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  • Writer's pictureRachael Annabelle

Starting A Travel Company during the Covid-19 Outbreak

Aerial Shot of Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand

People look at with pity in their eyes, when they find out I’m in the midst of launching a travel product during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Frankly speaking, there isn’t any travel happening now. With coronavirus ravaging through the globe, tourism has (almost) come to a complete standstill. Planes are now grounded, agencies are offering refunds, and tourist attractions are being shut down. 84% of global travelers have had their travel plans impacted by COVID-19.

My reply? “I think it is the perfect time to start a travel company”.

Yes, we didn’t expect a virus to cause the performance of the tourism industry to dwindle. That said, it does not mean that all hope is lost. Having travel bans in place and borders shut buys you time to lay the foundations of your business — the industry has never been slower, with established players and cutting their losses, freezing pays, and introducing more refund policies. Take this opportunity to build up your business when your competitors are busy keeping themselves afloat.

Whether you’re working on a new travel product, service, or opening a travel-based franchise, the first few months would undoubtedly be when you get the basic infrastructure up, hire people and get the business off the ground.

The internet today is full of noise and distractions. Spend time thinking about how to cut through all of those with some new marketing tactics. Create content and start scheduling them so people will hear about you now and have something to be excited about. Build your brand awareness and have people include you in their grand travel plans when they can finally continue their jetsetting, globetrotting habits.

My product focuses on exotic and sustainable travel for groups, especially people from Gen Z, the first generation of truly digital natives. They’re visual and experiential creatures. Yet, right now, millions of them are locked down at home with pent up wanderlust, having graduated from college and being forced to re-think their post-graduation plans. These feel-good travelers want to roam the earth, in an attempt to better themselves and the places that they go to. Covid-19 presented an opportunity for us to re-think the current travel trends and habits, and redesign the process of discovering beautiful destinations.

Beyond that, we believe that travel can be a force for good, and that our solution can play a part in nation-building, by changing the perception that people have of various countries using compelling visuals and stories. The travel landscape is changing. For example, Galapagos, Antartica and Morocco - these are historically less popular amongst tourists, yet are predicted to be one of the top picks for tourists post-covid due to reasons such as safety and novelty.

If you’re already running a travel business and are feeling the heat from the virus charging its way into town, perhaps this downtime may be the perfect period to rework some of your old campaigns and revamp your content to generate more leads.

Either way, if you’re still keen on travel and tourism, it would be a good idea to ride this wave of the COVID-19 — when the virus takes a hike and travel bans are lifted, people all over the world with pent up frustrations of being stuck at home and having their vacations canceled would be more than ready to toss their money at you for some long-awaited travel experiences.

Many who have deferred or canceled their trips are still actively looking for tickets and deals they can snatch up in advance due to the perceived low rates and generous cancellation policies that are ongoing now, with the mindset that by the time the end of 2020 is round the corner, they would be able to travel with a peace of mind.

While the economy has slowed down, it will not stop running forever. So we might as well stay positive (and healthy) during this pandemic and take things in our stride. While things are moving slowly, get your engine going so that you’ll be ready for the next wave of tourists when they come out of their caves. Travel demand rebounded after SARS, so will the industry and its activities when the COVID-19 dies down.

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