How Travel Companies Can Adapt and Succeed in the Post Covid Landscape
The pandemic has certainly hit the travel and tourism industry the hardest with hard lockdowns that have restricted travel both locally and abroad. Due to the resurgence of the coronavirus, many countries are considering keeping their borders closed or imposing strict quarantine regulations once a trip has taken place. This makes planning for the future almost impossible for the tourism sector.
Many travel businesses are struggling to keep their doors open while others have had to close up shop or downscale their operations and workforce. Due to the nature of the travel and tourism industry, the resurgence due to travel is a very real concern, which is why this sector has suffered the most. The planned and gradual reopening of the economy has been done in such a way that the travel, tourism and entertainment industry are the last sectors to open their doors, and even then – international tourists are either restricted or limited to travel.
The Current Tourism Landscape
There are various factors that the tourism and travel companies are now coming to terms with. Hygiene, health and safety protocols have to be implemented across the board, which in its own right is quite expensive. Pricing of flights and accommodation will be inflated to cover the lost costs due to a minimum capacity of patrons allowed to travel on the same vessel as well as the costs of the new procedures and protocols that need to be put in place.
This certainly all sounds like doom and gloom, especially if your revenue depends on international travel, but there are ways you can reposition your brand to adapt to the ‘new normal’ the world is becoming accustomed to. Think outside the box, flex your creative brain muscle and realign your business to adapt to the pandemic.
How to Adapt
It would be worthwhile speaking to a business consultant or a specialist for insight into what will work for your business, as a professional assessment can highlight areas of your business that can fall away and other areas that can be built on. Networking with your peers in the industry is also crucial at this juncture because working collectively to improve the situation for the sector as a whole should be a priority in everyone’s operations.
Secondly, it would be wise to try and keep a calm head about the entire situation because critical thinking and reorganisation and adaption will need to happen in order for your business to survive a post Covid landscape. Finding the light at the end of the tunnel will be easier if you can think clearly and rationally. Involve your staff in your strategy and collaborate with them on ideas, procedures and protocols that will make your business easier to manage and easier to market. Your team will need a cool, calm and collected leader to steer them out of the storm and towards the safety of a viable business.
Rethink Your Offering
If you have been operating from a brick and mortar office, now is the time to move your business operations online. Being available to your market 24/7 online is also a great way to improve business and revenue. Allow for patrons to enquire online, check availability and price options, and book trips on your website. This will mean your website will need ecommerce built into it. Another great way of pivoting your business for the online market is to create an app that can be downloaded onto a smart device.
Apps are incredibly popular, especially if you think of how Airbnb and Uber operate. Their entire business model owns no assets but is lucrative through the use of an app with built in payment methods. This is the space you need to be in. This process can be quite lengthy but if you hire professional and reputable developers that practice agile testing, your product can be up and running in no time at all. If you consider agile testing, partner with a company like Global App Testing who offer a best-in-class functional web and app testing service, so you can release the highest of quality software and grow your business.
Agile testing is extremely important as it allows you to release an app that is free of problems or bugs which can affect the ‘bounce rate’ of users either not completing transactions on your app, uninstalling them or never using them due to a bad experience. UX or user experience is critical and should be a top priority in repositioning your business to survive the pandemic.
Rethink Your Operational and Marketing Mechanisms
Once you have your website or app up and running, the next activity you require is to market it and get it out into the as quickly as you can. Leveraging your social media platforms and paid digital marketing efforts will need to be focused on. Refine your target audience to a local one and build up your offering from there. Remember to tell your story and position yourself as accessible online – from the comfort of a person’s home to emphasise the convenience and safety of your travel or tourism products and services. Consumers respond to emotive stories, so ensure you include your unique story in your marketing methods.
Lastly, you will need to negotiate with your suppliers to come up with an offering that satisfies both of your needs and that of your patrons. Your suppliers will most likely be in the same boat as you and will appreciate a collaborative effort that improves their revenue too. Focus specifically on the local tourism market as this is where your revenue currently lies. As restrictions relax and travel is less limited, you can start to incorporate international activities again. For now, focusing on the local or inbound market is the only way you can survive. Position your business to cater for families especially, with activities suited to both the parents and their children. Families will still want to travel, unwind and spend time away from work and school so that they can include an element of ‘normal’ into their lives.
Although the situation may seem dire now, there is a way to adapt and succeed; you only need to evolve with the trends, adapt to the situation and give your very best effort to growing your travel or tourism business. There is always a way to survive rough economic times, you just need to think outside the box!