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Crisis Management and Re-imagining the Future of Travel Businesses

Crises are periods of intense uncertainty characterized by unpredictability and loss of control over key functions of systems. Generally, a crisis affecting tourism manifests as an event or set of circumstances that compromise or damage the market potential and reputation of a tourism business or an entire region. 

Crisis management consists of the “strategies, processes and measures which are planned and put into force to prevent and cope with the crisis”. Risk and crisis management is an integral component of overall tourism and hospitality management, practiced at the destination level by public sector agencies and communities, larger enterprises at the destination level, and individual businesses.

Effective risk management can prevent an issue from becoming a crisis. Poor understanding and management of risks can lead to a crisis situation. Risk management involves assessing the probability of negative events that may lead to the tourism sector being unable to operate normally. Six functions of risk management are identified by:

  • Identify: Identify risks or hazards before they become realities
  • Analyse: Evaluate the probabilities, time-frames and potential impacts of each risk and then classify and prioritise them
  • Plan: Formulate contingency action plans for mitigating the potential impact of each risk
  • Track: Monitor the likely effectiveness of these plans by reviewing evolving risks
  • Control: Revise the plans according to data from the monitoring stage
  • Communicate: Ensure stakeholder buy-in and support in monitoring changes in the risk environment.

As many destinations begin to ease lockdown restrictions and more travelers seek out their next getaways to escape the city, tour and activity operators will be on the frontlines welcoming new guests from different destinations. To restart travel, the tourism sector needs to work together to win back consumer confidence, and below are a few heads up points that will help tour operators to prepare for a solid comeback into business 

Focus on Health and Safety; Let’s face it, the way our bodies move in public spaces will never be the same again and the same goes for your customer segment. They are unlikely to ignore health and safety concerns moving forwards. 

Work on your marketing; Check-up on your website to make sure that your content is updated and that your Google Analytics is set up correctly. 

Build and strengthen your distribution; Now is a good time to build up partnerships with online travel agents, local operators, and your local destination management company. Remember to also review your contracts with existing partners and call them up if you need to renegotiate terms.

Streamline your operations; Have you thought about improving the way things are done internally? Because we have. Now is the time, if you have the time, to look into automating your systems, streamlining communications, and getting more efficient with the way your company runs. 

Implement revenue management; It’s never been more important for tour and activity suppliers to understand their revenue streams, business cost structures, and revenue drivers. 

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