Is Traveler Optimism an Indication for Post-COVID Benefits in Medical Tourism Industry?

The health crisis of Coronavirus is causing a big blow all over the world. It has dramatically affected every sector including the medical tourism industry. With over 80% drop in current bookings, the impact is staggeringly high. On top of that, cancellations are mounting with ongoing restrictions of traveling abroad. However, there seems light at the end of the tunnel. A new global survey has found that 77% of travelers are expecting to travel when the crisis is over, possibly by October-end. This means the healthcare providers must work out on strategies and communications to draw the attention of the customers when they are ready to travel. Travel Expectations With lockdown and quarantine widely enforced in almost every part of the world, people are spending their time online more than ever before. Several organizations are taking this as an opportunity to understand what prospective customers are expecting and planning to do after the crisis is over. As the survey report mentioned above, 77% of travelers are expecting to make a trip by the end of October 2020, some people are even planning their trip sometime between August and October. In some places, travelers are even expecting to make their trip before July. This shows a significant group of travelers are optimistic about traveling within the next three to six months. This could be a big opportunity for healthcare providers to promote their treatments and services to increase future bookings. Think Local….At least initially Reports also reveal that initially, travelers would prefer domestic ventures over international excursions. This would also apply to medical tourism as the patients will look out for health solutions locally or in neighboring countries. For example, a US-based patient will now look for healthcare solutions within the country or in neighboring nations like Mexico or Canada rather than traveling to any Gulf or Asian locations. So, it is wise to focus on local prospects more during the initial stages post-travel relaxations rather than only targeting international patients. Provide Clear Information and Updates It is time to acknowledge new realities. You have to understand that the priorities of customers have changed. Now, they want very clear information if it is safe to travel your destination for treatment. You also have to keep the customers updated and informed about the changes regarding appointment booking, cancellation policies, or fees. Your offerings must demonstrate transparency and empathy, which will help to win the trust of the prospects and result in bookings. Boost Marketing to Promote your Brand Don’t rely on just your website to reach prospects. You have to deliver key messages and establish your brand positioning by using various marketing channels. As people are spending more time online, it only makes sense to increase the online visibility of your brand through different channels such as email campaigns, videos, infographics, blogs, articles, social media, and the medical tourism marketplace. You can start campaigning about the new services you are launching or inform about the booking/cancellation plans. You can also educate the prospective patients about the safety parameters at your clinic and other benefits like a discounted price on certain procedures, etc. Some effective tips that you can integrate to boost your marketing strategies would be: Update website- Highlight situation in your country and your approach to sanitization and safety Incorporate competitive pricing Create attractive profiles (Clinic/Doctors) highlighting why patients will choose you Create attractive treatment packages Initiate targeted email campaigns Expand social media presence Educate/Inform customers through videos, blogs and/or articles Use Innovative Technologies Technology is a huge contributor to help people adapt to new changes. This is heavily reflected in the present scenario of social distancing, as people are completely dependent on technology. It is time to think innovatively and use technology in the best way to reach your customers and communicate with them. Indulge in direct communication with patients to assist them with information on safety, treatment, price, discounts, or booking. Use various digital tools like direct chat, artificial intelligence, WhatsApp, video calls, etc. You can also provide online consultation or second opinion by experts directly to the patients, which can be very helpful and also convincing for the patients to book treatments when the threat is over. In the present situation, it is very tough to predict if it will take three months, six months, or more to get things normal. What’s good is that many travelers are optimistic to book a trip as soon as they feel safe. You have to reach these prospective customers and inform them about the right time to book, travel, or announce price discounts or other promotions. As the leading global medical tourism marketplace, PlacidWay can help you with visionary solutions including effective marketing strategies and technology integrations supporting direct patient-provider communication. We can help you build the best digital marketing strategies to survive and overcome COVID-19 with top-notch solutions.

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