Anxiety and Worry in the Age of Permanxiety
Destination safety and security is a destination attribute that is extremely important to travelers. In todays global world, however, negative geopolitical events such as the series of terrorist attacks that took place in London and Paris have become all too frequent occurrences. The impact of these negative events, magnified by todays omnipresent Internet connectivity, has created great anxiety and worry among travelers. A Skift report coined the term Permanxiety to describe this emerging travel worry culture.
Although terrorist attacks and mass shootings would only drive away travelers temporarily, other factors that worry travelers could have a more permanent impact on whether they would travel or where they would travel to. Certain activities that travelers have to engage in, such as going through security and immigration at airports, could cause traveler anxiety.
Travelers can also be worried about traveling to a destination that is culturally foreign. They may have feelings of worry and anxiety about travel due to their personal conditions such as having a physical disability. Under-represented groups such as LGBT travelers could also fear traveling due to discrimination that they could possibly experience. Media reports from newspaper and social media are further heightening traveler worries. For instance, a story about travelers being discriminated against or not treated well by their Airbnb host might go viral on social media. Such news could add anxiety to travelers planning to use Airbnb services.
What can the hospitality and tourism industry do to mitigate travel anxieties? Some airports, for instance, provide therapy dogs to calm anxious passengers. High-end hotels encourage their customers to engage in wellness-related activities such as meditation retreats and yoga. Hotels can also train their employees how to serve their customers in a way that relieves traveler worries and stress. The key point is that the employees need to understand what could make their customers uneasy and develop a sense of empathy for their customers. Airbnb, for instance, is providing programs via online education and community meetings to train their hosts and make sure they understand their guests need for safety and security. There are mobile apps that travel companies have created to help alleviate traveler anxiety. One such example is an app called companion that connects travelers with their friends or family members. Essentially the latter becomes the virtual travel companion for a traveler. To help address the concern that traveling in an unfamiliar place could worry travelers, this app allows their friends or family members to be able to track their journey via GPS.
ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
Think About This
This is an individual activity. In total, your answers must be at least 150 words long.
What are other possible factors that could make travelers worry about traveling?
What may be things a destination can do to help visitors in need of assistance in unforeseen circumstances such as terrorist attacks? What would such a help system be like
What can other types of businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry (e.g., event sites and restaurants) do to alleviate travelers worries?
Conduct research online and find a strategy that either a destination or hospitality and tourism business has used in an effort to alleviate travelers worry. Provide a brief summary (in your own words), your key takeaways/lessons learned, and a citation for the original source.