on hold every campaign currently in process, and reevaluate how your content fits the current situation.
  3. Engage without arguing.
    Participate in public conversations, and use them as a way to establish your authoritativeness, without engaging in provocative discussions.
  4. Answers reviews.
    If you have unanswered reviews about your services, answer them all! Respond to the bad ones showing empathy and offering solutions, and address the good ones to thank your customers.
  5. Stay connected with suppliers, networks, and associations.
    Keep your stakeholders in your feed, so you can receive their updates, and don’t miss the chance to provide them with the latest about the status of your business!

Find out more about crisis management

In every industry, difficult times require a quick reaction, and an efficient crisis management plan. Find out more all you need to know about crisis management for travel advisors by downloading our ebook now!

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Download our guide to find out:

  • The five stages of every crisis
  • Why customer satisfaction still needs to be your #1 priority
  • How to adjust your marketing messages 
  • What to do when the crisis is over 
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