Light at the End of the Tunnel: Overcoming Tourism Volatility

It’s easy to get caught up in panic mode when your business is faced with immediate threats from viral outbreaks, geopolitics and global economic pressures. In a recent article, Resilient Businesses Need Relationships, I talked about how businesses and teams that relate better with each other, their clients, vendors and mission are able to recover from adversity much faster than those who care only about the bottom line. 

Yes, it is important that you are taking steps today to ensure that your business is stable during this volatility. It is just as, if not more important, that you emerge from the current crisis stronger, able to quickly recuperate loses and get back to profitability. This applies as much to natural disaster as it does to tumult caused by geopolitics, economic tumbles, terrorism, Coronavirus or global panic.

Here are four things you should be doing now to ensure that your business succeeds…

Check in on People

Reach out to the people who matter most to your business to see that they’re ok. These may be your customers, vendors, partners and, most importantly, your employees. Take a few minutes to hear how each is holding up, to share your own hopes for recovery and to let them know that you care. Remember, you are making these calls to check in on the people who matter, not the sales they bring you, rates they give or work they produce. Human connections matter most. 

Be Flexible

Travel professionals remember two types of suppliers – the ones who helped them out of a tough situation and those who put them in a bind.  Being flexible, understanding and willing to work with your customers to find solutions strengthens the business relationship and reaffirms that you are the person they should be working with. This trust will follow you throughout your career, whether you’re selling a destination, accommodations, lodging, experiences or some other service travel professionals rely on. When the dust settles, the first vendors they want to thank with new business are those who stood by them during a rough patch.

Prepare Product

This is the perfect time to prepare new product, put together new packages, interesting programs and new itineraries. Create special and limited time offers that make use of excess inventories and discounted rates for airfare, lodging, etc. Take advantage of cabin fever by having great product and new experiences ready to go when the panic subsides and people are eager to get out. These are also great for generating quick cash flow, helping recover any losses you might have incurred.

Promote Long Term

This is especially true for industry suppliers and destination marketers. More than 80% of travel professionals plan a year or more in advance of the actual trips they put together.  Use this time to promote the experiences, activities and value your product offers. While your competitors are focused on today’s business, you have a chance to launch ahead of your competitive set. Ensure that your product is top of mind as buyers think about ways to dig out from the current slump. Demonstrate that you are optimistic and that you believe in your customers’ ability to overcome adversity by promoting both seasonal and evergreen features. 

Things you can do now to solidify those long term relationships: