How travel sites can weather the coronavirus scare

Pass through an airport, ride in a subway, stand in a crowd anywhere on earth today and you’ll sense the panic.

People are terrified of the coronavirus. The fear has grown palpable.

Our partners in the travel industry are feeling the effects of that fear. 

The journalists at Skift are doing great work covering the impact of the virus on the travel industry. This article in particular explains why “airlines are more susceptible to panics than many businesses.”

Travel conversions at risk

Our customers — airline sites, online travel agencies, and similar ecommerce operations — are seeing an impact from the coronavirus scare. 

Without revealing specifics, it’s safe to say that fewer people are booking travel than just a few weeks ago. Some areas, and some companies, are seeing a greater impact than others. But no one appears totally immune.

Still, there’s no reason for travel companies to panic.Travelers wear surgical masks

Because we’re also seeing a tick upward in general, travel-related searches. The people conducting those searches aren’t buying tickets or booking rooms, but they do appear to be dreaming about when they will feel safe to travel again. These folks are postponing vacations, but not swearing off of them. They’re not visiting grandma this summer, but are wondering about travel for next Christmas and Lunar New Year. 

Earning revenue from travel dreamers

Because of this shift in the types of visitors arriving at travel sites (fewer people likely to convert and more people daydreaming of travel), we’re doubling our efforts to get more of our customers to use our <intent> Target product, which predict user’s intentions in real-time and adjust bids accordingly in Search and Social campaigns.

That means our customers are targeting the right people, allocating their spend appropriately, and not wasting money. Even in the middle of the coronavirus scare, our <intent> Target customers get the people who are ready to spend on their brands.

Advice for travel sites during the coronavirus scare

The coronavirus isn’t going away any time soon.

But that doesn’t have to be a disaster for your business. Focusing only on conversions is never a good idea for a travel site.

Our advice is

  • Don’t panic
  • Contact us at for information about <intent> Target
  • Wash your hands. A lot.