The new coronavirus outbreak has taken all in the tourism industry by surprise. As the countries around the world implement measures to restrict the circulation and encourage the social isolation of their citizens, it seems there is not much to do but waiting for the worst.
I regret (not really) to tell you this, but I’m afraid you’re wrong!
Do not just give up and sit around with your arms crossed. Take advantage of this quarantine to reinvent your business, build marketing strategies and grow professionally.
The post-corona world belongs to the ones that haven’t given up and instead are trying to learn with the adversities.
In order to help you cross all this doom and gloom, we’ve gathered 5 initiatives from different industry veterans and experts that have popped on the internet lately.
I hope that the tour operators who read this article can benefit from it at any level and get ready for the industry turnaround that will take place soon.
1) TripAdvisor one-on-one consultations to optimize tour products
This initiative by TripAdvisor/Viator aims to assist the travel community by providing complimentary 30-minute consultations with their team. During this time, one member of TripAdvisor will perform a revision of your products and account. Their main goal is to help optimize tourism products by using the best practices.
What to expect:
- Audit of your existing account
- Tips to improve your product page
- Training and overview of self-management tools
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Tailored, in-language support
You can schedule an appointment by clicking here. So far there are available dates until 13/05.
2) 1hr session to discuss operators business strategies and actions to take during 2020
The industry veteran and expert Peter Syme (Splash White Water Rafting), is also offering one-to-one calls to help tour businesses. Besides all his expertise on conducting a successful tour business over the years, he is also a virtual and tech expert for the tourism industry.
A call with him can open your eyes to alternatives during this period, and also give you important insights regarding how to act during this crisis.
Schedule a session with him through this link. He has available dates until 28/05.
3) FREE download “Lookers into Bookers” and “Coronavirus Marketing Battle Plan”
The marketing expert Chris Torres (Tourism Marketing Agency) has made his book, “How to Turn your Online Bookers into Lookers”, available for free. It contains 400 pages of practical digital marketing advice with downloadable worksheets and video guides.
This valuable material is a must-read for tour operators. From social media to google ads, learn how to sell online efficiently and prepare to rock when the industry warms up. The book can be downloaded here.
Also from Chris, “Coronavirus Marketing Battle Plan: Marketing Through the Crisis”, is a more assertive response to the coronavirus crisis. This guide is a roadmap full of feasible solutions to tackle the downturn in sales and keep a minimum cashflow during this period. Download it here.
4) COVID-19 traveler trends tracker and COVID-19 insights on travel impact
Data is the best medicine against uncertainty and volatility. That being said, it is important to gear up your business with accurate and relevant data in order to plan your next steps.
But… where to find reliable data during this crisis?
ADARA and Sojern, two travel data companies, are releasing a series of reports regarding the evolution of the pandemic in the tourism industry.
Their reports provide interesting insights for each sector inside the industry that is showing signs of recovery, and they can also point out whom you should center your marketing efforts to.
5) Arival Online: live online events to help tour operators through the crisis
As big events such as ITB Berlin have been canceled, many organizers are launching a number of virtual alternatives. Arival is one of them.
Arival online is a series of webinars held by capable and qualified industry professionals who are ready to share their experience for free. Names like Ben Drew (President, Viator) and Tao Tao (Co-founder, Get your Guide), are taking their time during this crisis to share their impressions and knowledge to help Tours and Activities get back on its feet.
Attending these webinars is a great opportunity to learn and exchange experiences with industry peers. After all, you are not alone! We are all in this together.
Sign up for the next webinar here.
6) [BONUS] Free online courses list
One of the main advice for this quarantine is: STUDY!
If you have your head together and discipline for that, great! If not, don’t worry, not everybody has the energy to save the business and study at the same time, and it is fine.
To the ones interested in learning and growing professionally, some of the most renowned universities are offering several online courses for free (they usually cost between 1,500 and 2,500 USD).
7) [BONUS] Tourmageddon: resource hub for tourism businesses
Despite the apocalyptic name, tourmageddon is a reliable source of information during this pandemic.
The website gathers all sorts of resources such as news, tools, ideas and plans related to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the tourism industry. Plus, it also works as a bridge connecting people in need to the ones offering help.
If you are looking for a lot of information and also for help dealing with cancellations and restructuring your business, this is the right place for you.
Since this article was posted, other great initiatives have come up. Down below you can check out some of them.
8) Tour guide courses
As tourists start to pop up again, the competition to guide them will be fierce. Thinking on the upcoming recovery, EastguidesWest has launched 3 courses in order to develop tourism professionals skills.
1. Stop Human Trafficking
- What is human trafficking?
- Where does human trafficking occur?
- Who are the victims of human trafficking?
2. How to price an amazing tour
- How to make your business more profitable
- What western tourists will / will not pay or
- To dynamically price tours / services
3. How to design an amazing tour
- How experiences beat tours
- What guests want (not what you want)
- How to create the “WOW” factor
Apply for their courses by clicking here.
9) Tourpreneur daily brief
Information is the best weapon to fight back coronavirus, and Tourpreneur has long been a reliable source of quality information for tour operators around the world.
In addition to its famous podcasts, the website releases a daily brief with all free upcoming webinars as well as all major news in the tour and activities sector from the last 24 hours.
To subscribe for the daily brief and receive all this information in your email, access their website here and fill up the form on the right sidebar.
10) Vista Destination Network
This downturn is showing that tourism and technology can and should be integrated. When the market starts to breathe again, in-destination Hospitality and Tourism businesses will be in disadvantage compared to the giant tech agencies.
To help destinations be more competitive and at the same time empower their tourism ecosystem, Rainmaker has developed a platform that seamlessly integrates all the tourism businesses inside a particular destination.
An efficient destination meets tourists’ expectations better, increasing their spends onsite and creating conditions to develop sustainable tourism.
Learn more about this initiative here.