By Jeremy Delgado
No one was expecting a pandemic. The idea of humanity quarantined, fighting an invisible contender was something movielike, but it happened, and we stepped up…
Most countries have been struggling to keep things going for about a year or so, and companies, as key players in the economy and social responsibility, have been challenged to keep operating with extra concern for people’s safety.
Tourism has been one of the most impacted sectors. Hotels and transportation companies have been forced to create new plans and strategies to stay in business during the quarantine and, now, the new everyday life. Many of them have not survived, but what about the ones still alive? What did they do, and what are they doing now?
As things are slowly restarting for this sector, we’ve been in touch with many of our providers abroad, and we have asked what they are doing to start receiving and moving people again. Here are some common points we found in many of them:
A safety-first tourism
We have to keep in mind that, from now on, guaranteeing safe and healthy places will be a competitive advantage in the new tourism industry. Today, tourism companies are acting hand in hand with the WHO, applying all recommended safety measures to protect employees and clients. Public health is the first concern, and taking and updating sanitary measures has been the priority.
Hotels and restaurants have created plans to keep facilities clean and safe for everyone, from basic individual disinfection protocols for employees and guests to tighter sterilization processes for utensils, places, and other things for everyday use.
Many companies have established emergency decision-making teams that created specific plans based on the particular risks presented in their business to ensure all the measures are adequately adapted and applied to their activities.
Tourism employees are coming back, but not to the same
Companies have been investing a lot in their employees’ wellbeing and sanitary resources not only for clients but also for them. They have been preparing employees to restart things, considering that many of them have been affected somehow by the pandemic. Most have faced personal loss, their workforce was likely reduced, and their health could have been affected during the last year. These factors may cause them not to feel ready yet to come back, as they are afraid or don’t know how to do what they were doing in this new normal.
Mental health plans, training, and group activities have been crucial to making tourism employees feel well-prepared or at least willing to face and endure their new work realities slowly. Most of our providers worldwide affirm that they are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment to ease the impacts on their employees.
New normal, new service standards
Many companies have seen the pandemic as an opportunity to do new things and do better. During the time resorts, hotels, and restaurants were almost deserted, many decided to experiment with new service standards and experiences with the very few people going to their places. They realized about new things people were valuing now.
This caused, for example, that many hotels started implementing healthcare memberships, special room sanitations, or reinventing the experiences of buffets or crowded casinos and pools. Meanwhile, tour operators are also reinventing the experience, offering more private tours, training tour guides on physical distancing, installing hand sanitizing stations, and offering new amenities (like masks) in their vehicle fleets.
But there’s something exciting happening lately in the industry: the necessary digitalization of services. Now we see virtual queues at parks, digital check-ins at hotels, and the massification of virtual reservations and ticketing options. As we see it, this has implied a critical evolution.
Encouraging Future Planning
In the industry, we understand that it is still difficult to talk about travel, and more, to actually travel nowadays. Travel companies, tour operators, hotels, destinations, and cruises are doing what they think is best to keep travelers safe and hopeful. Some are waiting to reopen as they are conscious they need preparation to keep travelers and citizens safe, while others are already open but not actively promoting.
But there is something happening in the whole industry, in big, small, and unknown names: We are all encouraging people to dream and plan for their future travels.
At Globe Guides, we think this is great, and we have been doing this for a few months now. We know how great travel is, how energizing, beautiful, and life-changing… It’s in our nature to want to explore, and even when times are hard, we encourage our clients not to lose hope in that staff retreat or incentive trip, because there will be a dream trip in the future, and it will be even better if they start dreaming and planning now.
Are you thinking about taking your team to a staff retreat soon? Have you been wondering what’s the best destination to go to or what measures are taken in your dream destination? You can join our community to let us know your thoughts or questions, and we will gladly respond!
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