Outwitting COVID-19: Winning business strategies for the travel sector

During the onset of the pandemic, many businesses and livelihoods have been affected. However, there is wisdom behind every hardship. At ROLZO we believe that when something is dearly important to you, you do it despite the odds. Travel companies are constantly exploring new ways and strategies to extract the best diamonds they can in a cold damp mine. This article reveals those winning strategies that have enabled travel companies to stay one step ahead of the competition and outwit COVID-19-related challenges.

The new uncomfortable reality of travel

Up to now, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has forecasted roughly a loss of 174 million jobs and a reduction of $4.7 trillion to global GDP. UK-based travel agents suffered a host of issues including dealing with disappointed holidaymakers, loss in profit and surfacing mental health problems. Business professor of Dalhousie University, Lorn Sheehan, noted that nothing has hit the tourism industry in modern history as hard as COVID-19. He also added that in the US, the effect of the pandemic is potent enough to push the entire economy into recession.

Travel experts have analysed areas of business travel that are likely to return first and concluded that in-person sales and client meetings will be the initial drivers reboosting the sector. International travel will take longer to recover due to the complexities of government regulations. In Europe and Asia, governments have explored the notion of establishing travel corridors, which abide strict rules and allow bypassing of quarantine measures.

Research three months in advance 

For travel companies to succeed in the ‘new normal’, they must take an ordered, step-by-step, and effective approach, McKinsey suggests. Firstly, they should monitor local indicators of public health and government regulations to keep up-to-date with the latest policies; and then analyse the employees’ willingness to travel. Most importantly, travel providers need to stay ahead of changes to government safety guidelines by conducting thorough research by three months of buffer time – which allows time for preparation and response tactics.

Drawing from McKinsey’s analysis and advice, travel companies should establish strong connections with top decision-makers to gain insights on consumer needs – and then evaluate key points of their model to make necessary shifts to new situations e.g. airlines altering their business class schemes to appeal to high-end leisure travellers. When the travel sector begins to recover, its providers should focus primarily on meeting health and safety compliance requirements to gain customer trust. Lastly, they should streamline their operations to quickly deal with disruptions, such as cancellations, capitalizing on opportunities for cross-industry collaboration to enable more resource sharing.

Make clients’ needs a top priority

Margaret Mastrogiacomo, Executive Vice President at Next Guest proposed a COVID-19 hotel recovery plan. While the plan is centered on hotels, it can easily be generalised to the travel industry. She posits a three-phased approach as follows: While Travel is on Pause, Initial Rise in Travel Demand, and Travel Demand Strengthens. Her tactics for the Initial Rise in Travel Demand stage include aligning marketing and revenue management strategies, implementing a flexible cancellation policy, focusing on packages and offers, and making loyalty members a priority. When the Travel Demand stage is reached, the marketing efforts should shift towards the right demographics and feeder markets with the right branding. Her full recovery strategy can be found in her eBook.

Marry cutting-edge technology with hyper-personal service

The underlying ethos of ROLZO is to sustain the art of creating meaningful travel experiences with extraordinary service despite how hard the situation might be. We marry cutting-edge technology with hyper-personal service to redefine leisure and business travel for the ‘new normal’. 

“As the coronavirus pandemic has swept the travel industry, we have been working relentlessly to restore traveller confidence, preparing for a future where safety, flexibility, and efficiency become key markers of meaningful journeys.” 

Tom Ripert, Founder and CEO at ROLZO

We acknowledge that technology makes car travel truly effortless – ROLZO Business demonstrates the company’s increased focus on helping businesses manage the evolving mobility needs of their global clients. It gives businesses more control over their customers’ travels by allowing them to book and manage car rentals and chauffeur services in real-time with unprecedented simplicity. In addition, our 24/7/365 personal service adds a much needed human touch to our client experience, which works to respond to client requests, reassure them and reboost their confidence in such testing times. 

ROLZO demonstrates its desire to support the travel industry by working with highly-vetted and hand-picked local providers, helping some of the hardest-hit local economies get business in a time when travelling has been reduced to a minimum. ROLZO is determined to safeguard the true meaning of exceptional travel and service in a COVID-SAFE travelling environment.

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