This pandemic is the toughest crisis the travel industry has faced, but we are a tenacious and resilient bunch.

We survived Iceland’s volcanic ash clouds, Cape Town’s drought, and even the launch of Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Travel will recover from COVID-19, but waiting for those first signs of recovery is hard, mentally and emotionally. After drowning our sorrows in Netflix, we decided to find 3 survival strategies that can be actioned right now, while we wait. 

Here’s what we came up with… in addition to wanting all predator interactions banned from tourism forever (thank you, Tiger King).

Strategy #1: Self-care Is Key

When the air hostess tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others with theirs, it’s because you’re no good to anyone if you run out of air. That’s why our first survival strategy is self-care. Take 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:

✔Eating enough nutritious food

Taking moderate daily exercise

Sleeping soundly at night

The stress and anxiety caused by this crisis is enough to send anybody under their duvet with a stash 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 at home. All you need to do is 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 you into a peaceful, sleepy state. 

It’s worth scouting Google Play or the Apple Store for recommendations, but here are our favorite all-in-one apps that offer 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 marketing needs right now.

Those dreamers who are making travel plans while stuck in lockdown or isolation will value your anecdotes and authentic recommendations. It may be months before their dreams turn into enquiries and bookings, but it’s never too soon to inspire someone. 

Content sells, so feed their daydreams with beautiful images, videos and virtual tours, along with your expertise. Facebook and Instagram are great channels for sharing travel inspiration with existing and potential customers, especially your personal travel anecdotes about the journeys and moments you’ll never forget. 

Invite your clients to share their unforgettable travel stories too, and start a conversation that will reach their friends and families. Pay attention to those who ask specific questions, and make it easy for them to keep in touch with you. You can invite them to follow your social channels, or to 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 is a powerful motivation for clients to book with you.

Strategy #3: Be A Boom Prepper

We expect recovery to happen in a staggered way around the globe, depending on how the pandemic has impacted different regions. There are some data-based predictions about the phases of recovery we can prepare for, based on what happened after events like the Global Financial Crisis and natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy.

There’s strong support for the first bookings being regional, as people travel to reunite with family and friends. We anticipate travellers will feel more confident about booking local hospitality brands, and find comfort in visiting familiar destinations. We also expect them to actively 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 travel dreams, including journeys that were delayed by travel bans, lifelong travel goals, and those inspired during lockdown. We expect small group travel to be particularly popular, as well as locally guided experiences in bucket list destinations. 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 staggered lifting of travel bans. Booms are highly competitive as everybody scrambles to recover their cash flow; so it’s essential to be prepared.

Here is our Boom Prepper strategy:

Share inspirational travel content on your social media channels and in client newsletters – feature 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.

Let’s work together to get through this crisis. Let’s feed the dreamers stuck in lockdown or self-isolation around the world, and get ready to turn their dreams into bookings when our industry recovers.  

Do you have any survival strategies to share? Comment below or join the conversation on our social channels.

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