2020 was supposed to be the year of plenty… Boy, were we in for a surprise! And here we are, bemused and slightly incredulous at the crazy unfolding before us.
After a long year of nasty shocks and sadness, we deserve a moment to sit back and reflect on the positive, the funny, and the courageous. Because something has carried us through this crisis, and we can all do with some good feels.
Here, there be Dragons
Yes sir, we’ve been tested: personally, professionally, our health, prosperity, and resilience. Where we’ve turned adversity into opportunity, courage is the thing that has helped us slay the dragons of doubt. Here’s what we all learned to do:
Change (like our lives depend on it)
From everything done in-person to virtually everything done online. Who knew we could conduct our entire lives from the dining room table, lounge floor, kitchen counter or whatever became our WFH desk? We’ve set up processes to facilitate remote work, and provided an online service to satisfy clients who are more plugged-in than ever. We’ve considered new markets, adapted our offerings, and tried out new products to keep business ticking along – all these changes have taken great courage and strength.
Adjust (to COVID-19 etiquette)
We learned to maintain physical distance, elbow-greet, and cough into our arms (albeit in fear of death stares). We’ve started wearing face masks and promised not to hoard all the toilet paper. Some folks have struggled to adopt the new etiquette, but it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future, a small price to pay to make our communities safer.
Cook (because someone had to)
From YouTube tutorials to Zoom demo’s and everything culinary in between, many of us have morphed into amateur chefs and bakers. Kudos to the restaurateurs among us who offered virtual classes and shared secret recipes to keep us engaged and learning at home. Our sympathies with the households held ransom by lesser skills in the kitchen – thank the food delivery gods for your deliverance.
From live streaming concerts into the living room to local drive-in cinemas, we’ve gotten creative at kicking #FOMO butt. We’ve done arts, crafts and home maintenance for fun (because that crooked shelf became impossible to ignore); we’ve home-schooled and exercised together. Families have synchronised their lives to share breaks, meals and activities (as time wasted in traffic purrs a distant memory). The sudden popularity of e-books might mean everyone has been reading more (writers can hope). Those of us who live alone, have tried passing the time with lots of yoga, Netflix, and daydreams of travel.
Yeah, I have plans tonight. I’ll probably hit the living room around 8 or 9.
Reality check (our financial fitness)
To some extent, we’ve all faced down short-time and temporary staff layoffs. Some of us have used the down time to upskill with online courses. Others started a side hustle. We all know someone who’s had to move back in with their parents or depend on financial support from the government. Lockdown helped us save on petrol and transport costs, but we’ve had to exercise more discipline with spending in general, and learn how to budget again.
Self-service (our own IT needs)
That’s because tech support is faaaar away and we’re now in charge of our own. COVID-19 has rudely severed those apron strings that bind us to our tech guy; so this free advice from William, Wetu Fixit Guru, comes in handy: https://www.wikihow.com/Take-Good-Care-of-Your-Laptop-Computer
We’ve learned how to connect digitally, in different ways, on different platforms. Remember when in-person meetings were the only way to strike deals, collaborate, build relationships, sell or learn about new products? Some of us were already connecting online before the crisis, while others had some catching up to do. Thank goodness we’re all hitting our stride now and flipping the switch, because this is the way forward.
The year the humans stole their spot
The Wetu dogs, cats, and rats have had their lives turned upside down. They’ve endured invasions of their chill areas, with the humans converting their favourite spot on the couch into a work space, yapping endlessly at computer screens in virtual meetings. They’ve silently watched their humans partying with Wetu teammates across time zones, bonding over online games and digital donut dates.
But life’s been grand too – there’s been more time for everything: playing in the garden; the family cooking, eating and gardening together. The humans are paying more attention now, talking more – to them, to each other, even to the plants.
This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog – we laughed a lot.
While some Wetu families are fostering needy pets, others have opted to have human babies. This year, Team Wetu celebrated these three precious new arrivals!💚
Keeping the Lights On
We’re grateful to arrive at the end of this tough year with a few other wins to write home about.
Our Product and Tech Team welcomed a new Software Engineer, Sabelo Xulu, and Developer, Christian Mills, and put them straight to work on some secret projects. We launched the game-changing WetuShare and COVID-19 Notice features, along with other upgrades.
We’ve hosted multiple webinars on Integrations, Operator and Supplier tools, in English and Spanish. For recordings of any webinars you missed, please email us or leave a request in the comment section below.
Team Wetu LATAM has expanded our Spanish and Portuguese support and training collateral.
Our Supplier Team has welcomed hundreds of new hospitality products from across the globe, teaching them to use Wetu to their advantage, amongst other tricks: how a hotel should highlight its COVID-19 safety measures; how a safari camp should showcase on-site activities; and how a lodge should promote its Specials.
We’re all exploring ways to diversify our business, but there are some parts of the old normal we at Wetu look forward to resuming… like billing our clients in full again.😄 We just want to bring our entire team back to work full-time, doing what they do best – for our clients.
As we see it, there are several positives ahead:
- Everything will be so much cleaner with everyone following COVID-19 safety precautions
- Top destinations will see less overtourism and more sustainable tourism
- Demand for more variety and fewer crowds will funnel tourism spend to lesser-known sites and cities
- More flexible cancellation policies will support postponements over cancellations
- Once regional travel takes off, local travellers will increase support for local economies
- Growing trend of digital nomads who stay longer in-destination than any other traveller
- Independent, self-drive or guided, small group travel, with personal space and freedom of movement as the new luxury experience
- Joint marketing as destinations work with hospitality, activity and tour operating companies, to listen, learn and benefit together
- Greater investment in digital agility will enable travel brands to recover faster from future challenges, even beyond COVID-19
Why do they call it the novel coronavirus? It’s a long story.
So cheers to the most ‘Fri-yay’ December ever. We’re grateful this year of (plenty) headaches is over. Because it’s been hard to just survive. Because, even though the end of 2020 does not mean the end of COVID-19, we know there is (if we focus right) light at the end of this tunnel. Yes, things will be different, but different doesn’t automatically mean bad. We’ve come this far – we can go further still!
Let’s take the lessons we’ve learned, get some rest, and return in January, ready to rumble. After all, people will always want to travel, and together we’ll be ready to take them on the next adventure.