Get ready for a travel comeback
Coronavirus has taken a toll on the travel industry in more ways than one. Travel came to a virtual halt — first because travelers were cautious, then because of government-imposed travel bans. In many cases, travel agents found themselves doing more refunds than future bookings. And now with travel greatly limited, most travel advisors are looking for ways to stay afloat until business picks back up again. As challenging as it seems, you can use this opportunity to reposition yourself and your business for fast growth when travel comes back again. So what can you do to stay ahead of the game? Let’s take a look!
1. Take a look at your brand and marketing
Does your marketing strategy tend to sit on the back burner when you are busy? If so, now is a great time to rework your marketing strategy. You can even plan a marketing calendar for the months to come. This will keep your platforms working like a clock even when you start to get busy with bookings again. Take some time to refresh your brand, update your website, and all your social media platforms. Increase your following and put out content that will inspire travelers to start planning for the future.
2. Identify new niches
If what you specialize in is designing international group tours, we can guess this is a difficult time. But we also know that travel advisors are some of the most adaptable innovators on the planet. So what can you do with the hand that’s been dealt? Can you adjust your business model for a while and start offering domestic trips? We’ve put together a few resources on domestic adventure trips to help get you thinking. But even beyond the immediate demand for domestic travel, how can you adapt your business model for the future? More people will be working from home in the future. Will we see people using their new flexibility to take long-term trips? Think outside the box!
You may have heard that Sir Isaac Newton did some of his best work during a pandemic. Sometimes a bleak-looking horizon motivates us to dig deep and demand a better outcome. Did you know that some of the most innovative companies were started during economic downfalls? Yes, this includes big companies like Netflix (1997), Airbnb (2008), and Instagram (2010) to name a few. You are a travel expert — what problem are you solving in the travel space?
3. Highlight new safety precautions
We say this all the time about why you should always offer clients airfare with their vacation packages — if you aren’t the source, your clients may end up somewhere else. Here is just one more opportunity for you to stay invaluable to your clients — keep them updated with travel safety info. Every hotel, airline, resort, and restaurant on their itinerary will have their own policies in place both for staff and guests. Keep your clients updated so they will be well aware of what they can expect from vendors and what will be expected of them as guests. Will they need to wear a mask in certain common areas? Will they be required to sign a document stating they have not been exposed to COVID-19? Your clients will want to know! Whenever you are communicating health and safety policies such as these, it is very important to include links to original sources rather than trying to interpret them over email. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this pandemic — things change!
4. Fewer clients, more profit
With fewer travelers expecting to travel in the upcoming months, you may want to look into other ways you can increase your profit. What else can you do to add value for your travelers? If you’ve left your clients to figure out their airfare on their own, this is a great time to start offering it yourself. This is especially helpful to clients who are trying to navigate the confusion of new airfare rules and regulations. Increasing profit might be as simple as including a flat fee for your expertise rather than relying solely on commission. This has certainly been the trend for today’s travel advisors. And it shouldn’t be a problem for clients if you are truly providing the high-level expertise they are looking for.
5. Be Resilient.
2020 threw a curveball that absolutely no one saw coming. Although this is a very challenging time to be a travel professional, know that there is going to be plenty of business on the other side! Be strong!