We’re all going through some tough times now. Closed borders, quarantines & self-isolations, and lost jobs are sadly the new normal (for now, not forever!). In the tourism industry, you’re going through that on your own, plus the added stress of knowing that you need things to get better for everyone else before you can expect to see an improvement in your own life and business.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Things are bad.
So what do we do now? Well, we get through it. We always do. This too shall pass, and when it does you need to be prepared. The businesses that are taking time to regroup and prepare are the businesses that will succeed. Take a cue from Lost: give yourself to the count of five to completely break down and feel sorry for yourself (count slowly). When you get to five, time’s up. It’s time to focus on what you do have control over and get things done.
These are unprecedented and unpredictable times. No one is really sure of what will ensure success when this is all over. It won’t hurt to try these things though.
Work on your marketing (international)
There have always been aspirational travelers out there. Those people who look at photos of the places that they want to go and think to themselves “someday…”. Coronavirus was a huge wake-up call to a lot of people that “someday” may never come. If your tour business is located in one of those ever-popular destinations (e.g. Rome), or even if you’re in a lesser-known-but-still-amazing place, use this time to reach those people.
Share videos on your social media. Start a YouTube channel talking about what you cover on your walking tours. Write blogs about the architecture in your area. Share interesting articles or videos about the history of your area. Get people excited about where you are!
When we’re all out of quarantine and able to travel again, those “someday…” people will be at the front of the line. We all know (all too well, unfortunately) that anything can happen and tomorrow isn’t promised. Market to them now, using a very soft-sell approach that gains trust and builds relationships, and it’ll pay off when things open back up.
Work on your marketing (domestic/local)
We’re going to come out of this slowly. While people will be itching to do their bucket list trips, the sad reality is that those trips will be unattainable for a long time. Local travel and attractions are going to be the first to bounce back.
Use this time to court locals. Prepare school outreach and talk about how great your local tours or activity centers are for field trips. Post interesting local history facts to Facebook groups in your city and get people interested in their own area. Make videos of your escape rooms and get people guessing and working out solutions from their own home that they’ll want to try out later.
We always say that we don’t have time to do a lot of administrative tasks. Now we do. If you do those things now, you’ll have the perfect business when things pick back up. Or at least your version of the perfect business.
There are the obvious behind the scenes tasks that you can do. Check your budgets, make sure that you’re spending money wisely. Revise any guide manuals that you have. Get all of that done so that things can run smoothly when we return to normality.
More visible updates you can do include: updating your photos. You should have a lot of photos available. Make a schedule to get new ones posted to your social media and think about if you want to change them on your website. Same thing with text on your website. Are there any pages that weren’t performing well? Compare the text there to content on the pages that work and make adjustments. If you get your website optimized for sales now, you’ll see the benefit when travel starts back up.
It can be hard to spend money now, but if you have some capital and you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, it’s hard to beat a new website. Tourism Tiger websites are designed to sell tours and we’d be happy to look at yours and offer suggestions or to show you how a new build can help.
Reach out to former guests
Your guests were happy to spend their vacation time with you. They like you and want you to succeed. They also know that everyone is struggling right now and that every little bit helps. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help!
Former customers can do a lot for you right now. Reach out to them and ask them to review your business if they haven’t already. Get them to follow you on social media (maybe even ask them to share a post or two). Ask them to send you their photos (or post them so you can share). Use their content to show how happy guests are with you.
We can get through this together. Hugs to you all.
Who is Stephanie Fiero?
Stephanie Fiero is originally from Michigan, USA. She currently works as the Marketing Manager for Tourism Tiger, a web design company specializing in tour and activity operators. Stephanie has lived on four continents in her continuing pursuit of learning a useful second language. Her favorite vacation was Myanmar in 2016 and her favorite tour was Chernobyl in 2013.