8 Great Ways to Support the Travel Industry From Home
Spending months sat in your Pyjamas, Netflix on repeat and passport gathering dust is probably not what you planned for 2020. With airlines on the brink of collapse, tour operators postponing trips and redundancies across the hospitality and tourism sectors, it’s no secret the travel industry has been hit hard by Coronavirus. However, there are still ways you can support the industry and these small gestures can help rebuild tourism.
There are so many small communities around the world who rely on tourism to keep them afloat, without travellers visiting, spending, clicking or booking, these small businesses are being forced to close. With so many of us now returning home, trips cancelled and plans on hold we should use this time wisely to support the travel community so there are places to visit in the future and small businesses can get through this tough time.
1. Holiday at Home
Let’s start local as chances are, these are the places you’ll actually be able to visit at the moment. Lockdown has “forced” many of us to holiday at home and explore what’s on our doorstep, but this can only be a good thing. You are also likely to discover hikes, architecture, food and views you’ve never experienced before as too often we are in a hurry to leave homeand don’t take the time to appreciate what’s already there. By travelling domestically, you are helping your local economy recover faster.
You can also use this time at home to think before you spend. Could you buy that takeaway coffee from a small business instead of a big corporate chain? Why not order take out from the café down the road? Perhaps friends or neighbours have set up businesses during the lockdown that you could support? Could you visit local galleries or museums to replace the income they usually get from overseas travellers? These may sound like small steps, but every penny will help support the survival of small businesses.
You could even consider a Workaway at home – with over 50,000 opportunities it would be quite likely there is someone in your area who would value your help. All hands on deck are needed now more than ever, and by assisting your local community first, it’s the perfect practice for when it’s safe to go further afield.
2. Leave Reviews
While some regions allow locals to travel domestically, many are still on lockdown – if you’re the latter, there are still ways to show support from your sofa. One of the easiest ways to support the travel industry during this time is by leaving online reviews.
That’s right, instead of bingeing on another Netflix series, pour yourself a cuppa and reminisce over your recent adventures. While you’re at it, review the last hotel you stayed in, rate that restaurant with the epic views on Google, or email that tour operator who made your trip unforgettable.
Best of all, leaving a review won’t cost you anything except 5 minutes of your time. Think how many businesses near and far you could support with your kind words in the time you’d usually spend scrolling through Facebook each night?
Although reviews won’t help these businesses earn money at the moment, they will undoubtedly help morale in the short term, and boost these businesses up the ranks when the economy gets going again in the long term.
3. Buy Vouchers
Did you know that the tourism industry accounts for approximately 1 in 10 jobs around the world? This means it’s not just hotels and flight attendants that need your help. From taxi drivers to tour guides, gig venues to galleries, there are more than 300,000,000 jobs globally within the tourism sector. With travels on hold, how can we help keep these jobs safe?
One way you can do this is by purchasing vouchers. This means you help the company’s cash flow despite their lack of footfall. Whether it’s for yourself to ease the holiday blues or a gift for a friend, you’d be surprised how many companies offer gift cards or voucher schemes. Not only will this keep income trickling in for them, but it gives you an experience to look forward to in the future.
With any voucher, always check the terms & conditions that you have a suitable amount of time to use it and check your refund rights should the company cease trading before you get to use it.
4. Explore Virtually
While many of us have been fortunate to adapt and learn to work from home, for many businesses within the travel realm this is impossible. Businesses such as museums, national parks and theatres have had to pivot their plans this year and think of ways to reach visitors (and make a living) while working remotely.
One of the main ways businesses have adapted is by offering virtual experiences. This means you can enjoy virtual tours of galleries from around the world, online cooking classes, live-streamed walking tours and so on. Virtual experiences are one of the many ways to support the new normal, so we have an old normal to return to.
This is because by enjoying these experiences virtually and staying home not only are you helping to keep your community safe, but you are helping save these iconic landmarks for future visitors. It will also help keep any travel cravings at bay as you can still enjoy new experiences and places, you just won’t have the passport stamps to prove it.
5. Share A Throwback on Social Media
Whether you tweet that restaurant reminiscing about their amazing brunch, or you share a #throwbackthursday from your Workaway in Portugal – just because your travels are on hold, doesn’t mean your memories need to be. Companies and communities will appreciate any kind of exposure right now, not to mention you will be inspiring family and friends at the same time to get adventuring when it's safe to do so.
Consider your social media posts as free advertising for your favourite travel companies – a simple snap can help spread the word without costing these companies (or you) a penny! Better yet, this content can then be repurposed by companies to share customer experiences during a time when they won’t have current customers or an advertising budget.
6. Postpone Instead of Cancel
If there’s one thing getting us through 2020 it’s the thought of packing our bags again. Which is why having a trip to look forward to will definitely help keep spirits up and wanderlust in check.
It goes without saying companies are under a lot of stress right now to refund customers as trips and experiences are no longer going ahead at the moment. However, if you don’t urgently need the money right now, consider postponing instead of asking for a refund. What’s the difference, you ask?
By asking for a refund, it means the company makes no money – money which they need for rent, bills, licenses, staff and so on. As the demand for refunds increases, so does the likelihood of the company going broke as they can’t cover their outgoings.
By postponing on the other hand, you will still get to enjoy your trip (although a little later than planned) and the company will have a little income to keep them going. It’s a win, win.
7. Don't Stop Dreaming & Planning
Although flights might be firmly on the ground, your head can still be in the clouds. Start dreaming about your next adventure now and use those postponed plans to your advantage. Get a head start of the competition by using this time to contact potential hosts, tweak your Workaway profile, plan better and research for longer.
Travellers often thrive on last minute plans, but most businesses do not – some companies may not know you hope to use them in 2 months’ time so by reaching out now they know demand is there for their services. This encouragement and influx of future bookings will keep the tourism sector afloat until we can all travel freely again.
8. Remember the Good Guys
While the events of 2020 have been devastating across the globe, it has also demonstrated incredible community spirit and kindness beyond belief. When the time comes (which it will!) that we can return to normal, we ask you to remember the good guys.
Who were the companies that stepped up? Who supported their employees? Who donated to local food banks or offered services for free to those on the front line? These are the places that deserve your hard-earned money once this has all blown over.
On the other hand, could your next trip help a small business or community reliant on tourism rebuild their footfall and finances? Instead of travelling to tick off yet another country from your bucket list consider who else could benefit from your travels - where and who would appreciate your time? Better yet, can Workaway help make that happen?
We get it, right now it’s confusing for the travel community as the industry has never faced something like this, so we’re all learning and adapting. While borders slowly begin to reopen in some places, for others Costa Del Kitchen will be the furthest we can travel.
Hitting pause on any travel plans is frustrating, but by using these tips and resources, a pause will hopefully be all it is as your adventures can resume soon and it’ll be time to dust off that passport.