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Safety comes in bubbles – the new parameters of customer journeys

The familiar customer journeys have experienced an unprecedented disruption due to the pandemic. During the recovery, safety and trust need to be integrated into the customer journey and if done correctly, profit will follow.


Annika Konttinen

lehtori, matkailuliiketoiminta
Senior Lecturer, tourism business
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Anu Seppänen

lehtori, markkinointi ja viestintä
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 01.10.2021

Customers are stressed. Their customer journey has experienced an unprecedented disruption due to the pandemic. Trapped consumers are craving open spaces and fresh air, free from aerosols carrying unwanted viruses.

Protecting the health of people and planet is the next normal. If done correctly, profit will follow. A bubble is a term used to refer to a good or fortunate situation that is isolated from reality. Safe bubbles are phenomena of the pandemic that may stay with us for quite some time.

Bubbling at home with comfort

Much of the recent consumption has been directed at the safest of all bubbles, our homes. Consumers have been working from home, ordering food and groceries, buying clothes online, and generally staying put at home.

During the pandemic, home office bubbles sprung up around the world with people investing heavily in making their homes fun and functional. Faster internet connections and technologically advanced home office setups were bought both for homes and second homes.

People started investing in the comforts of their houses, painting, and renovating, cooking, and learning new skills, at a time when trips abroad were out of the question. Many now, have more comfortable homes than prior to the pandemic. Backyards may now be adorned with treehouses, a part of the COVID era quest for outdoors and nature as well as keeping kids and parents occupied.

Safety bubbles with privacy, space and science

Tourism and hospitality are two of the hardest hit industries of the pandemic. Even though much of the world stayed at home, there were innovative entrepreneurs and destinations that did not want to go into total hibernation.

Companies started to offer safe bubbles for their customers. Some restaurants constructed glasshouses, bubble dining pods, to offer customers an opportunity to dine with just their own party or household. The bubbles proved immensely popular and have been popping up in cities with unpredictable or chilly weather throughout the pandemic.

Open-air activities, like outdoor dining and gyms, drive-in cinemas and beachfront yoga classes became ways for safety conscious consumers to entertain themselves amidst COVID restrictions – and they are here to stay, believes Euromonitor.

During the pandemic, the Finnish Chef Henri Alén allowed researchers to conduct studies and experiments in his restaurant Ultima to find out how viruses move in a restaurant environment. He was interested in how to make his restaurant as safe for customers as possible. The study brought practical results and the restaurant has now gone through the entire customer journey to understand where the main risks lie and how to minimise them, e.g., through ventilation, air purifiers and scheduling customer arrivals.

Travel taking off for the fully vaccinated

When much of the world stood still in various forms of lockdown, travel bubbles were initiated between COVID-free countries like Australia and New Zealand. A travel bubble is an agreement between two countries that permits travellers to move from one to the other without having to quarantine on arrival.

Many travel bubbles have already burst due to outbreaks and different strategies of pandemic recovery. However, establishing a safe travel corridor along popular air routes seems to be a lucrative idea for many tourist-starved destinations around the world. The EU Digital COVID Certificate already makes intra-EU travel exempt from travel restrictions.

Although there are still many restrictions for travellers to enter countries around the world, the situation is improving. With an increasing share of the global travel population being fully vaccinated, tourism can now take off again. Tourists will be bubbling with joy in destinations and cruise ships around the world any time now.

If companies want to cash in on this post-pandemic travel wave, safety-oriented ancillary services, secluded getaways, and private hideaways are likely to be in great demand. The Finnish Lapland is an example of such open spaces that have a lot to offer to the rest of the world. Now is the time to reassure the travelling public.

Safety a priority in customer journeys

The customer journey is still an important aspect of modern marketing, although customers do not always follow the manuscripts companies offer them. Instead, they follow their own desires, needs, whims, and tastes, which often unfold in unexpected moments.

During the pandemic recovery, safety and trust need to be integrated into the customer journey. Customers prefer free of contact, clean and cashless along with comfort and convenience. If the world is going to thrive again in the aftermath of the pandemic, companies will have to keep on innovating and providing clients and employees with safe options and smooth customer journeys.