The travel industry took a major hit amid the global coronavirus pandemic. With airports temporarily closing in March, cruise lines canceling scheduled sailings through the year, theme parks — including Disney — closing or limiting services and countless travel companies furloughing or laying off tens of thousands of employees, COVID-19’s impact was felt deeply across the entire travel industry.
However, many tourist industries have reshaped their business models in light of the new way of pandemic-style living. These five travel industry companies have adapted to the current climate to stay in business and serve their customers. Here’s how they’ve kept their companies centered on travel during the pandemic.
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Milwaukee Food & City Tours
Milwaukee Food & City Tours is a walking and bus food tour company located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that has decreased the amount of tours they offer in favor of social distancing and enforcing mandatory face coverings. These safety measures include increasing their outdoor walking tours for greater ventilated areas, decreasing the minimum headcount per tour for their private tours and customizing their itinerary based on customer needs.
Aside from taking extra safety measures, the company has pivoted their usual business model to reach customers who have been forced to stay at home. They created unique gift boxes, known as Shelter-in-Style kits, with the flavors of Milwaukee delivered right to the consumer’s doorstep. These kits vary from baked goods and fudge classics to an interactive Halloween box providing the buyer with interactive stories, a costume contest and haunted trivia to enjoy in their own homes.
Ever since the pandemic struck the nation, Cadence Travel put an emphasis on accurate safety information through consumer education and employee training as the forefront of their new operations. The travel agency recognized how important social media training was for travel advisors to grow their online presence and create a greater relationship within their client base despite social distancing policies.
Cadence Travel built a page on their website devoted to traveler resources including the latest information on hotel packages, airline updates and how to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, as well as public health and safety updates. With education on the pandemic being their main focus, they develop transparency and trust with their clients.
The virtual travel experience allows people to learn about the history and culture of an area they are interested in.
Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel
While many businesses pivoted their entire business model to adapt to the pandemic, some companies in the travel industry chose to pivot an existing strategy to stay in business. After travel restrictions were put into place, travel agency Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel narrowed their advertising focus to their existing clients rather than investing their marketing and advertising budget on reaching new clientele.
The upside of this approach is the company spent less money on advertising their services towards people who are less likely to book trips or vacations during the pandemic, while improving relationships with people they have already built trust. This also means they could utilize their proven strategies rather than build one from scratch. While the population is slowly becoming more open to the idea of traveling, the agency has added more travel promotions for the fall of 2020 and into 2021 to entice their clients to book with them again.
[Read: 4 Ways to Rebuild Customer Loyalty After COVID-19]
Walks is a tour company that has a unique philosophy and mission of showing their clients the city and the tourist attractions up close and personal from the street level rather than in a bus, taxi or other means of transportation that separates the tourist from destination. Before the pandemic, Walks strived to showcase the local hotspots and residents to get a more immersive experience with the area.
However, in light of the pandemic, Walks introduced Tours From Home, spotlighting these same local tour guides, chefs, business owners and storytellers from the safety of one’s home. The virtual travel experience allows people to learn about the history and culture of an area they are interested in and even learn how to cook local dishes. Additionally, Walks also has promotions for their additional tours and has increased social distancing guidelines while following the recommendations of each government’s mandates and regulations due to COVID.
The group traveling company, For the Love of Travel (FTLO Travel), has gotten creative with social distancing by creating online social gatherings with travelers from all over the world. These gatherings include travel-themed trivia nights focusing on creating friendships and a fun, all-inclusive atmosphere while they briefly paused their trips at the height of the pandemic.
As FTLO Travel begins to offer more travel destinations when restrictions loosen, they’ve created travel credit for trips that are postponed due to the pandemic’s unpredictability. They also provide shorter “Weekender Series” trips to help solo travelers link up with others within 200 miles of their hometowns. Even without the pre-pandemic amount of destination vacations on their calendar, FTLO Travel has stayed in business by being a resource to their target customers and continuing to connect these like-minded individuals.
[Read: 10 Pandemic-Inspired Business Trends That Are Here to Stay]
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Published October 28, 2020