How Travel Professionals Can Find Success in the Post-Pandemic Boom
By: Olivia Liveng and Carly Orris
One industry that suffered catastrophic losses globally throughout the COVID-19 pandemic was travel. As the world carefully begins to open again, the public is anxious to resume traveling as they had known prior. And entrepreneurs and businesses in this travel sphere can capitalize on this post-pandemic boom should they understand the consumer trends.
Many travelers may be hesitant to jump right back into hotels and short-term solutions. Additionally, because most businesses have been working remotely for months, simultaneous “work and travel” opportunities will be heightened. Therefore, it may be necessary to pivot strategies from traditional short-term tourists and focus more on remote workers, sanitary conditions, and marketing towards “digital nomads.”
Redirect focus to remote workers.
Every destination has its high and low seasons, but utilizing your properties and businesses year-round as remote working destinations may be imperative post-COVID. The vast majority of employees worked remotely throughout the pandemic.
Kyle Biskit, CEO of California-based TSL Rentals, created his company to help house consumers looking to get away for a shorter time. Still, exciting features like high-speed WiFi for remote workers understand the trend. “If people are working from home, my vision is they escape their typical homebody surroundings and have the same access to everything they’d have had in an office,” said Biskit.
Tara Cappel, the CEO, and founder of Sojrn’s parent company, FTLO Travel, was able to revolve her company around remote workers. Sojrn didn’t hesitate to pivot with the onset of COVID and now hosts month-long “study abroad” programs for adults. Cappel found a solution for entrepreneurs aspiring to travel but still had to work full time.
The thesis behind Sojrn was: If people can easily take their work with them, how long might they go for?
From this rhetorical question, she put together the idea of Sojrn. “A month-long program would have been inconceivable for most professionals pre-pandemic, but now Sojrn has a waitlist of over 4,000 people of all ages and industries looking to spend four weeks abroad with us while they work remotely,” she said. But there is still a need to ensure responsibility:
Travel is even more complicated and confusing right now with regulations changing almost daily and rules being different for each country. Keep your FAQ page up to date, send out email updates frequently, and make sure your customer service response time is one of your highest priorities.
Make long-term stays an option.
With remote workers rising so dramatically, properties will want to make deals with long-term stays. Why should a consumer spend money to work in a new destination and not reap the benefits of a paycheck and settling in?
Cassie Shih, the CEO of Tripsha Travel, a marketplace for independently-led group trips, decided to incentivize more extended travel by offering discounts for multiple bookings amidst the pandemic. “Some travelers are looking to string together multiple trips into a longer workcation,” she said.
This option for her consumers allows them to create the trip they’re looking for at a fast pace versus relaxed and rejuvenating, or even the opportunity to have both. Shih also believes that those crammed schedules into a few days of travel are a thing of the past.
“Flexibility is key. If you can offer a mix and match where people can come for one or two weeks and optional add-on activities, travelers are more likely to find a schedule and tempo that suits them,” she said. “The days of the printed-out schedule with a 9:00 AM breakfast are long gone.”
[Related: The Power of the Pivot]
Flexibility is key to moving forward.
What the Fab travel blogger Elise Armitage has cautiously begun exploring again and has noticed the dire state of the travel industry: Countless businesses have folded. They may not handle their average capacity of visitors.
While businesses are suffering, consumers are struggling, as well. No one knows what is happening with the virus, so all parties need to be flexible with how the travel business operates.
Harsh Patil has been attempting to be one step ahead of the virus always. Understanding variables can change at the drop of a hat. Patil is the CEO of xplor.earth, a concierge service that helps make authentic, exclusive, tailor-made itineraries to match consumers’ interests and travel pace. Due to the pandemic, the bespoke travel company used the opportunity to familiarize themselves thoroughly and become experts of all their destinations.
“The most important element, especially given the pandemic, in bespoke travel is to know the destinations one recommends,” said Patil. “You have to visit yourself so that one can relate and provide comfort. Knowing that the people that offer on-ground services like transport, the guides, activities, and the places that one visits or eats at — all of these have to be vetted firsthand to ensure that they maintain strict safety protocols. You have to trust them one hundred percent to keep your clients healthy.”
Tripsha’s Shih agrees that flexibility is vital. Tripsha offers mix and match opportunities, putting the consumer’s interest first. “We’ve found that travelers are more likely to find a schedule and tempo that suits them when given the options,” she said.
Now is the time for the travel industry to capitalize on creative opportunities that the new normal provides, even outside direct tourism. Being able to redirect business plans to new strategies will open up revenue and the chance to make income differently than previously expected. Times are changing, and these entrepreneurs are happy to roll out new models to keep their businesses moving forward.
Olivia Liveng (nee Balsinger) is an experienced storytelling coach, brand strategist, entertainment producer, and Liveng Public Relations CEO, an agency amplifying hospitality, tourism, and female voices. She’s also an award-winning travel journalist, with bylines in Fodors, Forbes, New York Post, and Business Insider, and LA Style. Find her on Instagram at @livliveng.
Carly Orris is a freelance writer and publicist based in New York. Her writing focuses on female empowerment, travel, entertainment, and lifestyle. Find her on Instagram at @carlyorris.
Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.