Coronavirus pandemic has already tested human intelligence, patience and perseverance. It is on a worldwide rampage to engulf all the powerful nations of the world. Even countries with weaker healthcare facilities like Zimbabwe are at risk of falling under the COVID-19’s radar. Life, as we knew, has come to a halt following worldwide lockdowns. Productions and services barring a few emergency ones have been suspended for an uncertain period of time. The travel and tourism industry that had been on an expansion spree for the last two decades in dealing with a major landslide since restrictions to International and domestic movements were imposed as one of the initial methods to restrain the spread of the virus, though with minimal effect.
Not only the travel agencies but other ancillary businesses including travel agency software development companies are facing a major crisis following mass travel cancellations and rejections of orders. Despite conjoint efforts made by governments to save businesses, big or small, the fact that the whole world is heading towards one of the worst recessions of the century, cannot be ignored for long.
Travel agencies, airlines and other travel partners are facing a surge in customer inquiry calls. Promoting your business in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic may not go down too well with the customers but you can offer your help and expert guidance to retain their confidence, the least you can do.
So here is a list of Dos and Don’ts for travel agencies to survive the turbulence caused by Novel COVID-19.
Dos and Don’ts of travel agencies during COVID-19 pandemic
Governments around the world are aiding businesses to help them ride the tide of change and not wither away under the effect of the virus. But, as the owner of your own travel agency, what are the measures you can undertake to help your customers and save your venture at the same time?
Here is a list of Dos and Don’ts to consider if you are unsure of your next step forward.
Dos of travel agencies
Addressing customer concern with care
Believe it or not, mending your ways through to the hearts of your customers is the right thing to do, given the ongoing conditions pan world. Fresh travel orders are hard to come by as most travellers are concerned about staying alive and get as much of their money back in a refund as possible following travel cancellations on shorter notices.
For instances –
Citing the example of Berlin-based travel startup, GetYourGuide that has built quite a marketplace for itself by selling sightseeing tours and other experiences, as well as, bagged $484M worth of passes by selling 25M tickets through its tourism activity app, has experienced customer service inquiries tripling in a matter of two weeks, wherein cancellation rate has increased by 20%.
A similar story is narrated by another promising Barcelona-based travel startup, TravelPerk. In fact, they are shifting some of their sales executives to handle the heavy influx of customer inquiries.
The only metric that concerns these ventures is – “Are people happy and are we solving their cases fast?”
Here, flagship products of TravelPerk such as Flexiperk are witnessing a rise in demand, especially during the crisis situation because the latter allows customers to change or cancel their travel plans and expect at least 90% return of their money, for whatever reasons.
Measures such as flexibility in bookings and cancellations can go a long way in restoring their faith in you, as their travel agency partner.
Lending a helping hand to your vendors
Your suppliers and vendors are facing similar predicaments. So it is the best time to strengthen relations with them by finding ways that will benefit you and your suppliers.
For instances –
GetYourGuide has been proactively searching for windows of hope and wherever they see demand popping up, they immediately communicate the same to their vendors. Also, they are avoiding negotiations of commission rates at present just to help their suppliers ward off the trying times.
And, they are concentrating their energies more on localization. By catering to demands cropping up off the beaten tracks, they are able to ensure the suppliers enjoy the if-not-so-but-substantially-steady flow of businesses.
Watch out for changes in market trends
The market has changed since the novel Coronavirus started its worldwide rampage of infecting millions of people. And, you can expect the market post-pandemic to take a completely different shape than what was predicted before the virus first showed up in China. But one thing is there for certain and that is people will never quit travelling from one place to another. However, their preferences and choices for destinations will change remarkably.
For instances –
- Advanced travel bookings usually preferred by 80% of world travellers have come down drastically.
- A spike in short-term last minute bookings has been observed recently.
- A rise in demand for domestic tourism or travel to off-beat places will be something to expect for in the near future.
Re-architect your agency for better scalability
A cut in demand for travel bookings and need to tailor effective marketing and branding strategies have allowed travel agencies the right amount of time for refocusing their attentions on their core competencies. Also, this is the perfect occasion to re-architect your venture for better scalability and enhancing customer experiences.
It is imperative for companies to ensure they excel in their services, give a better search and discovery experience, curate more personalized holiday packages and strengthen supplier-vendor relationships. So your company can come out of the crisis with remarkable technology and a lot better supply-base.
Addressing issues pertaining to the underlying architecture, campaign structure, and partnering with a top-notch travel agent software development partner for improved travel booking experiences for the customers are few areas you can invest both your time, money, and resources.
Last but not the least, staying market-ready despite what the future holds for each one of us can save your agency. Take it as a learning lesson and stay prepared to meet similar challenges in the distant future.
Don’ts of travel agencies
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is fruitless for travel companies to push holiday packages with intensive destination marketing. Also, making commitments with your suppliers and other vendor partners will not be worthwhile. Instead, focus all your energies, time, funds and resources for the betterment of your services and keep yourself market-ready. Also, in the meantime, invest in fitting travel software services and gain the loyalty of both your vendors and customers.