Survival hasn’t been easy and there’s still a way to go as we take strategic steps forward, and shift from response mode into action.

Anticipating those first signs of business after the pandemic has been hard, mentally and emotionally. Thank goodness we’re a tenacious, resilient bunch.

As the saying goes: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. We considered what can be done right now as we prepare for the full resumption of travel. Here’s what we came up with…

Strategy #1: Self-care is key

An air hostess tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others with theirs – that’s because you’re no good to anyone if you run out of air. And that’s why our first survival strategy is self-care: care of your mental and physical health, so that you can care for your business, customers and colleagues.

Experts generally agree that our well-being depends on:

  • Getting enough nutrition
  • Taking moderate daily exercise
  • Sleeping soundly at night

Stress and anxiety make us want to dash under the duvet with a slab of chocolate and Instagram for company. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a Duvet Day when you feel overwhelmed, but ‘Day’ is key… You don’t need an expert to tell you that a Duvet Month isn’t healthy. 

We’re techies; so, apps are our go-to solution for finding fitness, foodie tutorials and emotional support. Find the app that works for you, create a daily schedule that includes healthy meals, at least 30 minutes of exercise, and a bedtime routine that helps ease you into a peaceful, sleepy state. 

Scout around Google Play or the Apple Store for recommendations, but here are our favourite all-in-one apps for fitness, food and meditation:

  1. Asana Rebel
  2. Centr
  3. Noom

Strategy #2: Remember your why

Remember why you love the travel industry? It’s the reason you are passionate about what you do, and why you’ve been on so many incredible journeys. Remember your ‘why’ because that solid-gold positivity is exactly what your team needs right now coming back to work.

Remember and share past travel anecdotes with your teammates. It’s a way to touch base and remind yourself and each other why you’re in this business and why you remain loyal to your brand. 

Take turns within your teams to publicly share your experiences, reminding your clients why you are still the experts and why they trust you. Your company blog, Facebook and Instagram pages are great channels for sharing travel stories about the journeys and moments you’ll never forget. 

Invite your clients to share their unforgettable stories too, and start a conversation that will reach their friends and families. It’s a way to re-connect and keep your finger on the pulse of new demand. So, pay attention to those who ask specific questions, and spin them into ideas for improving your offerings down the line. You should definitely invite them to follow your social channels and subscribe to your newsletters.

This strategy will keep you connected with your existing customers and bring you new ones, but it’s also an authentic expression of why you work in travel and love this industry. And that’s a powerful motivation for clients to book with you.

Strategy #3: Be a boom prepper

As travel resumes in a staggered way around the globe, take note of the data-based predictions, based on what happened after events like the Global Financial Crisis and natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy.

First comes regional travel as people plan long-awaited reunions with family and friends. Travellers will likely feel more confident about booking local hospitality brands for a good while still, and find comfort in visiting familiar destinations. We expect they’ll want to support local tourism businesses impacted by the crisis.

The second wave of travel bookings is expected to come from travellers who want to fulfil their bucket-list dreams, including journeys that were delayed by travel bans and new interests that developed during lockdown. We expect small group travel to be particularly popular, as well as locally guided experiences. Statistically, adventurous travellers are likely to jump on opportunities to book curated, niche itineraries.

The general consensus is that travel will recover in a series of mini-booms driven by a combination of pent-up demand and the shifting restrictions. Booms are highly competitive as everybody scrambles to recover their cash flow; so, preparation is essential.

Our Boom Prepper strategy:

  • Share inspirational travel content in your social media channels and newsletters, featuring regional destinations with family-friendly accommodations and activities.
  • Sprinkle your marketing with bucket-list activities and destinations. It’s ideal if you can promote what you (or someone in your team) have personally experienced.
  • Blend in your best travel stories. Travellers will want the reassurance of booking with an expert; so share tips, insights and anecdotes to demonstrate your knowledge
  • Take a critical look at your business. Are your processes and software ready to handle the coming boom? You have a precious opportunity to improve how you do what you do.

It’s sweet consolation knowing you’re not in this alone. Together we can make lemonade, continuing to feed the dreamers emerging from lockdowns – and prepare to turn their travel dreams into bookings.

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