After over a year of international borders remaining closed and the devastation of the global travel industry as we’ve known it due to COVID-19, it’s no surprise that those of us lucky enough to be left in the game are asking the question, “What now?”
Over the last twelve or so sorrowful months, we’ve seen our travel and tourism industry shattered into countless pieces with thousands of fantastic people lose their jobs and businesses close their doors through no fault of their own.
More recently, the end of JobKeeper on March 28 has only proved to be further sand in the face for the industry as we collectively grapple with how to navigate the ever-expanding and costly timeline between now and whenever international travel does resume this year, minus appropriate financial support.
So while we can choose to moan about the situation (and that’s ok – because there’s still an awful lot to moan about), the fact is, that it is here that we find ourselves mid-April 2021 whether we like it or not.
Regardless, there’s still a lot to be grateful for.
We’ve pretty much eliminated localised COVID-19 transmission in Australia and New Zealand, the vaccination program is happening (albeit slowly), domestic travel is booming, local borders are open, the trans-Tasman bubble is finally kicking off with a bang and pent up demand, travel confidence and bookings for overseas travel and especially cruise in 2021/22/23 continue to ramp up beyond all expectations.
In recent months, we’ve come a long way in what is still a short space of time versus previous predictions.
And if we are honest with ourselves, we’d probably admit that there were plenty of areas in the industry that were not exactly rosy before the pandemic anyway.
The reality now is that everything has changed for all of us in the last year, in life and the way we view the world and our new appetite for travel.
This time now is our rare chance to create a new and more sustainable era for those of us that want to stay in the game, move on and continue to create those unforgettable travel moments.
Because as they say, there really is, “No turning back now.”
So where do we go from here?
How do we hit the reset button and turn all that we’ve been forced to experience, learn and painfully endure through the pandemic into positive strategies and actions that will both aid our survival and also take us forward – Together In Travel?
Let’s start by hitting reset, right now.
At Karryon, it’s always been our mantra and commitment to support, lift and strive to make the industry better with some of our previous community initiatives launched including Together In Travel and Save The Travel Industry.
Arrival Revival is our latest initiative and theme at Karryon which aims to ask, discuss and solve the tough and awkward questions we all want to know the answers to while celebrating the innovation and resilience that comes from turning surviving into thriving.
As our outward journey continues to unfold in the coming months, we’ll be asking the people on the ground across every sector for their insights (Including you!) while pinpointing the trends, indicators, and plain common sense approaches that are pointing us in the right direction for market advantage success.
So to get us started, as a team, we first asked ourselves: “What do we think are some of the industry challenges to solve to help us all move forward?”
After a fifteen-minute (and remarkably alcohol-free) brain dump, we’d generated these 36 questions below. And that’s just the start. You’ll know doubt have a lot more of your own.
Ready? Let’s go.
- How could you position the customer as your #1 priority in everything you do? Think about terms and conditions for a second as an example of how better you could communicate the small print rather than hiding it.
- Should the ‘Travel Agent’ definition be universally ditched once and for all and replaced with a term that highlights more value, i.e., ‘Travel Consultant?’
- What will a post-covid travel professional offering for the customer look like?
- How could you market yourself differently and demonstrate your expertise and the true value of what you do?
- What hours will you be open and available for clients? Will they change?
- What could a fair fee structure look like for travel professionals?
- Should you be 100% transparent in your fees (if you charge them), including commission to your clients?
- How can you easily communicate the current complex system where a client’s money sits once they have deposited or paid?
- Will you carve a new niche for yourself in your services and what you sell? What new client territories could you play in?
- Who could you collaborate or partner with (including outside of the industry) for mutual benefit?
- Influencers?! We’re all influencers! How will you use your personal brand to showcase and differentiate what you do?
- How will you reconfigure/reimagine your store for bricks and mortar businesses to be relevant to customers?
- What could a reimagined retail offering look like?
- What new revenue streams and creative ideas can you create to supplement/replace traditional income?
- How can customers book travel with confidence, knowing their money is safe and having flexibility around a refund or credit?
- What part will technology play coupled with human care and service?
- How can you digitise your business and take more elements online?
- What relevance does ATAS have in 2021 and beyond?
- What could AFTA and other industry accreditations do to be more relevant to the general public in 2021 and beyond?
- Should there be a government or industry managed refund scheme for the travel industry?
- What countries will we be able to travel to first in the coming years?
- What travel sectors, products and destinations will be the most popular?
- What sectors will be less desired?
- What new travel niches should you explore based on post-covid behaviour and needs?
- How do you build a business from domestic and trans-Tasman travel?
- What will the vaccine regulations be for overseas travel?
- How will the digital passport work?
- How should the product/wholesale supply chain work?
- What changes do we need to make to the supply chain to ensure sustainability and a win-win for all?
- How can we educate and transform the industry to be more sustainable and sell and treat the planet with the respect it deserves?
- How will you give back in what you do?
- How will we ensure the travel industry’s long-term viability by ensuring the places and cultures we visit remain protected?
- How do we bring more diversity into the travel industry and build a sector of equality and fairness of pay and rights?
- How do we attract new talent into the industry in light of the devastation we have endured through COVID-19?
- How do we build confidence and pride again in the travel industry?
Has this list got you thinking? Got more questions to add? Maybe you can do a team brainstorm of your own.
We can’t wait to hear what you come up with from your own perspective and personal experience.
As someone who has worked in the travel industry for the last twenty-plus years, I personally feel that our biggest loss and undoing is our not always working collaboratively to succeed for universal benefit.
It’s my hope now that at this moment, we seize the opportunity to rebuild the whole show with a role for everyone including a major spotlight on the lead role – the customer and what part they want to play.
What do you think? Send us your questions, your solutions, innovations and general thoughts. Email us at [email protected]
Want to join 6000 plus of your travel industry peers on our Together In Travel closed Facebook Group? Click here and welcome onboard.
Share this story