Being in the travel industry, Muthuri shared details on how their company’s operations were affected since the first case of the Corona Virus was recorded in the country. He also shared insights on how his Turn-up Travel is now readjusting to the new normal, summarized in what he called the 8 P’s of keeping your brand afloat during this period. Take it away, Muthuri:
People refer to the human resources for your business, including yourself.
Start off by being human and empathetic. While you most certainly have to run your business, which doesn’t always mean making the “nice” decisions, don’t be inflexible to the needs of your team or your clients.
This might mean being more open to flexible hours or work. It might also mean selectively enforcing contracts.
With more people working from home, you may want to re-assign a few duties and slightly tweak others. Look for workers with the right skills who could step into critical roles if needed. Allow people to work in shifts. This will help ensure that some of your employees do not have an overload while others have little or nothing to do at all.
During this period, you would want to also consider virtual training for your employees to simply develop their skills and retaining good staff.
Process refers to the processes involved in delivering your products and services to the customer. It is also about being ‘easy to do business with’.
Having good processes in place especially during this period ensures that you repeatedly deliver the same standard of service to your customers and save time and money by increasing efficiency.
Product refers to what you are selling, including all of the features, advantages and benefits that your customers can enjoy from buying your goods or services.
With the ongoing pandemic, look for the current pain-points and innovate around them. Re-adopt slowly and find an innovative way to introduce your customers to new products.
You can use research and development to inform the development of new products in your business.
For example for Turn-Up Travels, in the case where they couldn’t offer tour packages anymore they came up with a new product, Turn-Up Rides, a GDS enabled booking solution that allows users to book a seat for group transfers or exclusive car hire solutions with flexibility and safety.
With the fleet of vehicles and network, they are able to customize their itinerary for dedicated transport solutions following the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health. All vehicles (for saloon cars, land cruisers, overland trucks, mini vans, vans and boats are thoroughly washed and sanitized after every trip. All payments are also cashless on the platform.
Align your services and focus more on the business core. Set out objectives and process that will determine the tasks that need to be done that will align with the company’s long-term goals and strengthen the company’s operational activities.
You can discuss about what the competition are doing. Outline the strengths and weaknesses of what you do and compare them to what your competition is doing.
During this period shoot your shot, develop templates and update your pitch decks. Explore new partnerships. Apply to the funding opportunities that are currently live. Re-evaluate the gaps in your business and keep your relationships warm.
Collaboration and strategic partnerships are fundamental to improving business outcomes. The reality of today’s business landscape, however, means that partnerships are key to better serving customers by merging talent, expertise, technology and purpose. While the rewards are great, strategic partnerships require thoughtful consideration to ensure success is achieved.
To help in maintaining your brand, for the brand stories you can tell. Ensure that you communicate consistently with your customers through the different marketing channels, i.e email marketing that could include sending out Newsletters.Remember you have spent time and money and resources nurturing those client relationships, so don’t abandon them now.
Be proactive in your public messaging, check-in with your clients often, and stay on top of the latest development regarding the spread of COVID-19. You do not have to go off but re-adjust your content.
Position yourself as part of your client’s support network. Your clients will remember the care you took with them in a time when everything feels a little scary. Look for interesting niche’s your brand can plug-in.
Do not go silent on Social media. Social Media is primarily for brand awareness, community cultivation, rapport and relationship building, and brand conversations.
Sales from social media is the side benefit that comes once you’ve put in the relationship work, and going dark during a time when we can anticipate social media usage increasing isn’t a smart move for your business
Mot supply chains have been disrupted. Look at what you need to pass to your consumers and how you can. Do not reduce the price, rather find a way you can add in value to your customers. For example, if you have a physical store, think of how you can be and tap into e-commerce. Build your business to reach, serve and engage your customers.
As a business person you also need to ensure you stay safe and sane. Think of post-COVID and put together strategies on that as they lie limitless opportunities. Look at things 30 to 90 days from today and try to lower your expectations. Mind your business and check for the new privileges during this period. Also, work towards adopting this as a new normal even as you renegotiate.
Don’t lose sight of other risks. COVID-19 isn’t the only threat on the horizon — and often organizations are at their most vulnerable when dealing with a crisis that dominates their attention. The many other risks that your business faces aren’t diminished by an epidemic. Cybersecurity, for example, should always be top of mind.
In his conclusion Muthuri pointed out that in as much we do not know when all this will be over, the Tourism industry should be prepared for a shift from diversification to pricing around seasons maybe after the dust settles, there will be limitless opportunities and businesses should be ready to tap into all these.
Ps: The link to the webinar will be soon available.