If you run a travel-related or hospitality business tourism funding is available for you in these difficult times. You’ll know the impact of the global pandemic on the tourism industry has been significant.
With COVID-19 sweeping the globe, many people have been unable or reluctant to leave their homes or travel abroad.
This unexpected circumstance has resulted in a significant decline in tourism revenue for many countries. Compared to the previous year, the UK travel and tourism industry saw its income halved in 2020 due to the pandemic!
Help is on its Way!
It’s the same story globally.
However, governments, local authorities and the private sector are all offering financial support packages to help businesses in the tourism sector recover.
This article will outline how you can use these funding programmes for your tourism business and invest in ways to bounce back.
1. Engage With Your Customers to Keep Them Focused on Your Services
What’s a great way to keep your business present in the mind of your customers?
Use tourism funding to develop a coordinated engagement programme. Eligible businesses can use a range of business support options to fund developments to these essential service elements.
Regularly contacting existing and potential customers through a dynamic content management system can positively boost your profits.
How can Funding Opportunities Help Businesses Impacted by Covid?
Tourism and hospitality businesses can use social media or email marketing campaigns to achieve this level of contact.
The more you interact with your customers, the more likely they will remember your tourism business. That means they’re more likely to return for future services.
Essentially, interacting with your customers and increasing engagement will add to your economic recovery.
An excellent place to start would be an Instagram account where you post pictures from your venue every day…reach out to influencers and see if they will help you promote your brand. You will be surprised how many will be more than willing!
You could introduce different members of staff. Even if you don’t feel like you have a full range of events to promote, you’d be amazed at how many opportunities you have to publicise what you do.
Visitors love to know what you have to offer and enjoy direct contact.
Ways to Keep Customers Engaged and Focused
There are other ways that funding investment into the direct contact options available to you can increase your revenue:
- Improve the efficiency and reach of your mailing lists
- Develop and distribute a regular newsletter via email
- Integrate social media feeds with your website
- Plan and publicise special offers for returning customers
- Develop a regular posting and contact strategy or timetable
- Share work in progress and everyday activities (as well as big news)
- Keep your brand voice consistent across platforms
- Advise tourists, guide them and provide more value than your competitors
Learn how to maintain your website and keep visitors coming back.
2. Develop your Website and Online Resources for Maximum Functionality
One of the single most important steps your business can take to recover is to ensure that your website is working as hard as you are.
After all, most visitors’ first impression of your brand is online. That’s where you need to stand out if you’re going to flourish in the future.
What Should Your Website be Doing for You?
5 key ways you could use recovery funding to improve your brand are:
- Booking Management System and enhanced web functionality
- Brand strategy, bring out your brand story and communicate your journey
- Email marketing, building email lists and improving points of contact
- A clean, crisp, modern website that is easy to use
- SEO, getting in front of more tourists!
The Calanais Standing Stones is an excellent example of a website we built combining ease of use with functionality and great design.
This local organisation was a recipient of funding for tourism, and we were delighted to work with them to give their brand a complete overhaul. They’re now ready for a bright, post-pandemic future!
Check out our article on using funding opportunities to market your tourism and hospitality business here.
3. Make Sure you Know What Your Competitors are Doing, and do it Better!
With the tourism sector being a globally competitive industry, knowing what your competitors are doing is essential.
You also need to understand how you can do it better…
You may not be able to improve on everything they offer or make every single aspect of their business model work for you. However, there will always be something that you can do better than them if you put your mind to it!
And remember: tourism is all about the visitor experience. Don’t underestimate any detail that could help give you a competitive edge.
Top Tourism Industry Strategies
Why not try developing projects that reward loyalty or repeat customs to encourage more business?
You could work with a range of local or online partners. They could help improve the depth of your offer, supporting other businesses in your internal market.
Remember, it’s not just about reducing prices, but also about improving quality. Investment in training programmes or qualifications for staff would be a great way to enhance your offer too.
You could also use the funding for promotional purposes. After all, there’s no point doing something better than your competition if no one knows about it!
If you want to take your tourism marketing efforts up a notch, consider investing in good quality video content. According to the 2021 Wyzowl Video Survey, 93% of marketers say it is essential to include videos within a marketing strategy.
These same experts believe that it has helped them increase their overall revenue. It could be an excellent way for your tourism business to use some of the financial support on offer!
Social media is dominated by video content these days! If you can create engaging and visually appealing videos, you’ll be able to reach a whole new audience on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
4. Use Contactless Technology to Encourage Customer Wellbeing and Confidence
Funding programmes financed by the central government are often concerned with the overall development of responsible tourism.
That can come in many forms. You should ensure that critical areas of customer wellbeing and confidence prioritise physical venues.
Businesses in the tourism industry can use this financial support by investing in contactless technology. This investment might not seem like a priority when compared with potential improvements to the infrastructure of your venue.
However, publicising the lengths tourism businesses go to when safeguarding their visitors can result in greater booking confidence.
What Kinds of Contactless Technology can I Use?
Contactless technology has tremendous potential, and if your funding allows it, you might consider its use in:
- Visitor display materials
- Ticketing and venue information
- Publications and products
- Surveys and feedback
- Orders and bookings
- Visitor counts
- Payments and contributions
Ways to minimise physical contact but retain a high level of interaction are fantastic opportunities.
You’ll need to ensure that your hardware integrates smoothly with your online systems, most importantly your website!
5. Use Tourism Funding to Engage Directly With Your Local Community
The financial support offered to businesses in the tourism industry can fund a wide range of community initiatives.
From one-off events to the sponsorship of ongoing initiatives, they give businesses and residents a chance to contribute to the local economy.
If these events have a sustainable bias, then using grants or a one-off payment to benefit this type of scheme is a great way to raise your profile. Plus, you can take advantage of a full range of income-generating opportunities.
Businesses previously supported with recovery funding may well be eligible for a top-up payment. That can make the effort of developing community outreach projects particularly rewarding.
How Can Business Support Benefit the Local Community?
There are many ways that the kind of business support you provide can add to local economic recovery. They can also help your own business grow.
Try developing projects with other local venues or charities to raise your profile. Equally, you could consider investing in school projects or supporting a scheme to improve transport links.
You could enhance infrastructure or marketing and connect with other relevant programmes in your sector.
Although it might not happen immediately, the publicity attached to improving your community can generate lots of positive support. You can use this as the basis of some outstanding marketing campaigns.
Great Ideas for Moving Forward
If you’re thinking about using growth or recovery funding to set up initiatives or stand-alone events, then there are a wide range of ideas out there.
Examples are hosting tournaments, conventions or concerts, festivals, themed occasions and more. You can find many ideas for spending your tourism grants by developing activities and events online.
For further information, it’s also worth reading the UK Tourism Recovery Plan, which outlines the ongoing strategy for tourism funding in the UK.
Conclusion: Invest in Your Online Presence to Bounce-Back From the Pandemic
Spending money after a period of sustained loss can feel counter-intuitive.
However, investing tourism funding to build your business up and attract back cautious customers is the right strategy for growth.
Investing in your brand, website, and online presence is the best solution to prepare your tourism and hospitality business. It’ll also bring the successful future that you and your customers deserve!