The pandemic has been an unfortunate turn of events for the past two consecutive years, leaving the tourism and hospitality industries suffering its impact the hardest.
However, we are truly excited and curious awaiting to see how both industries resume their glory. If we were passively trying to cope with the coronavirus outbreak in the year 2020, and almost two-thirds of the year 2021, the government has been actively taking progressive actions, steadily picking up where we left and finally moving forward.
The global tourism landscape
According to a McKinsey.com report, the tourism expenditure had dropped sharply to at least 35 to 48 percent globally, especially the international tourism sector that accounted for approximately USD 1.3 trillion in export revenue. That was more than 11 times the loss of the 2009 economic crisis, crazy yet? Unintentionally, putting over 120 million tourism jobs at stake, as well as small and medium-sized tourism enterprises have been forced to close down.
Travelers’ habitual shift – the challenges deriving from your customers
Ticking off their bucket list
The travel demands have surged significantly in 2021, confirmed by 75% of travelers who took the research by Expedia Group. People have already envisioned their next vacation as soon as the restriction is lifted, creating their bucket-list destinations which they have never considered to do pre-pandemic, all due to year-long lockdowns.
Take drivable leisure trips
Travelers are eager to be up on their feet again, has been noticed a drastic change in habits and behaviors. They prefer to travel within drivable locations, either by private or rental cars, which provides them a sense of safety. That is the result of sudden authorized restrictions applied whenever a new wave of outbreaks creeps in. It reassures that they can manage to get back home just in time before the lockdown takes place.
Prefer longer stay
The hybrid work has been adopted widely. This trend does not seem to settle down anytime soon and shall continue paving its path in the future. People take advantage of this flexible working to have longer stays holiday with their beloved ones to make up for the lost time.
Thorough research beforehand
If before, travelers searched for attractive landmarks, activities around town, nowadays their search priority shifted. A deeper search on the property, the facilities, the nearby neighborhoods, the amenities, and any related photos they can get their hands on is mandatory. Cancellations and cleanliness policies are also on top of the list. All to make sure they are in control and be ready for all the possibilities when things go sideways unnoticed.
The open opportunities for hoteliers
Digitize your property
In other words, make your hotel known and reachable on the web. Promote your property across all available social media platforms and OTA channels. Focus on your targeting audiences. If you haven’t known who they are, it’s time to sit down and determine your potential customers.
Showcase your property profile with clear, accurate, and attractive photographs, which play a crucial role in the decision-making. The most concerning aspect any guest would always look for is room photos. This includes but is not limited to photo of the bed, bathroom, lobby & other facilities like swimming pools, conference rooms, fitness rooms, spas, shops, etc. They want to know what they will get, and they will expect no more no less.
The cancellations policy has become one of the concerns throughout the booking process. It is less likely for travelers to book non-refundable trips compared to pre-pandemic. Just risky in general. Giving guests a flexible cancellation policy would reinforce their purchase commitment. A case study of Eric Brown – an owner of a vacation home in Texas, USA on changing his strict 60 days cancellations to two weeks one had helped him to score 30+ bookings in a week.
Active in communication
Tech-savvy guests are keen on exchanging information with the property before their arrival. Be available to assist your guests as needed to eliminate their undesired features that your property might be able to remove in advance. You perhaps sneak in a few incentives such as discounted meals, upgraded room, free parking, or spa vouchers and will be amazed at their voluntary spending on other expensive amenities and services during their stays in return.
Provide customer-oriented technologies
Everyone stays connected online whether they are on vacation or not. Get your hotels equipped with the latest technology software to stay relevant in this modern day. Start with hospitality management solutions or what others would call a hotel PMS. It is the central system of your hotel operations. Trust us, a PMS helps everything work seamlessly, efficiently and costs much less. If you haven’t had one in mind yet, check out our cloud-based hospitality management solution CiHMS and choose the best fit package for your hotel.
Other technologies to look into are touchless experiences from check-in/check-out to the keyless entry of room cards and public areas, robotic technology for room delivery, laundry services pick-up/ drop-off, voice and facial recognition, etc. There are numerous technologies out there on the market, and these can be quite an investment. Again, understand your customers, know your priorities and select the best match for your property while exceeding your customer expectations.
What about Vietnamese tourism?
Although the international tourism sector in Vietnam took only 17% of the market share, its spending expenditure captured more than half of the whole tourism spending itself. Up to 80% foreign travellers to Vietnam are from Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Many are looking forward to visiting Vietnam on their next vacation, whenever we are ready to open for international travels again. According to Vnexpress, 63.4% of Japanese are eyeing for Vietnam travel tours.
With such demands, the acknowledged challenge for Vietnam is to control the Covid infection cases. Then gradually lost its travel restrictions and eventually opened the borders by starting the vaccine passport program. To achieve such a scenario, the Vietnam government has been aggressively pushing the vaccine campaign at full speed.
Many hotels are firm to evoke upcoming promotional travel tour packages as their marketing move. It can be tempting at first, but not sustainable in the long term and might come back to hurt you financially. International tourism might take time to resume its normal stage pre-pandemic. It is best to focus on the domestic tourism sector for now, which seems to shift toward high-end travel experiences after going through the long-term lockdown and not until they complete both vaccine doses.
The world post-COVID-19 fills with challenges and opportunities for the tourism and hospitality industries. There isn’t any clear sign of when the next outbreak will occur, and whether or not we will be able to control it. It is best to take small steps with caution, don’t you think?