What tour agencies are doing to survive
The pandemic that started approximately at the beginning of 2020 has had a great negative impact on many sectors but especially the travel industry. With many land borders and airports closing, sales plummeted and tourism companies had to find creative ways to adapt and survive. We would like to list some of those approaches as a form of inspiration for the industry.
1. Let’s start by saying that just because there are little itineraries to put together, it does not mean there is no work to be done. A lot of companies have taken this downtime to work on their internal processes such as reducing operational expenditure, making their booking system more efficient, updating the information on their website and rejuvenating their business and marketing strategies.
2. More tour operators have started to target the domestic market as well as neighbouring countries, as it is more likely that travel restrictions will be lifted sooner there, than in the case of international travel. This also requires research into the customer and buying behaviour of this target group, for which there is now time within most companies.
3. Some travel companies have embraced the physical distancing and quarantine periods that the whole world deals with and are offering virtual tours to be experienced from the comfort of the customers home. An example of this is virtual walking tours through cities or small towns showing people the hotspots for great food, fun activities and teaching them the history and culture of a certain area. This is a great way to spark inspiration and excitement amongst tourists so that, when they can travel, they will opt for these businesses.
4. Now is the time that a lot of companies pay more attention to brand building. Releasing useful information about COVID-19 restrictions on their website and social media platforms as well as inspirational photos and texts to get people to start dreaming about travel again. Reaching out to existing customers and engaging with them about their dream holiday will help them to remember your brand when they are ready to book again.
5. Travel companies are trying to create advantages for travellers to convince them to book and to eliminate competition as much as possible. This can be seen in flexible cancellation and booking policies as well as special offers. Providing a discount might not sound like the logical thing to do now that income is low, but more travellers are also looking for a good deal due to less spending power because of COVID-19.
One thing is certain. Even though the tourism industry is slowly but surely starting to recover, travelling during and hopefully soon after a worldwide pandemic will be very different from what people are used to. Tourists are looking at travel companies (as well as airlines, governments and health institutions) to provide them with accurate information and help whilst booking their long-awaited holiday. Take advantage of this downtime and strengthen your brand internally and externally!