Best practice for tourism industry operators in times of crisis is to stay connected with health/travel restriction advice from official government/expert sources like health.gov.au and tourism.australia.com. In your own business, these are some practical things you can do to weather the storm;
Clear and transparent communication is key to retaining customer trust. You'll know what is best for your unique set of circumstances and your business however, the opportunity presents to build a stronger relationship with your existing and potential customers.
Open a dialogue, be as flexible as you can with booking cancellations or date changes, err on the side of generosity if you are able as you endeavour to retain business and future earnings, look medium to long term so as to come out stronger down the track.
Keep your messaging clear and consistent. Whilst your business might be in a state of some hibernation, your image and brand need not be. Keep it as front-of-mind for your customers as you are able so that when things revert to a more normal state, you are there.
Now is a very good time to work on your business rather than in it.
Take the time to update your website. Build content whilst you have time to do so. Add customer testimonials to your website, refresh imagery and add stories. Update your /ATDW listing, and if relevant your business event and/or Listings and other online listings and databases you might use.
Be proactive and share positive news…positive local and regional news if relevant, nature and rebirth-type news and images (new lambs in the paddocks, fledglings in the nest, growth on trees, veggies in the garden etc.) and the like. Use every opportunity to celebrate even the smallest thing that is positively impacting your life, business and region.
Images speak louder than words. Share your photos and videos to showcase your business/region/destination.
Social media is your friend. Connect directly and frequently with your customers. Utilise blogs and social networks to transparently share information and news with your customers and stakeholders.
First published by Destination North Coast, News and Views Issue #63, Thursday 19 March, 2020.