How Tour Operators Cope With The COVID-19 Pandemic?
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have taken a hit but the major brunt was seen and felt almost instantly in the travel and tourism industry. It is saddening to see how the technological revolution that brought all of us together by making travel and tourism easy and affordable fueling 4 billion trips a year – is struggling to tackle a virus that demands that we stay at home and not move.
The coronavirus was first identified in late-2019 in the Wuhan region of China and is now present in dozens of countries around the globe.
Some of the critical details that you must be aware of-
â More than 3 million cases have been confirmed.
â More than 200 thousand deaths have been recorded.
â 210 countries or territories have been impacted.
â Number of cases “recovering” from symptoms over 800 thousand. Remainder still under observation or quarantine.
â The World Health Organization declared the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 as global pandemic from 11th March.
The outbreak of COVID-19is having an inevitable impact on the travel industry, not just limited to hotels but has affected airline, cruise, and as a result even the car rental industry a lot.
Let us have a look at the global statistics to get more clarity.
- Starting from 1st January 2020 to 29th February 2020, the room revenue trend saw a steep decline globally. It showcased a 16% month-over-month decline, for the month of Jan-Feb, this analysis was done by RateGain, a travel technology company.
- The room revenue downward trend can be directly attributed to the decrease in the overall booking during the same month. According to the research, it showcased that the reservations made during the month for any future date in the next 12 months, found that the bookings were globally down by 9%.
- The company even compared the % change of the reservation data extracted from the first week (1st-7th March 2020) to the second week of March (8-14th March 2020).
- According to the analysis, every single destination country showed a booking decline in Week 8. For instance, Italy posted a staggering 20% decline from the first week to the second week of march due to the complete lockdown across the country.
How to cope with such difficult times?
- Sadly, we don’t know when this crisis will end; all we can do is be hopeful and practice social distancing.
- What we do know is that millions of jobs are at risk, that we need to protect, especially the vulnerable segments like SMEs, self-employed, women and the youth. We need to have survival mechanisms/plans for companies.
- One thing is for sure that we need strong support in navigating the unparalleled economic and social impact of Coronavirus. Currently, what we need are fiscal and monetary measures that will help protect jobs, help the self-employed and company’s liquidity and operations and accelerate recovery.
- To help all the hoteliers today, we need an efficient travel technology platform like OPTIMA by RateGain. It helps hotels maximize their chances of getting a significant chunk of the business available in the market. The software helps provide a better understanding of the competitors who are in the same business realm.
- As one might be aware, tourism is a significant job provider for many people, especially women and youth. It is also believed that it is the sector with proven capacity to bounce back and help other sectors as well.
- Finally yet importantly, we need a strong mitigation and recovery plan that will support the sector and help generate returns across the whole economy and jobs.
In conclusion, these were some steps that the travel and hospitality sector can take for a better and safer future.