The ultimate holiday bliss: It’s at the top of every current traveler’s bucket list after two long years of the coronavirus pandemic. With pent-up demand for vacation travel at an all-time high, now is the time for hospitality leaders to focus on earning traveler trust and loyalty by developing a holistic approach to joyful travel. Whether booking an exotic vacation to a far-flung, sun-kissed destination or visiting families across the country after periods of mandatory isolation, travelers take to the roads, air and sea in record numbers, only to reconnect after the day has passed , to rejuvenate and recover very stressful time in our collective life.
Traveling can be fun and trigger positive mood swings. It also inevitably triggers a variety of stressors that can produce depression and anxiety. Or worse, the stress of traveling alone or at night can potentially worsen symptoms in people with existing mental health problems. Therefore, navigating lodging and transportation systems and helping travelers manage emotional anxiety and psychological stress before, during and after a trip is a smart health practice and an opportunity for the hospitality industry to proactively strengthen customer relationships.
For women and other travelers, travel-related stress can be exacerbated by existing trauma and post-traumatic stress that arises simply from going about their daily lives. For these people, travel-related stress looks like worrying about being able to safely travel alone at night (even in nighttime). “secure” areas), experience aggression or micro-aggression when traveling by air (which is increasing and worse than pre-pandemic travel) or just trying to cope with triggered post-traumatic stress during a business trip when they are expected to function 100%.
What if there was a way to create a less stressful trip that travelers of all ages and backgrounds could easily embrace? What if there was a tool that made it easier to manage post-traumatic stress, especially when traveling? What if there was a way savvy hoteliers could help build trust in the tourism industry?
What exactly is travel stress? It’s the body’s response to pressure: the pressure to coordinate multiple itineraries, get stuck at the airport, misplace a passport, get stopped at security, handle last-minute flight cancellations, and manage a budget at every corner of the vacation. It doesn’t pack enough of the right gear. It’s about packing too much gear. Missing a dinner reservation and finding out that the best local restaurants have been booked months in advance. (See also Irene Macabante on travel trauma: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4109218.html).
With the ability to personalize service and respond to increasing consumer demand for digitization, TouchPoints provide an opportunity to meet those desires and optimize new technologies and innovative products to seamlessly align travel and healthcare.
What are touchpoints?
TouchPoints are high-tech amenities designed to enhance travelers’ end-to-end experience by reducing the stress and anxiety often associated with travel. These wearable devices allow travelers to focus on the holistic experience – which includes self-care for the mind and body – improving the overall outcome of a trip.
TouchPoints placed on either side of the body gently vibrate to activate a user’s “Quiet” Answer. In seconds, users gain control of their stress and are able to think clearly and experience a sense of balance. This process permanently creates new behavioral patterns and, over time, reduces the negative effects of stress.
Since travel-related stress typically begins weeks before the trip, imagine being able to send TouchPoints to clients before the departure date to mitigate the biggest anxiety-provoking culprits — from planning and packing to motion sickness and post-trip turbulence part of a “Hospitality X Healthcare” Solution.
Players in the hospitality industry can all benefit from low-cost, high-impact amenities that provide this “Gift” balance and stress relief. As modern travelers make booking decisions based on rewards and perks, luxury upgrades that relieve pre-travel stress before the vacation even begins serve as clever marketing and sales “Feel good welcome” Tool. Adding self-care to the hospitality checklist right next to ratings for facility, ambiance, cleanliness, value, etc. to relieve stress is consistent with the overall brand service experience.
No more trip stressors
Staying away from home can be super stressful. Fear of uncertainty, safety concerns, massive flight cancellations, Covid protocols. Modern travelers deserve modern solutions to travel stressors.
Just as spa-like airport lounges with complimentary refreshments or hotels with in-room yoga mats were created to offer serene sanctuaries and transport travelers to new environments, TouchPoints offer a high-tech path to a calm, meditative state of mind by shifting at the switch help the function of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Our body reacts to mild stress in the same way as it does to serious danger and activates ours “Fight or Flight” reaction and triggers stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, making us feel anxious and out of control. But our standard stress response can literally be rewired with TouchPoints. The wearable devices are designed to keep stress at bay; Consequently, it helps travelers stay in a meditative zen state or in a focused peak performance state for their adventure travel experiences in a wellness retreat.
And at the end of the day? TouchPoints help combat the factors that stand between your customer and a good night’s sleep. Stress is one of the most common and widespread sleep disruptors, keeping even the most savvy world travelers awake.
TouchPoints proprietary neuroscience technology uses gentle, alternating micro-vibrations to return users to a peaceful sleep mode in seconds. And since so much is based on online reviews, improving the quality of a good night’s sleep against the backdrop of traveler reviews plays a big part.
What hospitality leaders can do
What goes into a successful holiday review and returning, loyal customers? The coveted five-star rating depends on many factors, most notably the final brand impression that contributes to lasting happy memories.
Just as Disney and Princess Cruise Lines have used Disney Magic Bands or medallion charms as part of branding initiatives, sending travelers back is part of the overall guest experience with TouchPoints to not only manage the stress of return, but the traveler reminding them of their holistic well-being was also prioritized.
There’s no doubt: travel is back – but it brings with it a unique set of stressors. Harnessing advances in technology can have a positive impact on the well-being of one of the hospitality industry’s most important customer segments: the leisure traveler, who are returning to the skies, rail, road and sea for the first time in years.
TouchPoints could be a healthcare-meets-hospitality (H2H) solution. For more information, see www.thetouchpointsolution.com.
*Acknowledgments: This research is sponsored by the GloMed.Education website.