Coronavirus Recovery Guide For Tourism, Cruise, & Hotel Businesses

Travel, cruise, and hotel focused businesses are the worst hit by the Corona pandemic. While most are trying to fight the business damage by reducing staff & pushing pay cuts, more needs to be done to recover from the emergency situation created by COVID-19. That’s why we have decided to provide hotel, cruise, and tourism businesses the strategic support they need to sail through the harsh business climate.

In this blog, Upreports will share a quick business recovery plan that will help hotels, travel & tourism agencies, & cruise companies in keeping their business going and bouncing back quickly when the dust settles. Let’s put the spotlight on the first strategic step of our COVID-19 business recovery guide:

#1 Evaluate your position & tweak strategy

Major impact of COVID-19 triggered travel restrictions & lockdowns has been seen on cancellations of travel, hotel, and cruise bookings. So, the first recommendation of our coronavirus business recovery guide is to evaluate your current business position. Hotels, cruise & tourism businesses must thoroughly review their staff strength, upcoming expenses, quarterly forecasts, and financial reserves.

Relook at your target audience if you have been targeting a niche one. Relook at the pricing models to appeal to a wider set of people. Be prepared to use the findings to tweak your marketing, advertising, and growth plan. 

#2 Target local travelers

The spread of coronavirus has caused nation-wide lockdowns all over the world, causing a severe reduction in international travel for business & leisure. While there is a chance that international travel will be feared for some months, it will be a good idea to put a strategy in place to focus on local travelers.

As soon as the lockdowns are lifted, people will start exploring local travel and leisure options to drive away the quarantine stress. So,  collaborate with your marketing team to plan campaigns, packages, and discounts for local guests. Anchoring your focus completely on local travelers for the next 2 months will help your business jump back from the slowdown.

#3 Tweak business communication & pricing

The environment of fear, uncertainty, and thrift created by the COVID-19 pandemic requires a major overall in your business communication. People have already started caring a lot about hygiene, sanitation, and personal safety. Hence, it will be wise to integrate what people are caring about in your business communication. For instance, hotels make it a policy to sanitize high-risk items (like doorknobs) twice a day. Communicating such recently embraced practices will help you speed up COVID recovery. 

Monitor the pricing trends of hotels, cruises, and tourism businesses under various grades in your state & get going with the changes as well as discounts they are working within. Price cuts are the last thing businesses need right now but it may turn out to be the need of the time.

#4 Put customer safeguards in place

In tandem with the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have observed several scamsters taking advantage of stuck tourists by using random hotel or travel agency names as bait for crimes. Our next tip of the coronavirus business emergency plan is to put customers’ safeguards in place. Let the visitors know how your hotel, cruise or travel business is taking steps to keep their private information secure.

Not everyone in your business needs to see customers’ information. It will be best to limit the access to critical business information. Taking such steps will give your customers a better understanding of how your business is dealing with the Corona crisis.

#5 Channel the power of social media

Tourism, cruise, and hotel businesses majorly operating offline must get online to generate business mileage. Since social media is the most cost effective marketing medium, it would be wise to add it into your business recovery strategy. With the fast-changing market conditions due to Coronavirus pandemic, staying connected with customers has never been more important.

Hotel & tourism businesses should share positive news updates, helpful resources, and special after-COVID discounts to create value for social followers. By posting regular updates on major social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, you can let your potential customers know that your business is still open and adopting measures for their safety.

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#6 Start preparing for rebound

The global spread of COVID-19 has hugely damaged hotel, cruise & tourism agencies but sooner or later, the pandemic is going to go away and it will be business-as-usual (with more focus on hygiene).  So, look at this time as a preparation period to train your team, optimize your processes, and re-strategize to quickly bounce back.

Your hard work now will pay off when local and international travel bans lift and the flow of travelers starts to grow. Hence, your Coronavirus business recovery plan should focus on reducing costs, retaining the best staff, improving customer experience, and tweaking marketing strategies.

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#7 Invest your money in digital marketing

Traditional marketing methods have been delivering less and less returns in the last decade. After COVID-19, it is almost obligatory to seriously consider diversifying your marketing efforts so that there are ample resources of creating bookings and business mileage.

Whether you run a hotel, cruise, or travel agency, online marketing will pay huge rewards in 2020 and future. Hence, consider partnering with a digital marketing and growth agency that can understand your unique goals and deliver results in your budget.

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#8 Think B2B

A lot of businesses will be in bounce-back and restructuring mode when the COVID-forced lockdowns end. Hence, there will be a lot of local & international traveling, business meetings, and accommodation requirements. This is a business opportunity that you need to capitalize on by thinking B2B right now.

Speak with businesses & entrepreneurs in your network to understand their after-Coronavirus schedule and plan tailored packages accordingly. If you have conference rooms and meeting spaces to rent, connect with businesses to book in advance at special discount. In short, think B2B to quickly recover from the COVID-19 crisis. 

#9 Cancellations & refunds policy

To be honest, there is no assurity when the deadly COVID-19 will completely disappear from our lives. This uncertainty accompanied by fear will be making people hesitant about booking travel, cruises, and hotels. So, the next idea in our business recovery plan for Coronavirus is to relook at your cancellations and refunds policy.

Giving travelers the option to cancel their booking at a short notice will help build trust with your guests and make them rebook again later on. 100% refund policy will also motivate the travelers to consider your business for after-COVID travel!

#10 Plan paid advertising campaigns

Paid search has always been one of the quickest methods to attract customers and that’s why we have added it to our coronavirus business recovery guide. Planning paid advertising campaigns in advance will help you capture the turf when the travel restrictions ease off.

Digital platforms such as Google Adwords, Facebook, and Instagram lets businesses target specific geographical locations, demographics, and interests. However, setting up campaigns and optimizing them takes time. Hence, preplan the campaigns in advance so that they are ready when the good times are around the corner. 

#11 Forecast expenses for 3 months

A large number of countries have imposed lockdowns for a few weeks. And the way the situation is going on, it is quite possible that the travel & business restrictions may get extended for a longer duration. At such times, we recommend hotel, tourist & cruise businesses to forecast their expenses for at least 3 months.

Take rent, power & water bills, staff salary, laundry, food, maintenance & loan installment into the account to come at a rough figure. It will give you an idea of how much money you need in hand to keep your business operational in times of Coronavirus pandemic.

#12 Focus on content creation

Content is crucial to generate business on the internet since it can be a major lead magnet for a hotel, cruise, and travel business. Create valuable content related to your industry and audience. Since most of the people will be looking forward to relaxing travel after COVID-19, you should focus on helping them with the same.

Video content, infographics, and IG posts have huge share-value and can be easily pushed through organic and paid marketing. Think you don’t have the time and resources to create captivating content? Consider hiring a affordable digital marketing agency to handle your content needs.

#13 Optimize your premises

One thing is clear, travelers are going to be super-cautious about booking the right hotel, cruise or tourist spot after COVID-19 pandemic. So, the next strategy of our Coronavirus business recovery plan should be to optimize your business premises according to the latest hygiene standards. Display posters promoting the importance of sanitation and personal hygiene.

Promote regular hand washing among employees, customers, and anyone visiting your hotel, cruise or travel workplace. Besides, ensure that your workplace is clean and hygienic at all times.

#14 Email customers about changes

Since you will be taking numerous precautions & steps to make your business Coronavirus-ready, it is also necessary to communicate the same to your customers via email. Let them know what your hotel, cruise or tourist business is doing to make the premises ready for their next visit.

You can also mention small details like distributing masks, providing tissue papers, and setting up sanitation spots. Add this to your Coronavirus business emergency plan!

#15 Do an SEO audit

Investing in SEO is a great way to let your local & international customers know, “Hey! We are still open & there for you.” in COVID-19 times. Since most hotel, cruise, and travel businesses maintain websites, we recommend to undertake following SEO tasks:

  • Audit your business assets from SEO perspective
  • Set short term goals for search engine visibility.
  • Think about local SEO if your audience is located locally.
  • Work on your online review strategy
  • Optimize your GMB profile for local customers

If you haven’t invested in SEO yet, start making small efforts in this direction. Read this local SEO tutorial to learn the basics.

#16 Affiliate marketing

It is no hidden fact that Coronavirus is damaging hotel, travel & cruise businesses on a massive scale. That’s why you need to deploy every possible growth channel. On-boarding affiliates to talk about your business and refer your business in their content can generate business mileage in the short and long run.

COVID-19 business recovery means taking radical steps to make your presence felt on all the major channels where your audience is active. If affiliates seem too expensive in these uncertain times, go for micro influencers on Instagram!

#17 Start blogging 

Have you been channeling blogging for your business? If not, then, this is the right time. Blogging is one of the most inexpensive yet effective ways to drive relevant traffic to your hotel, cruise, or travel business. COVID-19 is going to end sooner or later, and when that happens, people are going to start looking for travel wisdom.

Plan blogs on catchy topics such as famous places to visit after Coronavirus pandemic. Not only will it help you create brand awareness but also provide relevant content to your target audience.

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#18 Host Q&A sessions

There will be a lot of questions in the mind of travelers under COVID-19 lockdown. Therefore, holding a live session on different social media channels makes perfect sense. Ask your managers and crew members to engage with existing customers and followers.

Conducting the QA session will give you tons of ideas and insights that will come handy in creating content, make on-premise enhancements, and tweak brand communication. It also makes perfect sense to curate the questions and answers on your business website.

#19 Collaborate with partners

Whilst all hotels, cruise & travel business in crisis have lower occupancy & less profit, this is the time to forge partnerships to gain mileage together. Collaborative relationships during pandemics like COVID-19 mean forging strategic partnerships to share leads, make recommendations, and build business clusters. Here’s an example:

Hotel X has low occupancy and reaches out to Travel Agency Y to plan packages that will give special discounts to referrals coming from the Travel Agency Y. In exchange, Hotel X agrees to share profits and make the Travel Agency part of its newsletter marketing program.

Long story short, it is time to collaborate with existing and potential partners.

We are done with our 19 best tips and ideas to create the perfect Coronavirus business recovery plan for your hotel, bruise, or travel business. These hacks from top growth marketers have been designed especially to help travel and tourism businesses stand strong in the troubling times & approaching recession.

Want to read more of COVID-10 business recovery? Read this Coronavirus business recovery plan for additional recovery tips, ideas, and hacks.

Got any queries regarding our recommendations or wish to discuss your own recovery strategy with us? Feel free to connect at hello@upreports.com and get the ammo to fight the war against slow business growth!

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