“There was a time when people used to travel”
If you were to read that phrase last January, it would have made no sense to you. Now, it’s the only thing you can think of… that everybody in this industry can think about.
It has been week after week of hope and worry. For many a time for tough decisions. For everybody involved, a time for deep reflection.
Whether you’ve been busy contacting your customers and reassuring them you’re there for them or planing for “the day after”, nobody should write off 2020 just yet.
There is a lot of research about how’s the travel industry going to develop after this crisis. Most of them agree on a few very important topics:
- People are going to travel as soon as it’s possible for them to do so, but it’ll be different than before, for starters, initially traveling is expected to be nearby to their residence (between 100 and 250 miles).
- Between age groups, Gen Y and Z consumers who didn’t feel impacted directly by COVID-19 will be eager to travel as soon as possible.
- Safety will be a primary concern for travel, and this implies planning will become more intensive, time-consuming. This will translate into fewer last-minute purchases.
- As the pandemic forces companies to consider cuts on discretionary spending and conserve budgets to reduce the impact, corporate travel will be restricted to just essential travel.
Although there is no way to predict exactly how the new normal will impact the travel industry, or how soon it’ll start recovering in a meaningful way, there are 2 variables that are certainly going to define the path: consumer confidence and consumer’s ability to afford traveling.
Consumer confidence will be based on the industry’s ingenuity to keep planes, accommodations, and theme parks clean and virus-free, while the unemployment rate will be a good indicator of when people will be able to afford traveling again.
Based on all this, there are 4 things you can be doing right now that bookings are slow:
- Contact your customers, all of them, reassure them you’re there for them.
- Plan for the day after; competition is going to be fierce, as prices are expected to go up based on the new rules and regulations in place, but margins will be lower.
- Get ready for the new normal, prepare your products, services, team, for the new questions customers will have about safety, the new requirements and regulations for each destination you work with, having the right answers will make the difference between similar offerings.
- Improve your processes and automate them, with costs going up, and margins down, you better be prepared to provide more with less personnel, so, any task that you’re doing that can be automated, should be before the world reopens.
I read a very inspirational quote:
“We exist only because our customers exist and allow us to serve them. And when our customers suffer we suffer too”.
I believe this has never been truer for our industry. Let’s get ready for the day after, so when travelers get back the confidence to go places, we’ve built strong relationships with them, and have a plan and a product in place for their new needs.
PS: At Travtion we provide Booking Engines for Tour Operators and Travel Agencies. If you think ours is a tool that could help you leverage your company during these trying times, let’s talk.