As we all try to recover physically, emotionally, and financially from the pandemic, US congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to salvage us. This over $2 trillion relief package has been approved last March 27, 2020 to help mitigate all the damages done by Coronavirus to American families, small businesses, workers through direct economic assistance.
The travel industry, if not the most, is known to be severely impacted by this pandemic. The stay-at-home order for months has caused a ‘holocaust’ to all businesses and attraction-related jobs and establishment. Now as we all slowly reopen services, being granted the CARES Act fund would be a big relief to any small business, as well as any local entities. Eligibility for Cares Act Funds can be read thoroughly here.
How to maximize Cares Act Funds in Re-Establishing your Destination
Being eligible is great but being granted the funds is a whole new level. Given that this funding is very limited, how do you really maximize every approved dollar? If every visitor center’s goal is to regain the number of visitors or remarket their attractions, what are really the best ways to get travelers to notice your destination? What are the best investments with a controlled subsidy from the government? Here are our top three suggestions:
- Technology – Why should you invest in technology? If this question is thought through deeply, you will know that this is not just a reflection of a strategic mindset but could actually trigger an inner realization that you are opening doors to highly beneficial, futurist investments. In fact, this has always been the way to go and this pandemic just speed things up when it comes to automation. The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization has recently released Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism longing to restore confidence in tourism. Have confidence that it’s safe to start traveling again, knowing that we won’t be just spreading viruses. Know that technology plays an essential role in making this happen: Building a new, safe, and seamless travel experience.
- Mobile Apps or Progressive Web Apps Due to social distancing, most people prefer to just be on their phones, shopping, exploring food options, and planning the next getaway after all this hysteria. Native apps are common but we suggest making use of PWAS – these are web-based apps allowing your visitors to experience the same functionalities without the hassle of downloading from the play store. Easy to use and works with any browser!
- Video conferencing, Virtual Assistants or Chatbots Video conferencing modules if selected properly can work on any device and connect to a travel professional anywhere in the world. Chatbots have been the way to go by almost all industries in responding to web inquiries. This saves the customer’s time as this would answer FAQs instead of having to wait for an agent or a staff to get back to them. You can easily program and make changes from the backend to accommodate all keywords relevant to your destination.
- Digital Signages, Touchscreens, or Kiosks No doubt that destinations are now heading to the idea of reducing face-to-face interactions to help both staff and visitors from any possible infections. The use of these touch solutions to display attractions, upcoming events, wayfinding, or even itinerary creation is now the new normal. Utilizing these devices to not only educate but to also allow your visitors to know their options can create a whole new level of visitor experience!
- Temperature scanning, mask detection solutions. Stand alone units and solutions that can leverage all types of interaction are a great investment. These can be used for employee and visitor protection and ensuring policy, as well as WHO standards. If you are having events and meetings this could be a must for tracking and management
- Explore Other Revenue-Pooling Options
- Exhibiting or running stakeholder/business ads through your website, digital displays, kiosks, or local apps. Make use of your technology to sell advertisements on all your available tech resources. Use this to gain passive income while actually helping your visitors have more options around the area.
- Enhanced Marketing Strategy for
- Social Engagement – since we are trying our best to limit face-to-face interactions, it’s the perfect to make use of Social Media channels to reach potential visitors. The good news is that most social media platforms are free to use! Funding in a social media manager or even your local staff who can manage these platforms can help vastly in promoting good visitor engagement even through these social mediums.
- Brand Awareness – Finding ways in promoting your destination can be done through social media channels or advertisement. Enabling options to retarget audiences through ads can help immensely in boosting brand awareness. Some other options may require on-site appearances such as launching PR campaigns, holding events or sponsoring events or exhibits.
- Partnerships – Invest on complementary partnerships that could provide mutual benefits. Investing on deals and coupons for visitors with say, restaurants or hotels, can help provide better booking opportunities.
If you are interested to learn more about implementing frictionless and contactless solutions for your existing and prospect visitors, feel free to contact us @ 833-300-6664 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll get an omnichannel strategist to help find the best options for you.