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Why Tourism Needs to Stop Talking about Recovery


How long have you been holding your breath waiting for the promised tourism recovery to come? Initially it didn’t seem so bad (relatively speaking) with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) predicting recovery by the third quarter of 2020. But as we started to wrap our heads around this, the date was shifted to the third quarter of 2021, and then again to 2023.


I hear you think to yourself, yes, but the vaccines are here. International travel is bound to recover quicker so I won’t have to hold my breath for much longer. Won’t you? If we are bullish, we will be able to vaccinate 25% of the global population by the end of 2021, says UNICEF. But it could take up to 2023 to vaccinate the entire world’s population according to the models run by the Centre of Global Development. But even then there is no guarantee of 100% efficacy. Which means going forwards Covid-19 prevention measures will be the travel industry’s new normal, according to Keith Tan, CEO of the Singapore Tourism Board.


The reality is that holding your breath waiting for travel to return to normal just does not make business sense. And neither does wasting your energy and resources on stop-gap measures such as heavily discounting products to attract the local market, while you wait for your traditional market to recover. Especially since the International Air Travel Association (IATA) is forecasting that international travel will only recover to 2019 levels by 2024.


What does make business sense is looking for growth opportunities that you can tap into. This is what Trip.com has done to drive US$805 million in net revenue this past quarter. They achieved this by quickly adapting to service new market demand for rural, nature-based and wellness small group travel. They capitalised on new ‘working from hotel’ and “workcation resort” trends. And found new ways to speak to their audience with a series of in-destination livestream broadcasts that have inspired demand and driven increased sales.

RV2Go, a RV rental booking platform, is another example of a company that has leveraged Covid to scale their business and rocket their income by 510%. They achieved this by cashing in on the growing demand for ‘solo’ off-the-beaten-track holidays far from the madding crowds. Captivating their audience with over 1000 new self-drive routes designed by specialist tour operators.


TrueGo Hotel, a fairly young business hotel chain opened 20 new hotels between May and October this year. And no they have definitely not crashed and burned. They have exceeded an 80% average occupancy rate in the last quarter, despite business travel being the worst hit by Covid. They achieved this growth by recognising the competitiveness of their unique healthy business travel brand proposition. And reinforced their ability to service the market’s increased demand for safe healthy trusted travel by investing in state of the art air-filtration and bathroom hygiene technology.


You have the potential to be just like these companies, and it does not take massive amounts of investment if that is what you are thinking.


How do you do this? The first step you need to take is to shift your thinking from a recovery to a ‘growth mindset’ as Carol Dwek terms it. You do this by mapping all of the challenges and barriers that you are facing so that you can identify the myriad of opportunities these create. The second step you need to take is to assess all of the resources that you have at your disposal. And the third step is to identify how to reengineer your business model to take advantage of the opportunities that lie before you.


This may sound challenging but it is actually fairly straight forward. If you want or need help in developing your own growth action plan please click here to sign up today for a free introductory workshop. I would love to help you set your business up for growth.