2020 may be one of the toughest years for the tourism industry so far. Travel restrictions, vacations canceled, and a lot of uncertainty. Our meticulously prepared 2020 plan needs to be redefined and updated.
Fortunately, we are not completely hopeless in this situation. We can all try to find some opportunities, minimize losses, and create some alternative streams of income for our businesses. We'll all need a lot of improvisation skills this year, but let’s take a look at what we can do today and in the following months to be back on track when spending time outdoors is a possibility again. It will happen sooner than we think!
Today we're sharing some ideas and strategies to try during these uncertain times.
1. Focus on rebooking, not canceling
Encourage travelers to keep their reservations and change their travel dates instead of canceling. Make it more appealing with a free room upgrade or additional class or activity.
Make sure the guests know about the perks they can get if they decide to rebook instead of canceling the entire stay. You can easily manage all rebookings in Bookinglayer.
If there’s no possibility to reschedule, offer vouchers for the amount of their reservation or slightly higher. Many travelers understand the current situation and may be willing to accept such a voucher instead of a refund.
2. Create a win-back strategy for cancellations
Even if you have a cancellation with a full refund, keep this information about a client in your mind (or better in a spreadsheet). These times will pass and after that, many travelers will want to explore and spend time outdoors.
As they were once ready to book, they are likely to book again. Make sure that they choose your camp again. Create a list of canceled reservations and prepare a win-back strategy. Stay in touch and send them your best offer a few months from now.
3. Target national travelers
Even if your main focus used to be foreign visitors, think about an offer that would attract local visitors. People may not be willing to travel internationally right away, but national travels will still happen.
Think about where you can advertise your camp to reach national travelers. Maybe partner up with a regional travel agency to invite some organized groups. Create online content targeted at national travelers to attract their attention.
4. Offer zero-deposit reservations
Let people make reservations without any initial deposits. Let them dream about vacation and make some plans for the future.
If people know they can change their reservations, they will be more likely to book. Give them reassurance that your offer is flexible and that your business is ready to adapt to the ever-changing situation.
5. Take a look at your marketing strategy
You’ve always thought about improving your website? Or wanted to think about new online channels to advertise on? Think about the long-term marketing strategy to attract visitors in the future.
Many websites offer free resources that will help you learn marketing strategies. Maybe it’s time to learn something about SEO or start a blog to help travelers find you in Google?
6. Stay active on social media
Don’t shut down your social media profiles. Inspire people and connect with travelers. Share memories from past summer and engage with users to share their own.
Take the example of Switzerland with the #DreamNowTravelLater campaign.
Keeping the adventure spirit alive is what many people need right now. And they’re scrolling through social media even more.
Share your footage from the previous season, some uplifting message, or even your daily struggle. Building a common sense of community is more important than ever.
7. Create free content online
What you can focus on right now is building and expanding your online presence. Organize a digital event or prepare a class on the topic you’re experienced in.
It’s all about being there for the community and sharing what you know. Organize live Facebook meditations, “Diving 101” lectures, or strength training and bootcamps.
You’ll be able to reuse this content in the future. Sharing your expertise online is a step towards reaching new potential clients that are already interested in the topic that you talk about.
8. Think about an online alternative
I’ve seen many yoga studios, gyms, and fitness academies adapt to the new reality with online courses. You can also try this strategy and create your full 7-day online retreat or camp.
It could be a new stream of income or simply a promotion for your camp. You can set up your online offer in Bookinglayer. Creating such an alternative gives people the opportunity to support your business even if they’re not traveling at this moment.
9. Ask for reviews
Reach out to your previous customers and ask them to share their experience with your camp online. Writing an honest review is a great way for all of us to support the businesses we like.
You can also upgrade your website with stories about happy guests from previous years. Stay in touch with your loyal customers and share their opinions. You’ll have a powerful credibility boost when people will be ready to book again.
10. Target new groups of travelers
Prepare a strategy to target new types of travelers for the next season. Create a special offer for a completely new group that doesn’t include only your typical clients.
If you’ve never thought of organizing camps for kids, maybe it’s time to try this possibility. Or maybe digital nomads? Every group has certain needs that should be addressed if we want to create an offer specifically for them.
11. Offer long-term rentals
Many people have switched to remote work in recent weeks. After a couple of months in isolation, they may be tired of staying in their own apartments. They may want to explore a little bit of nature. Be ready to accommodate people with their laptops and offer long-term rentals.
12. Partner up with other travel businesses
Find new partners for your business to organize activities or trips together. Find an agency, another camp that you can offer bundle deals with, or a new instructor that can lead classes at your camp.
It’s time to reach out, build connections, and adjust strategic goals. Reaching out to other businesses that are in a similar situation can build a sense of unity and mutual support. And it may result in some amazing future offers for travelers.
13. Embrace wellness and self-care
Soothing uncertainty with outdoor adventures and self-care? It can be a package of massages, meditation classes, breathwork, or any sort of wellness experience for your travelers.
With all the uncertainty that we experienced in recent weeks, it may be beneficial to add a wellness twist to your standard offer.
14. Review national policies for businesses
Many countries offer subsidies, loans, or delayed tax payments for businesses like yours. The tourism industry has been severely affected by travel restrictions. Some emergency policies have already been implemented in the US (resource roundup), France, Spain, Norway, Portugal, and many other countries.
15.Expand your services
Explore something completely new. New types of workshops for your camp? Organize classes for people who live in your town? Maybe an online shop with top-quality merch related to the type of adventure you offer?
Seeking new opportunities and streams of income isn’t the easiest task right now, but this atypical situation requires a refreshed approach. Brainstorm with your team and try something completely new for this season.
16. Sell online
If you already have an online shop, take time to promote it. Many people know they can support travel businesses by buying their merch, so they may be willing to shop online these times.
You can also prepare some gadgets or clothing for the next season and offer it during the reservation process in Bookinglayer.
Think long term
Focusing on the long term perspective is the key component of the emergency strategy for these unexpected times. Of course, it’s important to control our costs right now and react to the current news. However, finding opportunities for the future is what will make the most impact for any business right now.
This situation is temporary. We don’t know how long it will last, but it for sure shall pass. What do you think about these strategies? What’s your approach to managing the current no-travel period?