The Road to Recovery
Janet Dixon , May 2020
A few years back the Beatles wrote a song “A Long and Winding Road”. “The long and winding road that leads to your door, will never disappear……’ The same line can be applied to our B&Bs, Lodges and Farmstays. The one certainty we have at the moment is that we will need to operate under different rules for an uncertain length of time and our market will be different.
If we can plan, adapt and adjust our small businesses through the coming months of changing levels of operation we can survive this maze of unknowns. There are some essential points that need to be considered on our road to recovery. This will allow most of us to make it through this major downturn.
For many of us the overseas market has been our bread and butter and the first step in realising recovery is to accept that this market won’t be available to us for at least for 2 years, possibly 3. Yes, there is talk of an Australia/New Zealand bubble, however what will this mean; 14-day quarantine on either side of the ditch? Health Passports that are currently being mooted in other countries? Compulsory travel tracking apps? Only travelling within one region? More intensive Health & Safety and information collection processes? The great unknowns.
So it’s time to rethink our marketing strategy without compromising our value and quality of guest services to fit the New Zealand market. There will be no relief in our basic infrastructure costs so think about that when pricing for your new market. You already have a reputation for providing good service and your value remains the same. Remember your business value and reputation when planning and implementing your new local/national business strategy.
Research the New Zealand traveller. When travelling in NZ what do you want? What insights have your past NZ guests given you that you can be implementing now? What does your region have that is unique? Who is the most likely traveller in your area i.e. trampers, wine lovers, luxury escape, bush hideaways, this list is long. Take the time to know who your NZ traveller is and market your services to them. Connect with your Regional Tourism Office. These local relationships are more important that they have ever been.
Information. My goodness there is so much information currently circulating through the tourism industry. Join the webinars, the Zoom coffee mornings, the newsletter networks, and the associations that have been working so hard on your behalf. Having the support of many tourism organisations available to us is invaluable. For the cost of 1-2 nights’ accommodation a year, this is money well spent. It would be a very lonely journey if we did not have each other during this time. We are always grateful for the support of Bed & Breakfast Association.
Education. Take this time to learn about things you have always wanted to. It doesn’t matter if it’s directly or indirectly related to your business. What ever you choose to learn will have a positive outcome for you as an individual and for your business.
Maintain your current business relationships. Local suppliers, i-sites, ITOs, website folk, channel managers and whoever else. These relationships have made it possible for us to be the wonderful businesses that we are. Check in with these providers so the relationships can remain strong and viable.
Road to Recovery. We will get through this and learn so much.
So to summarise keep and enhance your current value, adjust to and know your new market, keep informed, keep educated, actively join and support those working for your future, maintain and nurture your current business partnerships.
This road to recovery will have a pothole or two and there will be plenty of gravelly ruts. The unknown is scary – but it will be a great adventure as we tackle this “long and winding road”.
Kia Kaha, me te Aroha.