Since the beginning of global quarantine, the YouLive To Travel team has been hosting weekly online workshops for travel entrepreneurs and niche tour operators from all over the world.
We have witnessed the travel community split between two extremes — PAUSE and wait for the recovery, or PIVOT to Virtual Experiences.
In between those extremes is a range of options, from just posting dream trip content to launching virtual wine tastings with pre-shipped deliveries.
Every business considering virtual experiences needs to balance a number of factors, such as:
- The audience it serves — do they perceive value online experiences?
- Educational aspect of the product
- The role of immersion into a physical environment — is it essential?
- The role of a guide persona on the trip — some may refer to trip leaders as influencers, mentors, or storytellers specializing in their niche.
Often, creativity is the key to re-positioning. For some, stay-at-home audiences has meant triple the number of viewers — take a look at Sarah Funk and her YouTube tours around New York.
The travel pause has been noted as an opportunity to raise brand awareness. Chris Wurden of Soundsmith Wurden has built his audience with interviews, FB live sessions and virtual retreats. Australian-based The Hacker Exchange moved their incubator programs online by introducing HEX Virtual.
We find it is important to share experiences between trip organizers and travel entrepreneurs first hand.
Today our travel community forecasts:
- Shorter trips in smaller groups within smaller distance from the home base — domestic tourism is expected to be the first to take off post-covid while travelers are expected to restart by traveling in smaller groups, likely families and close friends.
- More guided experiences, less independent travel — more travelers will rely on support of travel designers and local guides to ensure safe experiences.
- More wellness and sustainability oriented travel — the first wave of travelers is predicted to direct attention towards destinations with a well-being aspect, at the same time the “do good” intention is to be magnified by the environmental changes revealed during the pandemic.
- More extensive trip planning, including educating travelers about the safety measures — the “unknown” factor will play even more significant role than before. The rules of travel have changed.
– Will I be required to report my location?
– How to connect with the local representatives in case of emergency?
– What regions prohibit or restrict tourism right now?
– What services are introduced to ensure travelers’ safety?
Those questions require professional opinions and hours of research, and could be an opportunity for travel designers to shine.
And let’s not forget about the unexpected and often positive outcomes of every crisis. Take, for example incredible progress in the fight against over-tourism. Museums, universities, and destinations are opening their virtual doors to serve client unable to come to them, which in turn makes the world much more accessible for all, including people with disabilities and those who can’t afford travel.
Pick the strategic approach that provides value to your clients AND sustains your business in a long run!
As an agile software provider we support our travel community with digital products that empower organizers to make a decision and move forward with ease.
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