We know it’s challenging to have a small business during uncertain times…we are one too. We also know that tourism and travel is one of the industries that can help drive recovery. We saw it first-hand during SARS. Once it’s safe under the ‘new normal,’ it’s our job to help build confidence and get people smiling again; and governments will look to tourism for leadership to help get people moving and spending money. While we’re all on standby, we’ve compiled a list of things to think about, to help get you prepared for when the time is right.
1. Stay informed. Follow your local destination marketing organization’s communications and talk to them regularly by phone or email to receive the most up to date information.
2. Reconnect. Once the initial dust has settled, it’s time to check in with your customers. Send out an e-blast and post periodic notes on your social media channels about how you and your business are doing.
3. Be flexible. Cancellations and rescheduling are inevitable. This is the time to show understanding, which will pay dividends when things recover.
4. Review. The extra time you may have is a great opportunity to update, and do some digital housekeeping:
- Rebuild or refine your website
- Create a social media content calendar
- Refine your subscriber lists
- Get ahead by writing blogs and social media posts to be scheduled in the future
5. Get creative. Use your time to determine value added opportunities for your products and experiences. Virtually communicate with other tourism operators to socialize and brainstorm about opportunities to collaborate in the future.
6. Be ready. Solidify your marketing plan and develop a campaign for when things return to normal. There may be government assistance available to promote tourism.
7. Take online courses. Update your Smart Serve, take customer service training, learn Quickbooks or take webinars.
8. Paint. Use this time to affordably freshen up your property.
9. Plan. Think about upgrades or enhancements to your operation. Again, there will likely be government support coming, so get ready for it.
10. Practice mindfulness. This is a stressful time and your well-being is most important. It’s ok to take a break, go for a walk in the forest, watch the clouds and listen to nature as a way to help let your mind relax.