COVID-19 is still ravaging the world and many destinations are scrambling to recover and prepare themselves for a new future.
Currently, COVID-19 has forced governments to impose curfews and close all non-essential businesses. Many travel destinations are preparing for a rebound that will kick-start their economies and put people back to work across both in hospitality and other industries.
Tourism destinations have suffered millions of dollars in loss of revenue and the unemployment rate is unprecedented. This is because travel is the bread and butter for holiday destinations like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, as well as popular resorts everywhere. Many have been wiped out by COVID-19 and there is no clear idea as to when they might revive.
While there is a genuine concern regarding the dangers associated with a return to normal, entire countries and individuals cannot be expected to remain on lockdown for a long period of time, with the occasional trip to the supermarket being the only thing that gives persons a sense of normalcy. Therefore, tourism destinations need to prepare to rebound post-COVID-19.
This article will discuss some important steps that tourism destinations are taking to prepare themselves for a COVID rebound.
Set the Rules
Since this COVID pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for all parts of society, there is no rulebook for travel destinations to play by. Travel-related business must now set guidelines on how to proceed when countries open their borders after a pandemic.
The only way the hospitality industry can go from here is up. It cannot be confined to the old way of doing things as it will be left behind in the dust.
Destinations should ensure that they set down their new protocols for tourists in an efficient manner so that they are well aware of what to expect when they arrive. This can be done through their social media platforms as well as any other medium used to communicate with travellers.
Hotels and tourism companies must show that they are the trusted source of information on their destinations during these perilous times. This will mark them as the authority on their destination and they will be seen as leaders in the industry.
In order to survive in these critical times, travel destinations and tourism-related businesses must be less competitive and more open to working with their rivals in the industry.
Instead of maligning the competition, they must join forces with them so that everyone can, not only survive, but come out on top.
Adopting a collective mindset is the only way to move forward and achieve success.
Using Trusted Voices
It is highly unlikely that the COVID-19 crisis will end by the beginning of July. In May alone, the travel industry has suffered cataclysmic financial losses and if visitors continue to stay away, who knows how this will affect the industry in the long-term.
However, life goes on and living in fear and isolation until a cure is found is not a realistic approach.
People will want to leave home to go on vacation at some point and, as places begin re-open to the public, some persons have already begun travelling closer to home.
Once people resume travelling to other locations, hotels and tourism destinations need to be able to persuade travellers to visit their destinations and stay at their hotel. Many destinations worldwide are preparing for the “new normal” of travel by using trusted voices to get the message across to potential customers.
A comprehensive case study on this can be found on barbados.org where they share research and thoughts on how to plan for the future “new normal”.
Show Don’t Tell
It is highly unlikely that things will ‘soon be back to normal’.
This is a time of widespread fear – for both lives and financial stability. Travel destinations need to show travellers that they will be safe in their hands. Simply telling them that they will be safe is not enough.
They need to show travellers the types of safety measures they have put in place. Instead of only writing about them in a social media post, they need to post a visual, such as a photo or video. This move has the potential to jumpstart the summer season for these destinations but it needs to be done right.
Monitoring the Current Climate
While is no way that travel destinations and the travel industry can advise persons as to whether or not they should be travelling this summer, US travel journalists report that there is a high demand for content related to summer vacation plans. This means that, despite the pandemic, people are still planning to go on vacation this year.
The tourism industry needs to monitor the news and media for the latest updates on events happening on the world stage.
The news is usually the first place to look for a daily dose of current information. If there are any fresh developments, they will likely appear on the news first.
Following various travel journalists is also a good move. As these travel experts are directly affected by the current crisis, they will be on the lookout for safe ways to travel.
They share their experiences and advice with their subscribers and this information could also prove invaluable to the travel industry.
There is currently no set protocol for how destinations can and should prepare for the COVID-19 rebound. At present, the world is still in the midst of the crisis and there are no predictions for the future.
But, as was mentioned before, life must go on and all must now begin to prepare for the “new normal”.