Travel & Hospitality is not dead; it’s in a coma. Here’s how travel trade can emerge smarter post Covid

Whatsapp messages, Facebook posts, and Instagram hashtags. They all sound alike — feigning optimism, motivation, hope and positivity, while deep inside people are suppressing fear. Especially the ones in travel trade. Particular the ones in India.

Let’s accept the harsh reality here. The governments of the world haven’t done much to help the industry. Millions have lost their jobs. Million others have suffered pay cuts. Employers of small travel companies are still mulling over downing their shutters or simply keep it running by trimming down its employee strength.  But that’s what ordinary companies have done so far.

Smart travel companies are taking advantage of the crisis. They are now committed to bettering themselves. They are not afraid of going slowly. They are only afraid of standing still. They are diversifying. I know of one company, a Bangalore-based DMC (Destination Management Company) rebranding itself as a Digital Marketing Company. SAME acronym, but a DIFFERENT service. This company was determined never to fire a single employee. Instead, they retrained their staff. And in a span of two months, the employees acquired new digital skills and are offering services that are in tune with the Covid crisis. When the industry recovers, this company will be in a position to sell travel better than its competitors because they will be executing the lessons learned from the new business.

I came across one other travel agent in a Whatsapp group that I am a part of. When tourism came to a halt, she did not sit at home whining about the Covid situation. She had to keep her family running. The travel agent diversified. She started a grocery store. And she has been doing profitable business since. When the travel industry wakes up, she will be a proud owner of two businesses. That will be her new normal—a profitable normal.

If you are in travel trade, do not fret about when things will get back to normal because ‘normal’ that we know of is dead. Get busy improving yourself that you do not have time to fear or worry. Learn to live digitally. Sign up for an online course of attend a sales presentation workshop online. Or do both.

If you have been in travel trade long enough, teach the rest of us how you did it. Monetise the downtime. Make video tutorials on how you did it. Travel trade media is with you. We, at Voyager’s World, are in love with video content and would love to collaborate with you as a media partner on any opportunity that will benefit travel trade.

Remember, the greatest investment you will ever make is investing in you

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