How can tourism businesses not only survive, but thrive in the Coronavirus chaos?
This year has seen some incredible highs and lows for the tourism and leisure industry, with various lock downs and then the unprecedented demand in between, it really has been a rollercoaster.
It's safe to say Coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon. Working with hundreds of UK tourism businesses, we’ve seen what works well and want to share some of our insights.
Crisis brings opportunity
Although a global pandemic like this means job losses and economic stagnation and decline, there are also significant opportunities for the adaptable. From Burger King to Microsoft, there's a wealth of businesses that were set up in a crisis. Coronavirus is no different, it's changed customer habits and presented new gaps in the market.
Whether it's turning your offering into a virtual event, do it yourself at home, learning kits or delivery, there's a wealth of opportunities to explore and it's not all bad news. Being adaptable and catering for the fast-changing environment is what sets those apart who thrive, versus survive.
Your tour and activity consumers have moved online
The ever increasing demand for availability and bookability of pretty much anything online instantly has reached an all time high. Consumers spend even more time online, purchasing what they need and want, and expect to have all available information at hand without the need to pick up a phone.
From a tourism and leisure perspective, consumers are now also more safety aware and want to know they won't be waiting in queues or have any extra unnecessary face to face contact on their trips and activities.
Giving them advance booking options means they can plan ahead and be sure they have guaranteed entry when activities and experiences are running at limited capacity.
Experience providers without a booking system in place are going to miss out on this increase, and expectation, in online consumer demand. You can even get started with a free booking system here.
Continue your sales through lock down with Gift Vouchers
One great feature of a booking system is the option for selling your tours and activities as gift vouchers . This will ensure your sales continue to thrive through winter and through any lock down. You can offer these as Christmas gifts for consumers to purchase for their loved ones and to be used during the New Year.
Update your information
Some of the most searched terms on the internet are to do with Coronavirus. Make sure you’ve clearly articulated how you’ve changed the way you operate to account for your customers health and safety and provide peace of mind.
Update your T&Cs
With so much uncertainty, consumers are increasingly spending more attention on your cancellation policy. As best practice, guaranteeing to offer alternate dates and in a worst case scenario, providing a full refund, is a way to continue to make sales whilst others cannot.
Engage your past customers
From the weekly clapping for the NHS to the local help initiatives and thousands of track and trace volunteers, there’s a lot of goodwill in the UK. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to support you by booking a gift voucher or future slot, for if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Manage occupancy levels with an online booking system
If we look back over this summer, once we were out of lock down there was unprecedented demand for all tours and activities in various UK destinations due to the restrictions in place on overseas flights and travel, and experts say this trend is expected to continue for the next 2-3 years.
But with limits on occupancy and group sizes being introduced, it was the businesses that could properly manage these restrictions and implement the necessary safety measures that continued to thrive.
Having an online booking system allows a controlled number of tickets to be sold per available time slot, meaning occupancy levels are always at a safe and legal limit. Restrict slots to single bookings to control social bubble groups and distancing. Use the online bookings to better forecast demand and avoid drop-offs due to weather conditions.
Use discount codes to bump up sales
Another feature that’s important as part of your booking system to improve your sales are discount codes, these will allow you to offer discounts on different outcomes, like off peak times, or certain days of the week. During the Covis ups and downs, consumers are going to be looking for bargains and online offers where they can save even just a small amount during these hard times.
Manage customers with one click
Even when things are up and looking good with bookings flowing in, with all the uncertainty of even the week ahead, online booking systems allow easy rescheduling, notifying and refunding of any customers with upcoming bookings.
What you may have learnt through this is the importance of dealing with any lock down cancellations in a timely manner, if done manually this can cause time delays and complaints. With a booking system you can process these automatically, and you can even quickly and easily offer rescheduling and upgrading to keep the sale instead of having to cancel them
Responding quickly and keeping your customers up to date and happy with how you deal with their booking is essential to be sure they book in the future with you and leave you good reviews.
Comply with safety regulations
Quickly being able to manage and edit information on your bookings and provide different regulations based on the current legal requirements is another benefit of having an online booking system. Within your dashboard you can very swifty change any details or information about your experience, change capacity levels, get waivers signed, or provide any further signed off requirements on checkout. Automatically have information for track and trace so you’re covered in the worst case.
So if you do want to thrive through the Coronavirus chaos now really is the time to act. Consumers need you to be available and flexible for them, and we want to help get fully available.
If you would like to know more about how your business can thrive through Coronavirus, or if you would like to change your current system for a modern, easy to use, featureful system, then please get in touch .