As lockdown slowly lifts, the travel and hospitality industry is intensely focused on implementing the proper measures to keep consumers safe.

Interestingly, new research suggests that it could be beneficial to overtly communicate safety messaging in advertising, as this has been proven to positively influence tourists’ intentions to travel.

The study, undertaken by King’s Business School and published in Annals of Tourism Research, compared consumer responses to two versions of an ad depicting Dubrovnik as a tourist destination. The first ad showed ‘Dubrovnik’ against a backdrop of the city, while the second ad showed ‘Dubrovnik, the safe city’. The results indicated that there was a significantly stronger intention to visit after the ad containing the safety message.

While the study was undertaken outside the context of the current coronavirus pandemic (from a print advertising campaign in 2018), researchers suggest that the results are all the more pertinent given the current situation, and as a result, hotels, resorts, and destinations could benefit from including safety messaging in advertising.

This suggestion also comes as the World Travel and Tourism Council announced its ‘Safe Travels’ initiative; a set of protocols for travel providers, airlines, and hospitality brands to follow. A badge will indicate to travellers that a company has adopted health standards deemed safe by the WTTC. Recently, we have already seen signs of the industry actively promoting what they are doing in relation to safety.

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