Truth Behind Travel Podcast Episode 37: The side effects of traveling after lockdowns.
If you are longing or even just thinking of traveling again soon, if you are making plans and have already picked up the phone with your trusted travel agent or you are browsing best offers online, I want to tell you a little bit of what has happened to me over the past 4 weeks of traveling in Europe.
And, before we get started, if you are listening to today’s episode and work in hospitality and travel, these might just be what many of your future guests might be going through at the moment.
Number 1 – Overpacking
As a passionate traveler, I was so used to pack&go, knowing exactly what to take, not too little, not too much. Just right. It wasn’t the case this time. [more of this on the episode]
Number 2 – Over checking
Ok, that might not be a bad thing to do, given what’s going on around the world. But cross-checking the same information on 10 different websites, blogs, forums, and groups ends up creating even more anxiety. [more of this on the episode]
Number 3 - Self-doubting
Has the pandemic changed the way we connect as humans? I am afraid that - to some extend - it has. [more of this on the episode]
Number 4 - 'It's because of Covid' one too many times
Single-use of plastic has re-skyrocketed, I am afraid, during the pandemic. Here are a few of my real-life stories from the past few weeks. [more of this on the episode]
Your Host: Dolores Semeraro
Hospitality Virtual Keynote Speaker Dolores Semeraro is a Travel Recovery Strategist with more than 15 years of experience in hospitality, marketing, and trading. She is passionate about helping her clients develop the leadership strategies they need to restore travel confidence and win their customers back.
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Dolores Semeraro 0:00
Had the PCR test done. Got the negative results by email, printed them, filled in the passenger locator form, print that too, and headed to the airport, where the ground staff of the airline I was flying with didn't ask any of it.
Welcome to truth behind travel podcast, the world's first podcast dedicated to travel recovery. I'm Dolores Semeraro. And I'm on a mission to help tourism organizations and travel professionals to lead the business that restores confidence in travel. If you're looking for a travel podcast that gives you more than just wonder last, and will help you travel better tomorrow, you found the right one. Every week my travel and tourism industry guests will share with you their stories and insights to help you travel smarter, better and more conscious of the impact you have when you travel.
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Hello, my friend and welcome back to Episode 37 of truth behind travel podcast. You've heard it on my last episode, I have traveled and promised you I would tell you all about it here in today's episode.
So if you're longing, or even just thinking of traveling again soon, if you're making plans, and you've already picked up the phone with your trusted travel agent, for example, or you are browsing BEST OFFERS online, I want to tell you a little bit about of what has happened to me over the past four weeks traveling in Europe. And before we get started, if you're listening to today's episode, and you work in hospitality and travel, this might just be some of your future guests feelings. This could be just what your guests or ideal customers might be going through at the moment. So listen carefully.
Travel these days has never been more daunting. I'll be honest. And I don't mean it in a negative way. Don't get me wrong. But after months and months of reading, studying and observing travel trends, I realized that nothing could prepare me more than the act of traveling myself.
So this is the number one thing that has happened to me: Overpacking. Especially as a traveler, I was used to pack-and-go knowing exactly what to take. Not too little and not too much, just right. Well, it wasn't the case this time.
After not traveling for such a long time, I started over-packing my suitcase. You know what, for fear of not having the comfort goodies that have been so used to have around me for all the past months at home. See, as a traveler, I felt a sense of sort of protection that kicked in, as I prepared to go out again, not sure what of what I could find in the shops once in Europe, or better, carrying it myself from home, what I could have bought into shop in Europe need be so that I wouldn't even have to go to the shops. It goes to that length.
How many of you have felt like this? Let me know!
Number two, Over checking.
Okay, that might not be a bad thing to do, given what's going on around the world. But cross-checking the same information on 10 different websites, blogs, forums, and groups ends up creating even more anxiety.
For example, at the time of this recording was July 2021. Traveling from Germany to Italy, I knew I had to have a negative PCR test certificate done within 72 hours prior to entering Italy. But what was confusing was the type of certification that was needed. Some websites will call it EU COVID digital certificate, some would call it negative PCR test or antigen test. Some said it had to have a QR code for that to be valid.
I also read that I had to feel a digital passenger locator form which had nothing to do with my negative PCR test and did not refer to it or to his result. So I did it. I download it. I filled the form in print a copy just in case. So all very confusing.
In the end, I had a PCR test done, got negative results to my email, printed it, I also filled in the passenger locator form, digitally printed that too, and headed to the airport, where the ground staff of the airline I was flying with, didn't ask for anything of it.
But did say that it was my responsibility to carry the necessary papers required by my destination. Just for the record, at my final destination airport, none of this was checked.
See, as a traveler, you learn as you go, but in this case, it might cost you quite a lot. So I just wished in that very moment that browsing online would give me clarity instead of confusing people. I mean, if you could write an FAQ, just like you would want one to be if you read it, why wouldn't you?
Number three, self-doubting yourself and the people around you.
How many times I've heard the words, social distancing, I lost count. Well, this time around. It was me, not just with strangers, but also with some friends. And that felt weird. I won't deny it.
What has happened? As traveler and as an Italian hugging and double-chick-kissing comes like second nature. But this time, it was a whole different story. I find myself instinctively taking a tiny step back when talking to people. And when seeing my friends after a long time. Some of them wouldn't even get close, let alone hug and kiss.
And apart from the ever-present question in every single conversation being 'Are you vaccinated?' As opposed to being 'How are you?' So have human connections changed for good? Are we to maintain this distance long after this is all over?
What do you think? Let me know.
I can see how some of the travelers we attract might not just be the right one for our tourism business. So how can we reconnect with our true audience? in my career, I've been in hospitality communicator for the past 15 years. I know what it means when your audience is not responding to your message. So I know the pain of many independent tourism operators, and what they're going through. I want to share with you the six reasons why a tourism and hospitality brand message fails to reconnect with their design audience and how to avoid it. All you need to do is to download the free four steps travel recovery video training that I designed for those just like you struggling to reconnect with your travel audience. The link is https://thetravelrecoverymethod.com/foursteps
Well, number four, when you're told 'it's because of COVID' one too many times.
As we avoid touching, do many things religiously practicing hand washing, and hand sanitizing. Every single time we touch something. There are few things I've noticed while traveling that were explained as it's because of COVID. Let me tell you some stories. For example, we all work hard to remove and to avoid using one time use plastic. Right? Well, now it's all back again, in its glory.
Yeah, have you noticed it while traveling? So here's my real-life story for you.
I'm in a cafe in Italy. I order an espresso and across at the bar counter as you do when you're in Italy. And the bartender hands me this crossaint with his hands, holding it with a tissue then serves me my cup of espresso by placing it right there in front of me on the counter. I grabbed the croissant with one hand and a coffee cup with the other hand and then he smiles at me asking 'still or sparkling?' referring to my glass of water with that's how it goes in Italy by the way coffee comes with a glass of water. Just so you know.
And as I answered him, so he hands over this plastic glass filled with water, which will go straight into the bin after I drink it. So I asked them why the plastic cup? After having touched pretty much everything else he served me. He said, it's because of COVID. I headed to the cashier to pay for my coffee wondering "okay, because of COVID?!". And the cashier lady points me to the money machine when I tried to hand over a bank note to her. And I go, Wow, what's this?! And she smiles and says 'it's because of COVID, We can't touch cash' And she grabs the receipt and hands it over to me. Get the point here?
Well, here's another thing. I'm in a pizzeria. My favorite one in my hometown. The waiter comes, serves the water and places a QR code on the table instead of the menu, and says, 'apologies, this is because of COVID'. I looked at him and think they just place this on my table after having placed it on other tables before and people grabbed it. What's the difference between a menu? I get it, we have to be cautious and sensitive, and I'm all for it. But the incredible amount of plastic I have seen everywhere is alarming. The fun part is the fun could that be called is that we all know it. But we excuse ourselves because of COVID.
As travelers, we must stay true to our values even when it gets tough. But as operators in the travel industry, we must never stop thinking things through.
You know the expression, walk the talk, meaning to do what you say you do. Or simply to be true to yourself right? In Italian we say the opposite. We say Chi Predica Bene Razzola Male
which technically means who preaches something but doesn't actually do it.
The last few days these words kept on going on and on in my head. I have observed the travel industry restaurateurs, Hoteliers, the PEOPLE over the past four weeks. And as I prepare to travel back home and start my two weeks quarantine, I can't help but wondering, where did most of the common sense go? Have you experienced this as well? You know, coming across the common sense that wasn't quite making much sense after all?
Get in touch. Let me know. I want to hear your story. I want to hear your truth behind travel. You can write me an email, get in touch with my website, share your thoughts. If you want you can come and be a speaker on my podcast on if you want.
Well, thank you for being here with me on this journey. Next week I'll have for you a fantastic guest who will be talking about the art of storytelling and how that can help us get through an own our own narrative today in the travel industry and not only see you again next week.