So we have an indication of when lockdown might end (in England at least), and there is cautious optimism that the worst is over.
But... It's still going to be a while before many can fully re-open.
I can't offer any financial support or certainty.
All I can do is continue to offer marketing guidance and a perspective gained from a lot of years marketing, even in a crisis.
9/11, Foot and Mouth and various recessions didn't affect the whole country in the same way as the pandemic but they - and current research - indicate that there'll be a strong bounce back once people are able to travel again.
In the meantime, what can you do?
We now have tentative dates for re-opening so now might be a good time to get some of those 'keep meaning to do for ages' jobs done? Some of these could make your business more profitable, easier to run, and secure a better longer term future.
Here are a few suggestions:
We may get some lovely Spring weather with fewer crowds around. Take advantage of this time to take/re-take as many photos as you can. Think through all your marketing - website, blogs, mailings, social media - what kind of additional images would be good to have? Perhaps use this time to sort out your photo library, make sure all images are labelled, and up to date?
Last chance to spring clean your website before the bookings flood in? When was the last time you went through your site, page by page, with a critical eye? Or maybe ask a friend to help look at it through fresh eyes?
Keep meaning to get your social media 'sorted'? It's likely you'll get really busy soon, and then still want to secure some off-peak business so use this time to plan out some posts, get images ready and prepare as much as you can in advance. If you do use scheduling tools, make sure you look at and respond to comments in real time.
Is there something you've been putting off for a while but 'know' it's important? Getting to grips with Google Analytics perhaps? Do it now! I usually find the things I put off are much simpler and quicker to do once I tell myself to sit still and just get on with it...
Could you set up something you just haven't had chance to do before? A good example might be Pinterest - it's easy to use and is more of a visual search engine than a social media tool. Spend some time on it now and the positive effects will last for ages.
Every website can be enhanced with more inspirational content and more local information. Spend a while updating local walks, new places you've discovered during lockdown and add details of other local businesses you'd to support.
Look at how you make most of your income: I'm not suggesting exploitative price hikes but it is worth looking at the rates you charge, the service you offer, your high, low season and shoulder months. Do you need to make any adjustments, either now or in the future?
If you normally accept a lot of one night stays is this a good time to think how you might encourage longer stays? Food and drink businesses and attractions will need to recoup lost income through up-selling and secondary spend. What staff training or other measures are in place to do this?
Please note: all articles are copyright Susan Briggs 2021
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All articles on this site are copyright Susan Briggs, The Tourism Network Ltd 2021
Email Susan Briggs
The Tourism Network Ltd, The Old Mill, Millgate, Masham, HG4 4EZ
Tel: 07768 365591