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50 Points to consider for a ‘New Normal’ travel industry

Frustratingly, no-one can predict with any certainty when this will end. But what we can do is collectively start to shape some thoughts and vision around what a new normal for the travel industry might look like when this nightmare is over.

Open horizons

Travel and tourism strategist Peter Smythe spoke with tour operators and travel and tourism professionals from 43 countries. From these conversations Peter has selected 50 insightful quotes.

Here’s his essential hit list in no particular order and please note: These quotes are a collection of individual and personal (yet professional) opinions from around the world.

Ready? Deep breath. Let’s go.

  1. Take responsibility.

  2. Accept the situation.

  3. Overcorrect rapidly.

  4. Do not wait to be right; take action.

  5. Speed is everything.

  6. Plan on 3, 6, 12 months with minimal revenue.

  7. Plan for your future income to be 50% of the past.

  8. Borders are not opening soon and when they do there will be significant restrictions.

  9. Transactions win, be as close to the sale as you can.

Lonely road

“Marketing the right travel product to the right audience will be critical.”

  1. Your product or service will have to change to suit dynamic new rules on social distancing.

  2. Locations may open, then close, then open, then close.

  3. Data for any given decision is infinite – do not let it cripple you.

  4. Nothing happens for ten years – then ten years occur in a week.

  5. The jungle is neutral again.

  6. This is a virus that may kill millions but will awaken billions.

  7. Moral leadership is real leadership.

  8. No not think about variables beyond your control, they will slow you down.

  9. Choice leads to hesitation, limit your options.

“If you do experience the worst disaster, you will be much stronger in the future.”

  1. There are no poorly designed waves, no cloud is misshapen nor mountain the wrong size. Everything is as it should be.

  2. Endurance is vastly underrated.

  3. If you do not believe the future will be better than the present, it will not be.

  4. Three into one or two into one does go. Merge to survive.

  5. Operate tours that you have to do, not what you want to do.

  6. The market you have is the market you have. Make the best of it.

  7. Change the tour or product to suit the market you can have.

  8. If you were an international business with 20 destinations, you are now a local operator in 20 localities.

“Partnerships were vital before – they are essential now.”

Simple blossom

  1. You now have an abundance of the only valuable thing in life, time.

  2. Increase your digital footprint.

  3. Learn what you need to learn to improve your business. 

  4. There are no secrets. Read a book or speak to someone who knows.

  5. If you can survive this period in business, your business will survive anything.

  6. High net worth customers will be in huge demand.

  7. Developing markets will be hardest hit.

  8. Private tours have taken on a whole new meaning of private.

  9. Direct businesses are managing better than indirect.

  10. If you have cash, acquire other businesses in the next 6 six months, you will never buy cheaper.

“Terms and conditions in the future will be completely different.”

Empty beaches

  1. The cost of acquiring customers could increase dramatically.

  2. Nice to haves are no longer helpful to have.

  3. Your core value. Can it be used in different sectors?

  4. Last-minute bookings will increase at speed.

  5. The travel industry will still attract investment, but it will be more interested in those that are transacting than ever.

  6. Recovery will be exceedingly uneven.

  7. Customer relationships are your single strategic advantage.

You can read the original post or connect with Peter Smythe on LinkedIn here.


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