Amidst your personal frustration about a renewed closure of your Tour, Activity or Attraction, do not forget that your participants are also disappointed. They were looking forward to a great experience, wanted to redeem a gift or treat themselves after the first lockdown.
Since we are all in this situation together, you should definitely make a point of maintaining a close relationship of trust and understanding with your customers. No stalling tactics, no retreating to unclear descriptions, but open, transparent dealings combined with the request to understand your situation. In this way you can not only ensure liquidity, but also build up regular customers in the mid-term. And regular customers are your anchor in a crisis.
Dealing with cancellations
Cancellation requests will be one of the first things you need to deal with. This is doubly annoying, of course, as they cost you time and negatively impact revenue. But you can start with both disadvantages: On the one hand, you can try to convince your customers to book a new appointment instead of canceling. On the other hand, an online booking system helps you to have as little effort as possible in handling cancellations.
These are the advantages of an online booking system in dealing with cancellations in case of a new lockdown:
- Cancellations can be accepted without any manual effort
- Notifications by email will run automatically
- Reversal of payment also takes place automatically
- Availabilities are adjusted in real-time on all sales channels
- Your overview of all bookings / cancellations is also adapted immediately
- Resource availability, such as rooms and equipment, is also updated
Liquidity during the crisis
Whether regionally limited or more extensive, whether short-term or long-term – a new lockdown is a crisis. First and foremost, because your income is declining or even lost, while you are still incurring costs. You have to, therefore, shift your attention from maximising profits to ensuring your solvency / liquidity.
Steps you can take immediately to increase liquidity:
- Engage with your regular customers to support you.
- Encourage customers to (re-)book future dates, e.g. through free upgrades
- Start pushing hard on voucher sales
- Start discount campaigns or the sale of additional articles
All details about vouchers can be found in the blog.
To help you find a little inspiration, we have put together some of the most interesting examples of other experience providers from the first lockdown in a separate blog post. Here you can find your way around and you will notice that some things are not as difficult to implement as they might seem at first glance – whether it’s voucher business, special offers, discounts, creating new products, addressing local customers, converting your offer into online experiences or implementing hygiene measures.
View of the time after the lockdown
As we have witnessed after the first lockdown, booking and subscriber numbers return to pre-crisis levels within a relatively short time after reopening. In some cases, catch-up effects can even be seen, i.e. above-average revenues that compensate for the previous losses. For all these developments, however, the following applies: you have to be prepared to transform them into a benefit, most easily done through a booking system.
Keep up engagement while you wait:
- Improve customer relations with updated texts, pictures and videos
- Stay in touch through active contributions to your social media channels
- Increase your reach by activating new marketing channels
- Optimize your website for better conversion
- Physical preparations for reopening (checking stocks, cleaning / repairs / renovations, etc.)
You can find more tips in our blog.
That’s why you should start expanding your marketing network now:
- Marketing partners usually work with commission models, there are no or low costs
- Platforms will carry out their own marketing activities to bridge the lockdown
- Marketing partners are supported by additional services.
Measures for rapid re-opening
In order to comply with the conditions for reopening, you will have to meet many strict criteria. Not knowing where to focus your limited energy and resources is a risk. We have therefore compiled the three most important measures in the right order:
1. Hygiene measures
The basis of all further efforts is the implementation of basic hygiene measures – for employees, for surfaces, for equipment and for future guests. Essential components are protective clothing, regular disinfection and cleaning, free masks for visitors if necessary, and clearly communicated procedures for contact and handovers.
2. Participant / guest management
Starting with limiting your own capacity to maintain the required distances between all participants, measuring the current number of participants, contactless ticket sales, preventing queues by using time slot tickets, and entry/exit control, the technical setup forms the second step. Find out more about time slot tickets and further possibilities here.
3. Ticket sales & marketing
Online ticket sales will be a must, so the switch to digital tickets and the integration of these functions on your own website are part of the third step, which will also help you increase and optimize sales. Publishing your experience other sales channels as well as their automatic synchronization with all previous steps ensure you can rapidly scale your own marketing efforts to attract new customers quickly.
Outlook and opportunity for the tours and activities sector
Whether due to official regulations or to reticence and scepticism, people will travel less and choose destinations closer to home. In this respect, there is a threefold chance for experience offers that you can take advantage of:
- Experiences will take the place of long distance travel
- Tours and activities allow visitors to experience a well-known area in a different way
- Domestic trips consist of or are supplemented by several experiences
You can now also prepare for this by following these recommendations:
- “Re-brand” your offer as a special holiday experience with suitable texts and pictures
- Team up with other companies in your region and combine your offers
- Create additional features or upgrades for vacationers
- Make sure that you can be found, e.g. via Google or marketing platforms
You can find more details about preparing for vacationers in our blog post.
You want to use the lockdown to get to know the booking system better? Or you are already convinced, but would like more info? Then book a short, non-binding demo for bookingkit.
Conclusion: What we have learned from the crisis so far
Although countries across the globe have been affected in very different ways and reopening steps are very individual to each country or region, there are some trends that can be seen across all national borders.
- Domestic tourism will be possible again much before international tourism. So it will be all the more important to target customers from your region and your country with your offers.
- There is no way around online offers anymore. No matter what you offer your customers: In the future, they will book leisure experiences online from the comfort of their own homes even more often. A trend that has been emerging for years and has been further strengthened by the crisis. The contactless reservation and booking of your offers has advantages not only for your customers but also for you. With the right booking software the reach of your business increases and through automated processes you can concentrate fully on your offer with minimal administrative effort.
To provide you with even more best practice examples and industry insights, we have created our bookingkit Facebook Community. Get new information first and share your strategies and actions with other vendors, OTAs and partners.