The positives of seeing some attractions in a variety of markets hanging a ‘Now Open’ sign on their doors is encouraging to say the least.
While there’s still a way to go before we enter into any kind of world that isn’t touched by the pandemic, operators of attractions, tours and activities find themselves having to consider reopening with new health and safety measures firmly in place, along with a fresh new approach to absolutely everything they thought they already knew.
Welcome to a new world.
Reopening check ✓
Each market will have different levels of government protocols to follow, but some basic safety measures we are now quite familiar with, and are consistent across all.
Visit your country’s tourism board’s website and stay up to date with the latest in advice and requirements. Your customers will be reassured that you have every precaution in place to ensure the safety of your visitors, and also your team.
It’s in their best interests to equip travel experience businesses with all they need to reopen and get back on their feet, and you may even find support initiatives you weren’t aware of.
For instance, in March, the Malaysian Government announced a 300 million ringgit (US$68 million) stimulus package to support SMEs to automate their business. Eligible companies can receive up to 3 million ringgit (US$679,000) to help digitise and strengthen their online businesses.
The Singapore Tourism Board has a number of ways in which they support tourism companies. From third party costs for professional cleaning services to employee training, rental waivers, and bridging loans - there’s a variety of valuable initiatives that operators can tap into.
Other Helpful links
Tech check ✓
If you didn’t know it before, you’ll know it now. Make your business online efficient. Get yourself an effective e-commerce storefront to help you grow your direct business, and that allows you to connect to other online sales channels.
You’ll need to manage your resources carefully to maximise all revenue that comes your way, and you just can’t afford to be wasting any time managing bookings manually. Automate as much of your business as possible and commit some time to broadening your knowledge of online distribution opportunities.
Freshen things up! Review your website and ensure it’s as user friendly as possible. Don’t crowd it with absolutely every product you offer, just focus on your key products and make it easy to consume for your customers. Leave room for special offers! You’ll need to use them to support your local rebuilding efforts.
Be visible! We’ve become accustomed to using our video cameras throughout our whole lives during this pandemic. Get your team together, show your customers your welcoming, happy faces in a video on your home page! Build that ‘new world’ relationship with your local customers, turn them into repeat visitors. You need them now more than ever.
Marketing check ✓
As with all things, marketing and the way you communicate with your customers has changed. Even the largest of attractions with the biggest marketing budget will need to consider that the effectiveness of their branding and key messages have been swept away.
Your customers are still out there, but no-one will come out of this pandemic the same as when they went in. So you need to make a real connection with a new audience, who have new expectations.
Don’t pretend it didn’t happen
Acknowledge that going forward, we live in a different world which requires a rethink. The spectacular photos alone won't cut it any more.
Be real with your audience. We’ve all experienced a life changing event. It’s imperative to reassure your customers that you have taken safety precautions to protect them and your team, and that you care as much as they do.
Make friends with your neighbours
Domestic audiences are your target going into the recovery phases. Think local, encourage support of local businesses, and use this time to connect to the people around you. Family and friends are more than eager to inject some fun back into their lives. So let that be your mission and design superhero communications along with value added experiences designed just for your domestic market.
Discounts, two for one entry, or even multiple entries can work well. Create a greater sense of community as you deliver some welcome relief to what has been miserable times for many.
Get creative with your new approach to marketing domestically and then reach out to local publications and Instagram/Facebook pages in your area to help get your special offer for locals out there. You can always take out an ad too, as targeting audiences who are within your area is generally more affordable and very simple to do than for international markets.
Rethink your approach
Finally, do your research. Beyond local government support, look to some of the big brands for some of their insights.
In a new podcast from Think with Google, they investigate what marketing challenges lay ahead in a post pandemic world. Rachel Corbett is joined by Google’s head of culture and trends for the Asia Pacific region at YouTube, Ash Chang. Chang observed that COVID-19 has accelerated a change in what content means to consumers.