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Making Travel Feel Safe Again With Professional Translation Services

How translation and localization services support the travel industry and travelers in making their journeys safer

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the travel and hospitality sector particularly hard as much of the world shut down and swaths of people went into lockdown. Cruise ships were forced to dock indefinitely. Airplanes flew nearly empty. The occupancy rate at hotels plummeted. Areas that relied on tourism dollars experienced a crushing blow. The situation was dire, but things are changing for the better. As the pandemic slowly recedes in a number of areas, some countries are removing their travel restrictions and people have a renewed interest in traveling again—if their chosen destinations prove to be safe. Tourism bureaus and the providers of travel and hospitality services can be hopeful for a brighter future, and Language Service Providers (LSPs) have a role to play in revitalizing the industry.  

While the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) warns that a worldwide shared list of accepted COVID-19 vaccines is necessary for successful international travel and the U.K. doesn’t anticipate overseas travel to be normal before next year, the U.S. Travel Association (UTA) put out a global travel forecast suggesting that the travel industry will recover by 2023. The UTA projects there will be a 35.7 percent increase in travel spending by Americans in 2021 and a 14.2 percent increase in 2022. A McKinsey & Company China travel survey found a growing number of  people—41 percent—want to travel outside of China during their next trip. And, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) found 57 percent of respondents from 11 countries expected to travel within two months of the pandemic being brought under control. 

Now more than ever, it will be critical for the travel and hospitality sector to use language services to provide clear, accurate and timely communications to travelers. Lionbridge can help you best your competition through its translation, localization, content creation, over-the-phone interpretation and multilingual social media listening services. These services can be applied during the different phases of a traveler’s journey—pretravel, travel and post-travel—to help make travel safer and to instill confidence in travelers who may have some lingering concerns about making a trip.  

Today’s global traveler leverages digital tools. Learn how to enhance personalization in The Traveler’s Digital Journey eBook

How Will Language Services Help During the Pretravel Phase? 

Travelers' challenges and concerns

The continued presence of the coronavirus makes it challenging for tourism bureaus to attract leisure travelers to their respective areas. Some things haven’t changed for global digital marketers in the travel industry, such as the need to highlight your destination’s differentiators and points of interest through rich descriptions. What has changed is the requirement to earn travelers’ trust, help them navigate complicated travel rules and provide reassurance that they will be safe. 

A 2020 report by the World Travel Tourism Council with Oliver Wyman, finds that travelers are placing more emphasis on pre-trip planning, with 75 percent of American travelers saying they will put together “a somewhat developed or very well-developed plan for their next leisure trip.” German travelers are looking for security, flexibility and sustainability in travel when planning their trips, according to Tourism Review.  Meantime, more than half of the Europeans surveyed by the European Travel Commission place importance on vaccination rollouts to have the confidence to pursue travel, as detailed in the Commission’s  Quarterly Report (Q2/2021). Even those who are currently unable to travel are encouraged to plan a trip, given a Dutch researcher’s findings that trip planning bolster’s a person’s happiness.

It’s imperative for tourism bureaus and the providers of travel services to make information easily accessible to travelers in their preferred language across all channels during the planning stage. Learn how ArrivalGuides, the world’s largest supplier of destination content, partnered with Lionbridge to create a unique CMS-based translation solution, enabling users to translate content into 20+ languages on demand.

It’s challenging for people to acquire information regarding travel protocols since uniform rules are nonexistent across destinations and requirements are constantly changing. As travelers begin their digital research, they will need to know rules for entry, what to expect once they arrive and what it will take to return to their home country. Importantly, travelers will also want to know what health measures are being taken and what hygiene protocols are in place at their desired destination. When determining whether to visit a place, travelers will ask numerous questions including:

  • How should I prepare for my trip when visiting this destination?
  • What are the entry requirements—vaccination status, testing, quarantine?
  • What efforts are being made to minimize spread—mask mandates, social distancing?
  • What hygiene protocols are in place—disinfecting measures, hand-sanitizing stations at airports and hotels?
  • What restrictions, if any, are in place at tourist attractions—limited capacity, closures?

Savvy tourism bureaus and providers of travel services recognize that consumer behavior may be driven by the answers to these questions. Many are already striving to make this type of information easy to access. In an effort to attract visitors following the pandemic, the Japan Tourism Agency will spend an extra JPY 3.6 billion to support tourism and deliver timely, accurate information to travelers around the world. Meanwhile, Poland’s government is among those who have created a webpage that provides coronavirus information for travelers coming to their country. Government leaders and providers of travel services at other destinations have been offering creative financial incentives in hopes of getting people to visit. Professional language services will enable you to get this information out to travelers in their native tongue, bolstering their confidence and helping them feel safe to travel.  

How Lionbridge can address your needs

Lionbridge provides the travel and hospitality sector with translation, localization, transcreation and content creation services for multilingual websites, blogs, multimarket ads, brochures and other marketing materials in any language across all channels including web, mobile, chat, phone and email. These services enable tourism bureaus and the providers of travel services to highlight the unique qualities of any given destination or service in a way that is personalized and geared to each target market. 

The language services that Lionbridge provides also enable the travel and hospitality sector to build trust with cautious travelers, which is critical given the pervasive uncertainty we are currently experiencing. Just as people have benefitted from getting life-changing COVID-19 vaccine information in their native tongue as a result of localization, so too will they benefit from sensitive travel-related safety information that is localized and delivered in their first language. Communications in the traveler’s primary language will be more emotional and impactful in helping the traveler feel safer. Localized content also ensures there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings.  

Lionbridge can help you create the most effective content strategy for multilingual content management through a combination of approaches. You can expect everything from machine translation for certain content to original content created from scratch. Our expertise will enable you reach potential visitors across all channels at an emotional level no matter where they are from. Lionbridge’s agility and ability to scale means you can respond quickly to dynamically changing situations to keep your information up to date.  

Lionbridge will help you provide clear instructions to leisure or business travelers and expertly translated guidelines in all your target languages. As such, you will help potential visitors overcome their hesitations resulting from COVID and be better positioned to draw them to your destination or travel-related service.

Man at a train station wearing sunglasses smiles

How Can Language Services Help During the Travel Phase? 

Travelers' challenges and concerns

By the time the vacation or business travel has begun, hopefully travelers will already know what to expect. However, requirements are constantly changing based on an outbreak, variant or other variable. Travelers need a way to get the latest information while they are traveling:

  • Before venturing out to eat, they should be whether they will need to show proof of vaccination in order to dine in restaurants (France)
  • They need to know whether singing and dancing is barred at restaurants during their stay so their expectations are set accordingly.
  • They need to be able to find resources easily if severe illness sets in. (FYI—Here’s what to do in Spain if you get sick.)
  • They need to know whether a fine or a surprising penalty involving pushups will be imposed if they fail to adhere to mask requirements (Bali).
  • They also need to know that they can talk to someone in their native tongue if issues arise on their trip.

Tourism bureaus and providers of travel services must communicate the latest information in the visitor’s language across all channels and make sure the traveler is able to talk to someone to continue to keep the traveler safe and avert frustration during the trip.  

How your LSP can address your needs

Like the pretravel phase, Lionbridge’s translation, localization, transcreation and content creation services will keep visitors abreast of ever-changing travel and safety information during their trip. And content can be tailored to meet the needs of both foreigners and visitors that are more local. Tourism bureaus mustn’t neglect domestic visitors since there is an increased demand for domestic travel.

Over-the-phone interpretation is another Lionbridge service that is particularly relevant during the travel phase. Should a traveler need medical attention, let’s say due to contracting COVID, it will be highly reassuring for that traveler to be able to communicate with health professionals in their own language. Interpreters who conduct services over-the-phone make this possible. 

Other applications of over-the-phone interpretation involve situations related to customer service. For instance, if a chatbot is no longer able to provide help, the matter could be escalated to an over-the-phone interpreter that speaks the same language as the customer. Similarly, a hotel may enable its guests to speak with their concierge using the same over-the-phone translation method.  

Providers of travel services should be prepared to answer visitors’ questions in any language at any time. 


Woman wearing glasses and a face mask looks at her mobile phone

How Can Language Services Help During the Post-Travel Phase?

Travelers’ impressions

If you successfully provide accurate and timely communications that enable your leisure and business travelers to have a safe and hassle-free trip, a pleasant stay at your hotel or an enjoyable experience at your restaurant, you’re increasing the likelihood that they’ll say positive things about you publicly. Don’t underestimate the importance of this because a whopping 92 percent of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know, according to a report on The Future of Travel & Tourism in the Wake of COVID-19. 

Past travelers also influence others by writing online reviews and taking to social media. When they’re displeased, they’re not shy about sharing their experiences.

  • United Airlines passengers criticized the company via social media for failing to maintain satisfactory physical distancing on its airplanes during the spring of 2020. The negative publicity resulted in United allowing customers to rebook flights that were getting too full.
  • Tripadviser suspended the review page of a restaurant in Rome after it was accused of grossly overcharging tourists. The €430 bill, roughly $470 US dollars, for two servings of spaghetti and fish, and water, went viral.

Forbes calls these types of complaints on social media a part of “callout culture” and suggests that restaurants are among the most likely businesses to get called out on social media. 

How Lionbridge can help

Lionbridge provides multilingual social media listening services that will enable you to learn what your customers are saying about you in all your markets. You can then respond accordingly to provide the best possible experience.   

There’s never been a more important time for the travel industry to use language services. By making travelers be—and feel—safe again, tourism bureaus and hospitality businesses will not only experience financial gain, but they will play an integral role in bringing joy to countless adventurers and connecting people throughout the world.      

Get in touch

Interested in knowing more about how Lionbridge can help you to win over travelers, so they are more likely to visit to your locale or use your travel-related service? Reach out to us.

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Janette Mandell
Janette Mandell