In times of economic downturn, our top priority is to weather the storm. But we must also plan to ensure we better prepare for the challenges to come and are ready to capitalize when the travel market comes roaring back. In a recent ATTA survey, 68% of operators named “building an economically-resilient business operation” as their top long-term concern. While the travel industry as a whole undergoes a lull in activity, now is the time to think about strategies to future-proof business operations. Here are three tips to help you emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.
1) Diversify Target Markets
The more heavily your business relies on narrow demographics, the more vulnerable you are to future downturns.
Now’s the time to think outside the box for new audiences for your business. If your travelers skew older, perhaps target those who are farther from retirement when the stock market is down. If they skew younger, do the opposite when unemployment is high. If your customers are mostly international, consider opportunities domestically when people are staying closer to home.
There are more than 7 billion people out there—leave no stone unturned!
2) Build Relationships & Build Loyalty
You have a lot on your mind right now, but so do your customers. With growing uncertainty in the world, everyone is looking for a little bit of reassurance. The more physical distance we are forced to put between us, the more critical it is to stay connected.
So reach out to your customers personally. Tell them how you are planning to make their future travel even better with more enriching experiences and simpler payment processes. They’ll appreciate the personal touch and the commitment to their future excursions with you — and loyalty will increase in turn.
Loyal customers are not only more likely to come back in the future; they are also more likely to keep or reschedule bookings rather than cancel after a major world event. As the last few weeks have shown, that is incredibly valuable.
3) Reduce Costs
This is the obvious one and the one that we all dread. It doesn’t have to be painful, though.
When we decide to reduce costs, the first thing we look at, naturally, is the money we are paying OUT. How much are we paying to vendors, landlords, and employees? After all, if you want to save money, you have to spend less, right? We’re all comfortable with that math. However, many of these expenses are investments that help us bring in more revenue. If we are too quick to slash these costs, it could hurt revenue down the line.
But what about the costs associated with the money you’re bringing IN? One way or another, moving money has a cost. This may be an opportune moment to take the time to understand those costs and take steps to lower them. You’ll end up bringing in more money!
Flywire can help ATTA members reduce merchant and wire fees, all while reducing back-office work. And the less time you’re spending on back-office work, the more time you can spend improving customer experience and doing the things you love.
Downturns are stressful for all, but the travel industry tends to come back stronger. Adventure travelers have an itch that always needs to be scratched! Use this time as an opportunity to plan for the future, and you, too, will emerge stronger than ever.