The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog

A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.

The travel and tourism industry has gone through incredible growth and expansion in the past few decades, the larger than life exception being the last 18 months due to COVID-19. However, the consumer base for the tourism sector is still mounting. There are many more affordable options available to travelers due to growing competition among service providers – with technology also emerging as a major driver in the sector’s growth, providing opportunity to greatly widen their reach. According to infomineo,  “the tourism sector witnessed a 59% growth over the decade in international tourists’ arrivals from 1.5 billion in 2019, compared to 880 million in 2009.” And with that, let’s go through a bit of a checklist to ensure you’re ready for peak tourism season as the world begins to reopen.   {Source infomineo.com}

 

Impact of COVID-19 on…Everything

As the travel and tourism sector was happily thriving, no one knew that things were about to go south (travel pun intended – too soon?). It hit an inflection point in the form of a Pandemic the modern world has never experienced. COVID-19 came out like a bolt from the blue. It drastically changed the way people were doing business and living their daily lives. While the pandemic dropped a bombshell on most business sectors, the hospitality industry was undoubtedly the biggest loser.

According to the latest issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) fell by 72% in January-October 2020. The biggest reason for this downfall was the travel restrictions across borders. In some cases, it affected domestic travel as well. Over 90% of the global population was residing in countries that had enforced lockdowns and travel restrictions. For virus containment, new SOPs were devised. Keeping a safe distance from each other was on top of the list. Social distancing meant that many international conferences and events were postponed. This resulted in less inflow of travelers, whether for business or pleasure. Most importantly, due to the devastating rise in the COVID-19 cases across the world, the attitudes of consumers also changed. They started to perceive traveling and hoteling as a risk. Consequently, all these factors contributed to the sudden decline of tourism-related activities.

According to STR (Global Hospitality Data Company) “Hotel occupancy rates dropped as much as 96% in Italy, 68% in China, 67% in UK, 59% in USA and 48% in Singapore.” BIV reported similar data that the hotel occupancy rate in Canada has dropped to 24% in June 2020, in comparison with 76% in June 2019. {Source: biv.com, unwto.org}

 

Looking Forward as the Industry Recovers

It’s crazy to think we’re already halfway through to 2021. Most countries have gradually started their return to normal, with restrictions slowing lifting. Mass vaccinations are in full flow across the world, which has gained people’s confidence to get back to their business as usual. Governments have also started to ease restrictions on travel and other commercial activities due to economic pressures. And businesses and consumers continue to adapt and act socially responsible, in compliance with the SOPs devised by the governments.

After experiencing the last 18 months of roller coaster lockdowns, quarantines, and constantly staying “in”, people are mentally exhausted. Considering this, it is expected that the industry will see an influx of consumers planning their tours, once more global restrictions are lifted. You need to be proactive and plan accordingly to take full advantage of peak season. To help you get back up to speed before peak season arrives, we have some useful recovery measures to share with you.

 

Identifying Target Markets

In the short run, your business needs to redefine your target customers by considering how COVID-19 affected different market segments. For instance, business travel will be recovering slowly as compared to leisure tourism, since companies themselves are dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19 and finding their way back through cost cutting. Similarly, a lot of people are facing financial woes of their own, and traveling for fun might not be on their priority list right now. You’ll need to rethink your segmentation strategy and make sure the right customers are being targeted.

 

 Make Use of Government Support

Governments and donor agencies around the world are steering recovery funds and grants towards tourism businesses to help them get back at their feet. In some cases, it comes in the form of subsidies and tax waivers to share their burden. Hit up the ol’ Google search to be fully aware of financial assistance programs offered by your local and federal governments. Your business will likely be able to take advantage of free funding.

 

 

Restore Consumers’ Trust

Experts have categorized “travel” as a health and safety risk. Regaining consumers’ trust will be the key to reinvigorate the tourism sector. Your business needs to have an effective communication strategy in place that addresses the public health concerns of people. Utilizing travel testimonials, just like any testimonials, can be used to gain the confidence of potential consumers who are reluctant to travel.

 

Thank you, Technology 

Technology emerged as a savior when the lockdowns and restrictions on social activities took everyone by storm. As we talk about establishing a clear communication channel with your customers, digital platforms are an excellent way to experiment with new user experience trends.  Specifically, technologies like self-check-ins and other tools that promote minimal human contact can be explored and implemented. {Source: neplanetnetwork.org, openknowledge.worldbank.org, www.oecd.org}

 

Peak Season, Here We Come!

Since all business related to the tourism and development industry has been hit hard and continues to deal with heavy losses, you and everyone else will be hungry for profits and looking to recover those losses. Wherever your business lies in the pandemic survival spectrum, having a recovery plan in place before the peak season hits, will give you extra breathing room.

But doesn’t it just make you feel better knowing there will actually be a peak season this year?? Happy 2nd half of 2021!