Last Updated: 18 Jan 2021 | 10 min read
It does seem like the world is returning slowly to what it used to be, but you can’t rejoice just yet. COVID-19 is still around. While vaccines are ready, commoners don’t have access to them yet. Additionally, medical researchers and doctors found a new strain of the coronavirus, which means it’s adapting and evolving. Things will take a lot more time to get better, but there are a few things you can do to bestow a new life upon your tourism business by developing your own travel and tourism mobile app to expand quickly.
The outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus brought the entire travel industry to a standstill. Recent headlines prove that travel bans and the cancellation of major events are no longer happening. Nevertheless, the travel and tourism industry took a hit from which it can recover, but it’s not going to happen soon. It’s also worth remembering that this industry used to be one of the healthiest, and it used to break records by the second before COVID-19.
No matter how many challenges appear, events of the past prove how resilient this industry is. Travellers aren’t feeling confident about feeding the “globetrotter’s spirit” at the moment, but industry experts know their clients will be ready to travel sooner rather than later.
The tourism industry had to deal with several catastrophic events, such as the Great Recession, 9/11, and more. However, it always found a way to bounce back and flourish again. The only problem with COVID-19 is that no one knows when it will end. No economic model can predict the duration for which the virus will pose a risk, either.
Things to learn from the past
Once the Gulf War ended, the Marriott Corporation considered splitting the business into two different companies – Host Hotels and Marriott International. It pioneered the asset-light franchising model, which the world adopted later.
Also, before the terrorist attacks which took place on 9/11, mostly private organizations used to handle airport security. After the monstrous attack on the World Trade Center, security management shifted to the TSA or Transportation Security Administration. It also became part of the daily customer expectations through every journey that starts at an airport. It led to an evolution of public-private partnerships, and they saw the development of several programs, including the TSA Pre-Check.
Another instance worth mentioning is the event following the financial crisis in 2008. Consumers had to look for new ways to seek employment. It contributed to the appearance and ensuing popularity of the gig economy and sharing economy. As a result, companies like Airbnb and Uber popped up.
Keeping all these disastrous events in mind, what can you do to prepare for a world after COVID-19? Here are a few pointers.
(1) Customer engagement: Almost every travel company is currently attempting to save money at the moment. Naturally, many of them are forgetting the importance of marketing. Since these organizations are integral parts of the local communities, these companies should look for ways to participate in COVID-19 response programs actively. Your travel brand should also take a look at what other companies did during past recessions. They prioritized marketing and invested as much as they could in the same. Researchers have evidence that these organizations can increase the rate of recovery after the recession by building brand value and spreading awareness about the recession.
(2) Digitization and streamlining: With guests across the world shifting and cancelling their travel plans, the contact departments of tourism companies are experiencing a massive spike in volume. Many companies had to keep their customers waiting for almost a couple of hours before answering their queries. Also, a few companies had to neglect almost half of all the phone calls they received. You can reduce it by streamlining your digital touch-points to simplify the situation for customers. They can cancel a trip and rebook the same using your digital channels. Some of the most renowned tourism organizations created a blend of digital systems and call center teams and automated the use of language-processing systems to scrutinize calls and optimize the demands of customers fluidly across several channels. You must utilize this slowdown to streamline your operations and diversify your business by analyzing your customer service, earning the trust of existing customers, enhancing inventory and products, and showcasing empathy. You have to keep doing these things until the demand rises again.
(3) Analyzing the competitive landscape: When you think about it, you’ll realize that the economic impact of COVID-19 was inevitable. Regional airline organizations, small and medium-sized accommodation facilities, and independent tourism companies had to face financial difficulties. Some even reached the brink of bankruptcy. The recovery rate won’t be homogeneous because every part of the world is attempting to fight and control the virus on various timelines. Domestic travelling will experience faster recovery than international tourism, and a few countries will open their doors for tourists before others. Understandably, brands must scrutinize the lay of the land after recovery. Predicting the timeline is incredibly challenging, but if your company can do it, you need to do so right now and be ready to acquire market share, penetrate new markets, and introduce new products and services.
Health and wellness
Finally, you must introduce health and wellness enhancing methods to the forefront to win the trust of your customers. Everyone expects business owners like you to provide them with the highest standards. After all, they’ll trust you with their wellbeing, and you must do everything within your power to live up to their expectations. Contactless technologies should do the trick. Events of disruption in the travel industry aren’t unheard of, and you will get over it after some time. However, you have to prepare yourself and your business to face the future as it will be different from everything you’ve seen until now.