The travel and tourism industry has undoubtedly been affected by the pandemic.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said in a televised briefing that the Philippines only generated ₱85B from foreign arrivals during the first quarter of this year compared to last year’s ₱134B. That’s an estimated 35% decrease in revenue. 
In a Bloomberg interview, Brian Chesky, chief executive officer of Airbnb Inc. said “travel as we know it will never be the same” but he also added that “…this does not mean that it’s over. It’s just going to be different and it is up to the industry to invent the way forward.” 
While we all wait for the dust to settle, what can businesses like vacation homes, resorts, tourism operators, and travel agencies do to stay open and relevant?
1. Check-in on suppliers and your local community
Use this time to check in with suppliers, get to know them better, and strengthen business relationships. This goes the same with your local community whose livelihood heavily relied on tourists. When visitors start coming back, this strong sense of community can help fast track the way everyone will bounce back when everything reopens.
2. Focus on your social media presence and run a website health check.
Tourist season leaves you with very little time to do website upkeeps and revamps. Take this quiet time to improve (or build a website if you don’t have one yet) user experience on your online booking and information channels especially for mobile users.
Regular posting on social media also keeps you visible despite the decrease in Instagram mentions or Facebook check-ins.
Release online content like virtual tours, downloadable itineraries, and regular posts that highlight how your business is preparing for the new normal.
3. Start prepping for the influx of guests when you reopen.
It may not be in the next months but travel will return. With everyone starving for a getaway during the lockdown, expect to get an influx of bookings when the waters clear (so to speak).
Ensure that your staff and facilities are ready to meet safety protocols for a large volume of guests. Do a practice run of new guidelines with your team to avoid getting flagged when you resume operations.
In addition to these logistical factors, you may also want to think of special deals or rewards programs for loyal clients to further boost sales in case things turn out to be a slow crawl.
4. Explore bridge revenue items you can offer.
Most businesses in the travel industry have been getting by with attractive future-based products. Explore offering discounted gift certificates or rebookable reservations to help your cash flow today. Let your customers continue their patronage of your service by allowing them to purchase today what they can enjoy in the future.
This also serves to project an image of optimism for your business. Let everyone see this as a vote of confidence for the outlook of your enterprise and the travel industry.
5. Revisit your cancellation policy.
Ensure that your cancellation and deferment policies are updated, your staff is aware of them, and the info can easily be seen on your website. This will save you a significant amount of time, not to mention increase the likelihood that your customers will remember they’re positive experience and re-book in the future.
In case you still need a leg up to keep the business running through these uncertain times, feel free to reach out consult with our advisers for the next smart move to take.