“… if there is a silver lining in this crisis, it may be that the virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used – to connect, share information and resources, and come up with collective solutions to urgent problems.” – New York Times
That any good can come from this crisis is difficult to consider. Still, we’re taking stock of our lives, connecting with the people that are important to us, doing many of the things that we’ve never had time to do and being creative with technology and digital platforms, like never before.
In South Africa where so much is hand-to-mouth, many businesses face the harsh reality of closing down. Tourism businesses require physical interaction and real-world services to bring in money – or do they? In the industry creativity is blossoming, businesses are innovating and, as technology is being adopted, people are coming together over group chats, taking virtual tours and live streaming to bridge the physical distances.
Perhaps this period has kickstarted a process that should already have been in place. This is the time to be at your most productive.
- Keep connected with your customers, suppliers and general network.
- Invest time in your brand, adopt new marketing ideas and make operational gear shifts.
- Refresh your logo.
- Relook your website. Does it reflect your offering? Is it up to date? Is it user-friendly?
- What about an online booking function?
- Learn more about social media and rethink your social media strategy. Develop and distribute compelling content – prepare that post you’ve been putting off.
- Write that emailer and distribute it.
- Refresh your database.
- The customers you have served well in the past may well want to support you during this time by buying a future stay or experience for themselves or as a gift voucher for somebody else.
- Use this time to craft special offers – a discount for upfront payment or a special package deal – find a way to reward the loyalty of your customers.
- Record your own YouTube videos or webinars and use these on your website and social media platforms to inspire people.
- Perhaps a virtual tour is an option for your business? (There are various facilities for recording, editing and producing, such as Google Tour Creator.)
- Consider curated content from other tourism product owners or tourism organisations in your region. Publish these on your website or social media to promote your product or service.