For small business owners, especially those in the travel, activity and rental industry, this is a very uncertain time in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It may be scary to know what the future of your business holds, but keeping calm and with a plan is the best course of action. Let’s chat about tips to stay the course and afloat during this crisis.
Know the facts and adhere to the recommendations. It’s important to keep informed, but be mindful not to spend too much time watching the news. It can be overwhelming. Stick to the credible sources such as the CDC for your information and follow the guidelines to keep you, your family, and employees safe.
Be in touch with your customers. This will be critical during this time to keep in touch with your customers. If you are closed or do not have any traffic, it’s a great time to engage in other ways including:
- Let them know if you are still Open. Add a pop up or text on your website to let them know if you are still operating and if not, let them know when you expect to be open again.
- Provide real-time updates. Share with customers via a daily email, or blog post about how you are handling the changes that are happening right now.
- Social posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Everyone is at home, so these sites are what’s keeping us together.
- Post funny videos or images on your website. You can either share ones you like, or make your own.
- Webinars. Offer instructional sessions of your offerings. Examples could be boater safety, how to paddle board, or waterskiing techniques. This is your passion, so sharing it with your customers via a webinar is an excellent way to keep in touch.
- Offer chat hours. Post times during the day when you will be available to chat and answer questions.
Whatever your business is, think of creative ways to engage with others that will keep your customers as well as potential renters thinking about you.
Make a plan for changes During this time, it may mean you have to make changes to your business plan. Key changes may include the following:
- If you charge a booking fee, remove it now! Your customers are concerned about finances, and this fee will deter them.
- Review your pricing structure, and make changes to your rates in the interim if needed.
- Offer discounts. Create discounts codes, and share the code on your website so customers can take advantage of it.
- Hold off on purchasing new inventory. Now may not be the time to increase your fleet. Put any purchases on hold for now, and revisit at a later date.
Evaluate your offerings, look at your financials, and make a plan for today and also for when you are back to normal business operations.
Be flexible with your cancellation policy. In a recent article, we discuss the importance of a cancellation policy, and it certainly is! However, in times like these, you will need to be flexible with your policy. Customers will be hesitant to make a booking because they don’t know when they will be able to travel. Ease their concerns by offering full refunds on bookings or shorten the cancel time to 24 hours in advance. This will encourage them to make a booking with you, and know that they will be able to change or cancel without penalty if they have to cancel. Using a booking system, like WebReserv, will allow you to easily update your cancel policy as well as remove any cancellation fees from existing bookings that request a cancellation.
Above all, keep yourself and your family healthy. We will get through this.
Here at WebReserv, we are heeding the same advice. We are all working from home, practicing social distancing, and making a plan for the busy season. We are open for business and available by phone, email, or chat. Reach out and let’s connect!