Preparing for tourism recovery after Coronavirus

Well, where to start, let’s look at the turn of the year. I for one was excited, I’d just agreed to start a new role with Vox Group and things were looking bright and breezy, I was ready for a new challenge within the industry. I’d seen a few articles about Coronavirus in China on the news, but at that point it was far enough away to maybe not worry about, and to think that the Chinese had this under control and that it would soon be a distant memory. Well, we all know what happened next, and we all know where we are right now. The tourism industry has been hit extremely hard and needs to prepare for recovery.

There is light at the end of the tunnel

I posted an article recently on Linkedin talking about the recovery stage and the “light at the end of the tunnel”. I truly believe that we all need to be focused on this event but, when we enter the light, will it be the same light that we have always known, or will be different? Do you think that the light will be where social distancing is the new “norm”? Will group travel be changed forever? Will the FIT be looking for even more independence? I guess right now we can’t be sure. What we do know though is that we need to be prepared for whatever the light brings.

Now is the time to prepare for recovery

Right now and quite rightly so, most of us will have had our focus on the here and now, how can we protect my team? What can we do financially? Can we survive? Will we survive? What should we cut back? This is only practical, after all this is our business, our people, colleagues and friends. Many of us have had to make very difficult decisions over these past weeks to try and protect all of these areas and do the right thing by the wider community to stop the spread of this awful virus and aid recovery. At some point though we all have to stop and start to look forward to this new future, and begin to prepare for it.

Four pointers for tourism recovery

So here are my pointers for what and how to prepare for tourism recovery.

1) Time
Once the dust has settled and decisions have been made, we need to review the time management of our teams, what are the expectations of our people? How can we use them in different ways, can we give them projects on development of what we do? How can we make the most of this quiet period? We all normally claim we are just “too busy” but now maybe, we have that bit more time to think. Let’s use it wisely.

2) Product Development
Linked to the above nicely, surely now is the time to think about how we develop our business and what we offer, as said it could be a whole new world, so how will we meet and greet this new consumer, what will they look like? What will they want? Will people feel comfortable again being surrounded by hordes of other people? What do we need to do to be able to offer something new? It’s important that we break down what we do right now and make changes that ensure we will be meeting consumer demand while we have the opportunity.

3) Technology
What better time to work on tech projects than now, as this could be key to the future of your business. We all need to be aware that our competition will likely be doing the same. Should we wait on tech developments then when the market picks up find ourselves behind the competition because we didn’t react in time? I think we know the answer. We must make sure that we are making the most of our tech. Whether it’s our in-house team or our tech partners, pick up the phone and have the discussion.

4) Partnerships
I’m sure some people feel that tech changes and additional products, or increased marketing are a cost and right now we don’t need to be spending money. They are not a cost but an investment! Be positive, we are an industry of partnerships, so reach out, we need to be generating business and now is just the time to get a great deal. There are partners who will support you and who are prepared to offer an opportunity with a shared responsibility. However you won’t know unless you ask, you won’t know if you don’t listen. So be prepared to take that call or make that call to find out!

Together we are stronger

My final point regarding being prepared is this, no person or business is an island. Now is the time more than ever to work together, listen to those around you, talk to those in our industry, ask questions, reach out, ask for support, and engage. There are some great webinars, great articles and blogs on all these subjects, take advantage of others’ knowledge and willingness to help. We will come through this, we are resilient, we are an amazing industry and above all we are strong, but stronger together!

What is Vox Group doing?

Vox has always invested heavily in the future and it’s paying off. We are focused on creating and developing new and engaging audio/visual city guide content and experiences, which are delivered by mobile technology and which enhance the customer journey. This is delivered through our stand-alone application Pop Guide or can seamlessly work within an already established app.
Our products can help support businesses and when the time comes, increase revenue through offering unique and enhanced features, including Unmissable Visits and walking tour itineraries.
Our solutions need no investment and can be tailored for you.

If what I say makes sense and resonates with you, or makes you structure your priorities a little differently and look to this time of recovery with some renewed vigour and hope, then that will certainly make my ever increasing drive to share knowledge and grow partnerships a little bit more of a reality.

I would love to be able to listen to your needs and look at how we can partner to create success in the future so feel free to drop me a line at andrew.lawrence@voxtours.com