The Covid-19 pandemic pretty much brought the entire world to a grinding halt in 2020. It reminded us not only of our mortality as human beings but also of the fact that you should always have a plan B in business and be ready to expect the worst if you want to stay afloat should the worst actually come.
The tourism industry was one of the hardest-hit industries during the heart of the pandemic. Now that life is regaining a sense of normalcy, the tourism industry is starting to get back on track. Any tourism-dependent businesses that survived the pandemic are looking for new ways to future-proof their plans. Here, members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share their expert advice on how to future-proof businesses that are dependent on tourism in an uncertain world.
1. Create more revenue channels.
Focus on creating additional revenue channels. Ensure the business has more of an online presence to make up for lost revenue during down times. Create a brand that people want to travel for. – David Wescott, Transblue
2. Connect residents and visitors with enriching experiences.
The answer is the same as it has always been — connect residents and visitors with an experience that enriches and educates. While destinations are wonderful, it is the human connection that supplies the magic of travel and our most treasured memories. – Mike Birt, Ascent Partners, LLC.
3. Partner with destinations and visitor bureaus.
Meeting consumers where they are is key, especially as economic and health concerns remain. Maximize impact by partnering with other destinations and the local visitors’ bureau. For example, consider more day trips, bundled itineraries, “staycation” promotions and affordable family activities. Outdoor destinations and recreation are desirable to many people. Always reinforce health and safety protocols. – Hinda Mitchell, Inspire PR Group
4. Build a general culture and mindset of flexibility.
We’ve seen some businesses in the tourism and event industry grow and thrive during the pandemic because they were able to pivot, so uncertainty is not necessarily a bad thing. Whereas there are some strategies that may help, I’d focus more on building a culture of flexibility instead. You can’t calculate all the risks, but you can adopt the right mindset to tackle any challenge. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
5. Consider remote options and serializing services.
Consider how you can take cues from the launch of Amazon Explore. Is there something you offer that can be opted into remotely, thereby creating a new revenue stream? Furthering that, is there something you can serialize? Something like advance packages that lead up to a deferred trip can build excitement and commitment toward a future experience. – Stacey Browning, CincyTech USA
6. Go back to the basics.
When consumers travel, they expect a high level of service and amenities. Go back to the basics with customer service to ensure that when people are ready to travel, your business is a go-to vendor. Focus on family packages and experiences targeting those traveling in groups so you can capitalize on those larger packages and amenities. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
7. Increase diversity while reducing dependence.
It seems simple, but businesses should focus on reducing dependence on anything. At Lowden Street, we are always reshaping strategic plans for our portfolio companies to be more diverse and more independent. For a tourism business, this may mean relying on virtual reality, global marketing or expansion into similar locations. Businesses should never stop finding ways to perfect their company. – Matt Bean, Lowden Street Capital
8. Invest in virtual tourism to keep people connected.
Invest in virtual tourism opportunities that keep people connected to your brand, your location and your community. Advertise these to your current list and share with those markets who are often looking for inexpensive ways to explore the world — for example, educators, nonprofits and parents of young children. – Liz Wooten-Reschke, Connect For More
9. Diversify your business portfolio.
Diversifying your business portfolio has never been more important! There are lots of tertiary industries like events (which can be done virtually), social media (who doesn’t want to see travel photos right now?) and food and beverage (host a pop-up restaurant with a local favorite) that can support your main revenue stream. – Lauren Reed, Reed Public Relations