How to cope with times of crisis in the tours and activities industry?

Branchen News, Industry news, Tipps, Tips, Tricks  Christian Blume

 

In times of crisis, such as the current one caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus, providers of tours and activities worldwide face unexpected challenges. Above all, the demand for tourist offers and leisure experiences evaporates virtually overnight. Official travel restrictions are imposed and recommendations are communicated to avoid certain regions and countries. But also the uncertainty of customers looking for offers in their vicinity leads to the cancellation of already confirmed bookings and no new bookings are made. What remains is the question of how you, as a supplier of tours and activities, deal with this situation and what options for action are available to you.

Through the constant exchange with our customers we have established a broad knowledge network and have compiled best-practice recommendations for you, which should show you how other suppliers and the market react to the crisis.

In times of crisis cash is king

The cancellation of new bookings and the absence of existing ones can threaten the livelihood of Tour & Activity Providers. Employees must continue to be paid, room rents are due and further fixed costs are also incurred, crisis situation or not. During this time it is even more important to concentrate first and foremost on generating cashflow. Therefore our first suggestion is simple: Change your focus from profit to turnover. While we cannot be sure of the timeline, we can be certain that the situation is temporary, the effects of Corona will be reduced and, when the crisis is over, new customers will be interested in your offer again. We want to show you a few ways how you can get ready now and achieve immediate revenue:

Focus 100% on online pre-orders and direct checkout. You can encourage your customers to make immediate bookings by creating the right incentives to do so, even if the actual performance is still far in the future. Plan temporary discount campaigns for new bookings, even for the summer or fall season. In this way, you can ensure that the turnover lands on your bank account immediately.

Engage your most loyal customers and encourage them to make new bookings through special offers. These could be 2-for-1 ticket promotions, for example. Alternatively, you can offer them free upgrades and additional services (e.g. souvenir photos, free drinks or giveaways).

April is fast approaching and the current crisis will most probably still put a damper on the Easter season. Nevertheless, the holidays are a great opportunity for you to sell vouchers, provided your product allows it. Your customers will now be looking for gifts which can be purchased mainly online and redeemed at a later date, and here you can benefit directly as 100% of the value of the voucher will be credited to your account immediately.

What you can advance during the crisis

Talking about concepts like opportunities and possibilities in a persistent crisis is a difficult undertaking. But so long as you are still in the position to execute basic operations for your business, you should now focus on tackling exactly those strategic projects which you have not had time for in the past.

Many vendors are using their freed-up capacity to reposition themselves and discover future expansion opportunities for their business. They are planning additional products and revising their marketing activities. We have talked to vendors in the industry and many are currently even converting their entire booking system.

It is usually difficult to deal with lengthy projects like this one during a high season, and that is precisely when the effects of these new initiatives can be felt the most. It is not only a question of the lack of time, but also of avoiding possible sources of error and ensuring that new systems and measures are launched seamlessly and in a coordinated way. A small number of active bookings allows you to try out processes and familiarize yourself with them at your leisure, and with much less risk.

Make sure that your business and your offers are prepared for the future. Take a close look at your current approach and strategies and pinpoint what you can improve. After all, the better your business performs throughout the year, the less impact you will have during difficult times. Here’s what you can do:

 

Bring your content up to date

Regardless whether your advertising material consists of a website, social media profile or printed flyers, remember that your external appearance is important for the visibility of your business and the trust of your customers in your offer. High-quality content can help you position your brand even better and achieve a higher conversion rate:

Use high-resolution photos to make your offers visually more appealing. If you don’t have the opportunity to take high-quality photos yourself, use one of the many stock photo databases on the Internet. There you will find professional photos that you can use for your content or simply use the stock photos as a source of inspiration for your own ideas.

Good video content gives the best impression of what your customers can expect from your offer. Whether you introduce yourself in a short interview or preview your experience is about, moving images trigger emotions and it doesn’t matter whether you use drone shots or an action cam. Show everyone what makes you and your offer unique.

Is your corporate design up-to-date? If you work with different marketing platforms and social media channels, you quickly lose track of whether all the channels you use show a cohesive image of your business and remain up to date. A quick glance will already show you what you need to update: Is your logo visible everywhere and in high resolution? Are the corporate colours correct and is your information still accurate?

Take care of your marketing texts. Are you hitting the right tone? Do your customers know everything they need to know? There are many ways to present your company in texts. Choose a language that reaches as many customers as possible and encourage them to book your offer through clear Call to Actions.

 

Activate new channels and platforms

Another great way to use this extra time is by investigating more ways to increase your reach. How many potential customers can discover you and your offer? Are there target groups that you do not yet reach? There are many ways to expand your business and attract new target groups to your tours and activities. You should ask yourself the following questions in this context:

Have you already activated all marketing platforms that are interesting for you? Regardless of whether you use a central booking system that can handle several channels at the same time or whether you manually place your offers on different platforms. By connecting to additional channels, your target group will grow many times over in no time. On some of them you will have to manually adjust your profile with all information and pictures. In any case, take the time to fill out your profile as completely as possible. The more your customers know about you, the more likely they are to choose you as a provider.

Are you ready to inspire international customers? Then look for marketing platforms that allow you to receive bookings from the Asian region, for example. Profit from the European No.1 trend regarding new customers from new markets and connect platforms like Klook and C-Trip to your booking system.

Check if you are currently getting the most out of your booking system. Do you really use all the important functions? Are there any extensions and apps you always wanted to try out? Right now is the time to adapt your booking system to you and your ideas.

If you struggle, we are here to help

In times of crisis things change quickly and especially in difficult phases it is important to have a partner who stands by your side and supports you.

New questions about the current situation are constantly arising. We don’t have all the answers, but through the combined experience of over 6,000 providers with whom we operate, we always learn about the latest developments and receive best practice tips immediately. This is because many of our vendors face the same challenges as you do: Have travel restrictions been set for your region? The city has closed your location? Do you receive (financial) compensation for your losses? Get in touch with us and we can most likely connect you with other tour and activity providers who are having similar experiences as you or have already found solutions and answers. 

Furthermore, bookingkit has set up a crisis fund for our customers, with which we want to help those most affected by the current crisis. So if you feel that we can support you with your base fees, please contact our bookingkit Customer Success staff. They will be happy to advise you on your options to benefit from the fund and on all further steps.

 

Get in touch with us

Christian Blume
Christian is Online Marketing Manager at bookingkit and writes about trends and tips for tour and leisure experience providers. In his spare time he loves to travel and discover new exciting places with his camera.

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