Over the past few months, Intrepid purposely shifted to utilize user-generated content on social media, telling stories of how travellers have been impacted by travel, and the people who made the experience special.
“Using user-generated content in your marketing makes it more authentic and less promotional, while fostering connections and nurturing engagement. For the past several months, our user-generated storytelling has resulted in our top performing social media posts globally. These posts offer a deep human element that really help travellers feel more connected with the world and to each other,” Sadowski says. “For many, the people you meet along the way when you’re travelling become such an important part of the experience. Now that our community can’t travel as freely as they’re used to, we aim to create a much stronger sense of community by highlighting the stories of our travellers and leaders. In this period of self-isolation and social distancing, we feel this is more important than ever.”
Intrepid is also actively using its channels to educate the community during the pandemic about the importance of the travel industry rebuilding more responsibly.
“For example, over the last few months we’ve used our social channels to make clear commitments in solidarity with the fight against systemic racism and oppression, provided tips for a plastic-free lifestyle and launched our new 10-Step Quick Start Guide to Decarbonise Your Travel Business,” he says. “It’s imperative for us to use this period of travel cessation to ensure the return of travel is more sustainable and ethical, so that our earth is preserved for future generations to explore.”
Although not yet in place for the domestic market in Canada, Intrepid introduced new Closer To Home tours, which are curated by locals for locals and are tailored to each country’s individual restrictions, including over 75 multi-day tours in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
“With the majority of international borders still closed, we’ve shifted our focus recently to develop new product catered to local travellers who are interested in exploring domestically and regionally,” he says, noting that they have upcoming plans for expansion in North America. “Highlighting this new range of tours is a new theme called Intrepid Retreats. This innovative new trip type is a first for us, one in which groups immerse themselves in one location in handpicked accommodation ranging from small boutique properties to glamping, with nearby experiences ranging from hikes to wineries to farm visits, foraging, and more. These retreats celebrate ‘slow travel’ and allow adventurers to engage with the surrounding communities away from the crowds.”
The company will also be re-launching day tours through Intrepid Urban Adventures in select North American cities starting this summer through the end of the year, all with enhanced safety guidelines.
In preparation for travel to resume, Sadowski says they introduced a new Flexible Bookings policy last month to make travellers feel at ease when booking their trips.
“We have also taken extra care to ensure all of our trips meet the highest level of cleanliness standards and we are working closely with our suppliers and teams on the ground to implement new policies such as pre-trip health assessments, contactless check-in processes and increased transparency on hygiene,” he continues.
Looking ahead, he says the reopening of travel will look very different across different parts of the globe.
“It’s really important that we look at the full picture of not only when Canadians, Americans and beyond can travel internationally again, but also when local communities around the world will be able to host travellers comfortably and safely,” he says. “For now, safety is our biggest priority and we have been working tirelessly to ensure we have the world’s best safety and hygiene practices on all our trips for when travel does return to its pre-COVID levels, which have been endorsed by the World Travel & Tourism Council.”