The global travel industry is at a crossroads, with some areas and destinations taking a step back towards lockdown and restrictions, while others are steaming ahead into the new normal.
No matter what the status of your local travel and tourism industry right now, it is never too early to start planning and making arrangements for the inevitable comeback of travel – with many resorts and hotels not only making vital changes to the way they operate, but also taking steps towards increasing online engagement with veteran and potential new guests.
And these comeback plans aren’t exclusive to hotels and resorts – with travelers themselves devising new ways of introducing travel and adventure back into their lives through local experiences and global bucket list items. For many, the comeback of travel will be slow and fragmented, but that doesn’t have to mean we can’t throw ourselves into creating the very best experiences possible for our guests and visitors.
Spotlight natural outdoor experiences
The change in the way that we travel is currently centred around the need to social distance – with destinations around the world being told to cap numbers and impose limits on visitors to maintain adequate distancing. To help induce a comeback in your region or around your resort, now may just be the time to take some focus away from your spa or inside attractions, and instead herald the beauty of the natural world which surrounds you. Whether you provide guests with new and innovative ways of experiencing local waterways and rivers, create experiences which benefit from the fresh and open air, or simply encourage guests to get out and about, anything you can do to encourage footfall without that need for social distancing is key to an effective comeback!
Create holidays which use isolation as a USP
From the beauty of a panoramic penthouse suite, to the versatility and excitement of a floating suite, taking the luxurious concept of isolated guest accommodation and turning it into the norm is not only encouraging the social distancing that the world needs right now, but can also help to create and hone your most high end experiences. The resorts which expand the variety of accommodation options and innovative solutions for guests will be those which see the greatest revival in the near and long term future.
And this doesn’t just relate to the resort and accommodation itself. Some of the very best holidays are those which give guests the freedom to explore the natural world themselves – from sailboats to beach walks, forests and abandoned islands. Wherever in the world your resort is, there are always untapped and under explored local attractions which your guests can enjoy!
Keep it calm
There is nothing luxurious or high end about a holiday where the guest constantly feels like they are being watched and pushed in various directions in line with regulations. Of course, have staff members on hand to ensure that guests are sticking to local guidelines, but create a focus on the way these messages and regulations are delivered. The best way to communicate and ensure that guests cooperate is to deliver your key messaging in a respectful and simple way.
For many travelers, a holiday is not complete without a cocktail and a pool bar – however, for others the best kind of holiday is one filled with activity and adventure. Not every resort and hotel has the benefit of mountains and exciting hikes on their doorstep, but this shouldn’t mean that your guests can’t get active on their break. Encourage and provide support for activities for those who want to keep moving and explore local areas in the safest way possible.
Use the power of online – now!
A lot of these suggestions are all to do with what we can and should be doing when guests come through the doors – but there’s something else we can all be doing right now to feed the travel frenzy and ensure that when it’s safe to do so, the travel and tourism world can be fully appreciated and grabbed with both hands. Share pictures and images designed to inspire future travellers. Use videos to showcase the changes you’ve put in place in light of social distancing and to ensure the safety of your guests. Engage and communicate with new and veteran followers.
Whatever you can do to keep your brand alive and inspire people to add you to their bucket list – do it!
If the pandemic and pause in travel has taught us anything, it’s that the world is meant to be seen and explored; cultures are designed to be enjoyed and shared; people are not meant to stay in one place alone. We may not be quite ready for global travel just yet, but soon we will be – and when those opportunities for global exploration finally come calling, it is up to us as an industry to be ready to provide and support our guests in the safest and most enjoyable way possible.