The Pluto May update

Hey there,

It's that time again, a quick update from Pluto HQ on everything we've been getting up to recently. As the pandemic shows no real signs of easing up on travel restrictions, we're still keeping focused on the things we can control.

Here's what we'll cover in this update:

  • Coronavirus impacts and how we're monitoring its effects on travel
  • Some important updates to the Pluto brand
  • Sneak peek at our recent 'perceptions towards travel' survey
  • A quick update and teaser on Pluto Pinboard

Coronavirus update

As lockdowns begin to ease across Europe and other countries, it feels like things could be starting to get better. We're certainly getting more clarity from the government - on shop re-openings, seeing our families, and time outdoors - but the view on travel is still unclear.

We've started to hear that more people are thinking about their next trip and in some cases, even taking the risk and booking a flight for later in the year or early 2021. But, from what we're seeing first hand, travel insurance sales aren't yet picking back up and although people want to go abroad, FCO restrictions prevent them from actually booking trips and buying insurance.

We'll continue to keep a very close watch on the situation through a number of different data points, quantitatively and qualitatively, internally and externally, to understand when things are returning to normal and at what pace. This heavily influences our growth and marketing efforts for our travel insurance product, Pluto Cover, and also for the launch of Pluto Pinboard.

To give you a sense for the types of things we're looking at, some of our favourite data points are: Stock markets, Google Trends, UK FCO, flight data, Skyscanner insights, Apple mobility data, travel industry web trends, and some other random things. We summarise a view of this for the team, which you can see above, every 2 weeks and collectively decide on whether we need to change our approach to anything. It has proven very useful so far to keep our finger on the pulse.

Some important updates to the Pluto brand

Harry recently wrote about some changes we made to the Pluto brand. These have been in the works for some time and are all about ensuring the brand reflects our vision, strategy and is true to why we started Pluto in the first place.

"Ever since we started Pluto in 2018, we knew we were going to build a travel brand with the mission of helping people make the most of their travels. But with the first product we launched being travel insurance, many people (understandably) saw us as more of an insurance brand as opposed to a travel brand. So today we wanted to share some updates we're making to the Pluto brand that we hope will help better position Pluto as a travel company.

We've split the updates into four sections - how we talk about Pluto, how Pluto looks, the tools we make, and the content we produce...(read more here)."

Our recent "perceptions towards travel" survey

Looking at industry reports, Google Trends, mobility data, flight data - it's all good stuff, but it doesn't help us truly understand how people feel towards travel. As a travel business, it's crucial that we understand if, how and why people's views towards travel are changing as a result of this pandemic.

And, we know that different people's views may change in different ways. A 28-year-old in London may be less risk-averse towards travel than a 65-year-old in Norfolk. We needed to understand the answers to these questions for our audience. So we sent out a survey to our customers and people similar to them and almost 250 replied.

We'll be doing a more detailed write up of this, but some of the key findings are:

  • 77% are already planning their next getaway
  • 75% are comfortable going abroad by plane with no vaccine or cure for Coronavirus, as long as the UK FCO has no travel restrictions
  • A whopping 87% said they would travel more or the same after the pandemic

This is all pretty positive for the travel industry, especially parts of the industry that serve younger audiences. These responses and the other data we're seeing gives us optimism for the future. We don't know when things will return to normal, but when it does, we can be certain that our audience will be travelling the world and falling in love with new cultures again.

A quick update and teaser on Pluto Pinboard

You'll have seen us taking lots about Pinboard, online and on our social media channels. We couldn't be more excited to launch this. And, even though we might not be travelling right now, now is a good time to plan that next trip. Decide on where to stay, where to eat, what to do - and to do all this with your partner or friends. This is what Pinboard is all about.

If you haven't already, you can get a sneak peek of Pinboard and also sign up for early access here.

And finally, we also ran a photo competition on Instagram to help promote Pinboard's upcoming release. We were blown away by the number of responses and entries. You can see the best submissions and the winner here.

That's all for this month, thanks for reading.




The two co-founders of Pluto, Alex & Harry.