Why Visuals are the Key to Communicating with Business Travellers
And how to get everyone to read your travel policy.
Humans love visual material. According to studies, coloured visuals increase a person’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. Imagine if you could apply this to your travel policy – people might actually read it!
Clearly, very few of us ever depart from the childhood joy of devouring words accompanied by pictures. And for good reason – visual assets now play a pivotal role in modern communication.
It should be no different for your travel policy. We’re not suggesting that all travel managers need to become designers, but it’s about thinking differently when it comes to delivering key information every employee needs to take on-board. Your travel policy is incredibly important, but the message needs to be delivered in a way that befits a modern audience and visuals are key to communicating with business travellers.
Here are some examples of visual communication already used in travel and how you could apply the logic to your travel policy:
The process by which human traffic flows through each terminal within an airport is so efficient it’s easy to look past what’s actually going on. Thousands of people heading to multiple destinations with varying timescales and a multitude of different reasons for their departure (sounds a bit like managing business travellers). It should be chaos, but it simply works.
This is for one very good reason – visual signage. Recognisable symbols, words and numbers that guide you through the airport with ease.
Studies have shown that people following directions containing illustrations do 323% better than those that do so with just text. That’s why airports are adorned with arrows, numbers and symbols that make sense the moment our eyes land upon them.
Now consider your travel policy: in the section where you explain budgets for flying and where to book, how easy is it to find and adhere to? Is it just more text on a page that is easily ignored? What impact could this approach have when communicating with business travellers?
Take a page out of the airport book and use visuals to highlight this information so employees know exactly how much they can spend on a flight and where to book it.
Hotels exist for one very simple reason – they’re designed to provide a homely base in which the guests are waited on hand and foot. And, while the hotel staff play a vital role in delivering such an experience, the visual cues employed by hoteliers are equally as important.
From the ever-present ‘no smoking’ signs to drinks information and clear indications of free Wi-Fi (and the accompanying password), hotel rooms are full of visual communication that help us unwind, connect with friends and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep without ever having to contact a human being for assistance.
Hotel visuals start before you even get to a hotel and go right back to the booking process. Every time you book a hotel, it’s likely that you are offered a number of images of the place; from the lobby to the restaurant to the room.
Booking.com has actually found that guests are more likely to book properties with more photos.
Why shouldn’t the visuals start one step before that even? Before booking a hotel, your business travellers will have hopefully checked the policy for the budget – but maybe they didn’t. Their whole experience of hotels is visual yet you expect them to read a document just to know how much they can spend. Maybe if the journey began as it continues, with visuals, the business traveller would stay in budget.
The invasion of the Emoji
Who’d have thought that we’d swap our regular QWERTY keyboard for one that features cartoon faces and tiny depictions of everything from clinking glasses of beer to water pistols? The rise of the Emoji has been seismic and has transcended generations.
One look through your recent messages and you’re likely to find several that feature more Emoji than words, but can these playful forms of visual communication really make their way from the small screen into the world of travel?
They already have! If you’ve ever passed through a speed check area only to be greeted by a smiley face congratulating you for driving below the speed limit, you’ve been stimulated by an Emoji.
We’re not suggesting that you add emojis into your travel policy (although we also wouldn’t judge you for doing so), but research suggests that pictures are correctly recalled around 1.5 times as often as printed words, so maybe a visual travel policy is the best way to get business travellers to read it.
Business travellers are more than used to encountering visuals on their journey, so why not consider how you can bring the psychology of visual communication into your travel policy. If visual cues help us better retrieve and remember information, creating a visual travel policy can help your business travellers remember the key information.