COVID-19: Exploring new opportunities to survive lockdown

This period of lockdown for stakeholders in the travel, tourism and allied industry is definitely a hard time that may not only dissuade many to close shop but also lead many into bankruptcy because of the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic poses to their business environment.

However, the situation is not going to be for business as usual for the stakeholders even when the COVID-19 pandemic is finally defeated but following the dynamics of the virus, which at present, renowned medical experts are yet to get a generalised cure, only God knows when the lockdown order will be lifted.

Subsequently, one big question is, what will operators in the tourism and travel industry be doing to remain productive, relevant and active during lockdown?

Is it possible for core tourism players and other allied small medium enterprise in the value chain of the industry to make marginal impact and effective use of the lockdown period judiciously to be able to face the aftermath of the COVID-19?

Travelpulse and MICE, shares some views expressed by Dr Nomvuselelo Songelwa, Chief Executive of Jurni’s, on how to strategically weather the storm, and come out stronger on the other side stay.

Reach out to your tourism family

It is said that one in 10 people globally works in travel and tourism. That makes this industry the biggest family in the world.

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Connect with your travellers

Although travellers from key source markets will not be able to visit any destination for now, it remains important to connect with potential travellers, remembering that there will be a time that travel will once again flourish.

I would encourage small, medium and micro enterprises to make sure they’re being seen by their audience. In this difficult time, it’s imperative to increase your brand visibility, making sure it’s cleverly targeted, in places and on platforms where your target audience will see you.

Travellers are already on social media, but these days, they are likely checking in much more frequently as they are in lockdown. Try to offer light, positive content to help take people’s minds off the panic and give them something to look forward to. Increase your posting frequency to ensure you are showing up in their news feeds.

Think out of the box

Just because you’re not out and about showcasing our beautiful country to travellers, doesn’t mean you should sit back and relax.

As  a tourism operative, you are likely to have an entrepreneurial spirit. Use it to think out of the box and position your company in a new and innovative way.

Keep a routine and stay updated

When working from home, it is very easy to start feeling isolated. In our current age of technology, fortunately, there’s no need to feel disconnected from your colleagues or the world.

Keep up the chats with colleagues in a virtual way and check in with friends and colleagues daily. Use video-conferencing and make sure to be reachable and responsive during working hours.

It’s important to structure your day, keep up with the news in the tourism sector and manage your productivity. That way, when things return to ‘normal’, you will be ready.

As we are all navigating uncertain times, remember that this too shall pass. We will come out stronger and ready to once again welcome tourists to our beautiful shores, parks and cities.

Staff management

Loss of critical human resource too has a significant financial implication in the short to medium term. Hence, SMEs should strive to keep their important people in place during these times. Benefits and incentives can be structured based upon the period of service to increase employee stickiness

Get personal when updating your business plan.

Ask yourself hard questions and be clear on your motivations and goals.

Think about whether what you want to achieve now is the same as what you had in mind when you founded the venture.

You may have already reached the original goals you set and need to develop new ones.

Doing this can inspire you to rebuild in bigger and better ways.



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