How three tourism businesses are gearing up for 2022
At a glance
Here’s a snapshot of the advice from our interviewees:
- After two years of struggle, tourism businesses are preparing to ramp up for 2022.
- For some businesses scaling up to meet demand is a risk worth taking – but supply chain difficulties make that a tougher proposition than it would otherwise be.
- Giving customers as much confidence as possible to book is critical.
- By increasing communications, trust and confidence can be increased.
Some tourism businesses have taken a huge hit over the past two years. But with tourists now being welcomed back into most of the country, it’s time to – cautiously – look ahead.
We spoke to three tourism businesses about their key challenges for the year ahead – and how they are dealing with them.
Increasing confidence and certainty: Sea Horse Diamond Beach, NSW
Dianne Denton, CEO of luxury holiday home provider Sea Horse Diamond Beach, is focusing on giving people the confidence to book holidays again.
“The biggest challenge facing us at the moment is people’s fear and uncertainty – quite naturally, people are concerned and nervous about booking a holiday in case there’s another lockdown or closure,” Dianne says.
“To try to alleviate this fear, we’ve introduced our ‘fast, friendly and full’ COVID refund, meaning that if a guest has made a booking with us and they can’t get here because of a government-mandated lockdown, they get their money back straightaway – no quibbles, no arguing.
“People need to feel as safe as possible making a booking, and that’s one way we can help create that feeling of safety.
“We’ve put a lot more personal communication in place too when people are making a booking – this also reinforces that feeling of safety – and we’ve increased our marketing. Our holiday accommodation is all self-contained, so there’s no sharing pools or lifts, for example, and that is something we emphasise as it also helps allay some of those fears.”
Preparing for borders reopening: View Retreats, Victoria
Mat Lewis, CEO and Co-Founder of luxury accommodation and getaway provider View Retreats, is focusing on local getaways while preparing for whatever happens next.
“Now that most domestic borders are open again, the main challenges are staffing, supply and consumer confidence,” Mat says.
“Those people who are confident enough to travel are generally booking getaways that are much closer to home (rather than interstate), and they are also booking with much shorter notice. Because of this, we’re focusing on promoting local getaways in each state rather than nationwide getaways. We’re also pushing properties with ‘free cancellation’ to give people confidence to book and flexibility in case their plans change.
“We expect that things will change over the coming few months. Not a lot of people are booking international holidays at the moment, but we are starting to see an increase in traffic and enquiries for destinations like Fiji and Bali. We’re also noticing a lot of traffic from international customers searching for Australian destinations in preparation for our borders reopening to international visitors.
“Unlike some of the initial spikes in bookings when the very early lockdowns were lifted, we expect the return this time to be more gradual as the market gains confidence and the world adapts to the new normal.”
Revving up for action: Cape York Motorcycles, Queensland
Last time we spoke with Renae Kunda, director of guided motorcycle tour provider Cape York Motorcycles in Smithfield, Queensland, she was optimistic about what 2021 would bring and hiring a new crew to meet increased demand.
Now, Cape York Motorcycles is again scaling up to meet demand, at the same time as sourcing motorcycles and support vehicles despite supply chain challenges.
“COVID knocked out travel for 2020/2021, so all of those clients are now travelling in 2022. Therefore, the first challenge for us is purchasing the fleets of motorcycles and support vehicles to match those numbers – with a global supply shortage. We’ve had to look interstate and across different suppliers and brands to make up the numbers required,” Renae says.
“We also need to train new crew members to handle the workload, which is more difficult when potential recruits refuse to be vaccinated. It’s a fine line to walk, trying to convince experienced staff to follow the government’s advice. The alternative is they remain masked for the entirety of the season and stay outside the venues we frequent along the way, until further notice.
“We’ve changed our marketing and social media focus to educate our clients on the need to book in advance – most are understandably reluctant, given what we’ve all just endured – but I expect that the next two years will cause an overload on the tourism sector.”
Need flexible access to funds to help your tourism business take advantage of the coming months? Speak to a Prospa small business lending specialist or find out more about a Prospa Small Business Loan.
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