How to Help the Travel Industry Recover After COVID-19

GIVEAWAY! Read to the end to enter today’s small business giveaway! You could win, and so will your favorite local business! When we work together, we can be #SmallBusinessStrong!

Everyone’s taken a hit during this COVID-19 extravaganza, but none quite as hard as the travel industry. When airlines come to a halt, so do all the other elements of travel. The domino effect created by the necessary travel bans and restrictions are still going, and likely will be longer than the domino effect from any other industry. When people can’t fly to their destinations, accommodations suffer; local restaurants suffer; local shops suffer; the people who work in those places suffer. And after the negative coverage of a few cruise ships, the entire cruiseline industry, the ports they frequent, and their employees all end up in a hole they can’t dig themselves out of. They need us!

The “in this together” mentality we’ve all had during this quarantine time is encouraging and heartening, but the one industry we haven’t been able to support through it is also the one industry that will need it most when the quarantine, restrictions, and bans are lifted. Here’s how you can help the travel industry where they need it most.

A new day is dawning on the travel industry.

Bed & Breakfasts and Boutique Hotels

Marriott, Hilton, the Marine Bay Sands… they’ll all be fine. They’ll bounce back fairly quickly once people start to travel again. Big hotel chains have big contracts with business travelers, so they will get back to normal faster than a small boutique hotel like The Peabody Hotel Memphis or a locally-owned bed and breakfast like 27 State Street B&B in Charleston. Here is some important information that will help you understand how we can all help!

Perfect breakfast from the Ashley B&B Inn, Charleston, South Carolina.
Their Main Struggle

Because bed and breakfasts are not necessarily regulated in their cleaning practices, I think they might have a hard time convincing people that their rooms and common areas have been fully cleaned and disinfected. I’m here to tell you, however, that bed and breakfast owners take their home and business very seriously when it comes to cleanliness, even moreso than traditional hotels!

Another issue will be, as usual, competing with big name hotel brands that can offer deeper discounts and have much larger marketing budgets. I love finding bed and breakfasts, and with Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, and other third-party sites showing bed and breakfasts these days (and not exclusively hotels and motels), it’s easier than ever to find one. But again, competing with large chains and tremendous advertising budgets will create a challenge for these small businesses.

The Lindsay House B&B in Manawa, Wisconsin.
How You Can Help

Seek them out! Make a reservation for a bed and breakfast or boutique hotel when you start planning your next trip. Do an Internet search for bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels at your destination, and opt to pay in full up-front if you’re able. That will help these small business owners tremendously.

Another option is to purchase a gift card to use later. Many bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels are offering gift cards and e-gift cards right now, which will help with current cashflow and help them through this rough patch. You might be more likely to actually take that trip you’ve been promising yourself or your family if you’ve already paid for part of it!

Breakfast set up on the second floor porch at 27 State Street B&B in Charleston, South Carolina.
Short on Cash? You Can Still Help!

Instead of flying somewhere and adding the expense of an airline ticket, have your own “staycation” and support a local bed and breakfast or boutique hotel by staying with them for a weekend! Or choose a destination within driving distance and see what local options they have to offer for an overnight stay!

Can’t beat the charm of an interior courtyard all to yourself! Savannah B&B Inn, Savannah, Georgia.
FREE Ways to Help

If you’re really strapped for cash, you can still help in big ways! Follow them on social media, engage with their posts by liking, commenting, and SHARING! Write a positive review for them on sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Google. Recommend bed and breakfasts and local boutique hotels to friends when they come visit! There are so many ways to have a positive impact on small businesses without spending a dime.

Small Tour Companies

Most tour companies, even in large metropolitan areas, are small businesses. They do a lot of online, day-of, and walk-up bookings, and it’s usually a volitile, seasonal business, depending on where they’re located. Spring and early summer are often the seasons tour companies can count on to make the bulk of their revenue for the year, so this timing is particularly bad for them. But you can help!

A walking tour is the best way to learn the layout of a new city and all the important things to know about it along the way!
Their Main Struggle

The main struggle for tourism small businesses will be making it through the rest of the year. Often times their overhead is relatively low, but they still have to pay their rent, phone bill, wi-fi, advertizing fees, professional fees, taxes, business licenses that have to be renewed yearly. There’s so much more to running a small business than simply paying employees.

You never know who you’ll meet on your tour!
How You Can Help

Take a tour! Wherever you plan to travel when this is all over, make an intentional decision to take one or two tours with small companies while you’re there. You can find food tours, walking tours, ghost tours, history tours, snorkeling tours, horseback riding tours, and so much more! Just do a quick Internet search for small business tour companies at your destination. It will mean so much to them!

Tour companies need customers to stay in business, much like this lava boat tour company in Hawaii needs lava!
Short on Cash? You Can Still Help!

Can’t travel right now? Take a local tour! You might be surprised at how many tours are offered in your home town or within a quick drive of your home. Locals supporting locals is how we’re all going to come through this stronger together.

You can take a tour of just about anything, including lighthouses!
FREE Ways to Help

No money? No problem! Do an Internet search some local tour companies, follow them on social media! Like, comment on, and SHARE their posts! Got friends coming into town? Recommend a local company for their tourism needs. Write a positive review on Trip Advisor, Yelp, or Google. A kind word goes a long way!

My running tour of Boston was the highlight of my trip!

Local Restaurants

People have to eat, right? So restaurants should be fine, right? Well, maybe not. People have been ordering take-out and delivery, but will they be jumping at the chance to dine in again soon? Only time will tell, because oftentimes perception is reality. Take-out and delivery definitely help with cashflow, but waitstaff need people to actually serve or they will be out of a job. And which restaurant are you most likely to go to? One that’s empty or one that’s packed with happy eaters ordering at tables?

Sometimes a girl just needs a friend and an ice cream shack!
Their Main Struggle

I think their primary struggle will be to get people back in the doors for a sit-down meal. Everything will be completely clean and sanitized when restaurants fully open again, but will people believe it and feel comfortable? Time will tell!

Only the local places know how big a pastry should be!
How You Can Help

Whenever you start traveling again, make meal time an event! My husband and I order take-out often when we travel, but as I said above, it’s really best for the restaurant if they can fill up that dining room! So the next time we travel, we will eat at an actual restaurant more often than usual just to make sure we are supporting the locals as much as possible!

Eat local, eat fresh.
Short on Cash? You Can Still Help!

If you can’t afford to travel and eat, then make it a date night! Go out to dinner locally with friends or a loved one to celebrate the end of the quarantine. Find a new local restaurant to try once a week for a month. It will go a long way to help restaurants that have been losing money or just getting by during the Great COVID-19 Quarantine of 2020.

Fresh food is both tasty and beautiful!
FREE Ways to Help

While getting cash in the system is going to be the biggest helper, you can still lend a hand without going broke yourself! Follow them on social media, interact with their posts by liking, commenting, and most of all SHARING! Write a positive review for them on Trip Advisor, Yelp, or Google. Recommend local restaurants to friends, family, or visitors you may have coming in. There are so many ways to help without spending a dime!

There’s a reason it’s the local favorite!
Keep Reading! How to Help Local Restaurants During COVID-19

Airlines

Airlines were feeling pretty good about themselves at the beginning of the year. They were increasing minimum spends for status, reducing the ability to redeem frequent flier miles, etc. And then came COVID-19. Now they’re taking drastic measures and requesting bailouts from the government. They really did dig their own graves on this one, but the reality is that if the airlines fail, the travel industry goes down with it.

As far as the eye can see.
Their Main Struggle

I’m speculating a little on this because I can’t get any airline reps or employees to e-mail or call me back (I imagine they have a few other things to do), but my personal opinion is that airlines will struggle most with filling seats. Sounds obvious, but there’s a trickledown effect:

  • People will either A) not be able to take vacation time because they used it for quarantine; B) money will be tight; C) businesses have discovered that it’s less expensive to use video conferencing and e-mail to do business and will be cutting back on business travel where they can; or D) people will be afraid to travel until a COVID-19 vaccine is invented, tested, and approved for human use. Fewer people flying means fewer filled seats.
  • Fewer filled seats means less frequent flights. A flight that used to go daily now goes three days a week or even just once a week. Fewer flights mean fewer opportunities for revenue.
  • Fewer flights mean fewer routes. Routes that were set to launch this year will be postponed or cancelled altogether. Routes airlines used to fly but weren’t good money makers will be cancelled.
  • Ultimately, cancelled routes mean you can’t get to some of the places you want to go, and thus you won’t be able to spent your tourist dollars there. So tourism on the whole will continue to suffer.
Ready and waiting!
How You Can Help

Make plans! There’s really no downside to buying airline tickets right now. Airlines are offering deals, prices are being driven way down, and change fees are being waived if the plans to you make have to be cancelled or delayed. The money you spend now will help with cashflow for now until operations get up and running again at a safe time in the future. At the moment, Steve and I are waiting to see what happens with our flights to Hawaii on May 1. If we have to cancel, we already have some ideas for other flights to take instead: U.S. Virgin Islands, Key West, and Panama are all on the list of potential trips!

Ready to get back to those island views.
FREE Ways to Help

If you truly can’t book anything right now, you’re not alone. But you can still help! Follow your preferred airline on social media! Interact with their posts and stories by commenting, liking, participating in poles, asking questions, and most of all SHARING their posts with your own following! You might be surprised at just how much of a boost it will give the airline industry in the long run to be supporting them now.

The view from above is always a little different!

Cruise Lines

Yikes, right?! Cruise lines are perhaps taking the biggest hit of all. They have money in the bank, but the negative PR from COVID-19 cases that occurred during cruise ship quarantines early on will have lingering negative effects. On the upside, cruise lines have offered their ships as floating hospitals if or when they’re needed, which is positive PR! They may be able to float for a while (pun intended!), but they will certainly need a little bit of a boost when travel takes off again.

Can’t beat a sunset view from a cruise.
Their Main Struggle

I think cruise liners’ big issue will be showing people that cruising is safe and clean. Every once in a while, some people get sick on a cruise, either from food or a contagious illness, which may or may not be the actual fault of the cruise company. But with COVID-19, cruise ships chose to require passengers to stay on the ship in quarantine conditions for 14 days… and a lot of people got sick regardless of the extra precautions. The damage control they will have to do largely depends on how quickly and effectively they can prove to potential passengers that cruising is safe and healthy!

Cruises end up in the most peaceful places.
How You Can Help

Book a trip! Not one that leaves right this moment of course, since no cruise lines are operating and it would not be prudent, but book early to get a deal on a cruise this fall, winter, spring, or next summer! Cruise lines offer payment plans, so you don’t have to foot the entire bill up-front! Planning travel and getting a payment plan going now will give them cashflow for this lean time, which will help them get everything up and going much more quickly.

I never would have visited St. Kitts when I did without a cruise to take me there!
Short on Cash? You Can Still Help!

Even if money is tight right now, you don’t have to miss the boat! (Again, pun intended!) Sign up for cruise lines’ news letters. You’ll be the first to hear about discounts, deals, and special offers to get people back on board. You could snag a cabin with a view for an absolute steal when the time is right.

Island time is cruise time.
FREE Ways to Help

As always, follow, like, comment, and SHARE on their social media! It is completely FREE for you, and the reach coud be exponential for them when they really need it. Follow all the cruise lines you might be interested in, and be on the lookout for all the ways they’ll be getting creative with their social media marketing in the next few months.

Cruises are a fun way to see a lot of places without constantly unpacking and repacking!

Today’s Giveaway

Today’s giveaway is YOUR PICK! Think about your favorite small business, the small business your friend is starting up, the small business that you really want to see come through this quarantine like a winner, and enter the contest so you can both win! Here’s how:

  • SHARE this post on Facebook or SHARE my latest Instagram post on your Instastories.
  • TAG both Quick Whit Travel and your favorite local small business-–or businesses!–-in the post. This can be a shop, boutique, restaurant, hair salon, bakery, coffee shop, etc. Tag as many as you like!

I will choose a winner at 9:00am Tuesday, March 31, to receive a $25 gift card (or item worth up to $25 if the business does not offer gift cards) from their favorite small business! You and your favorite small business both win!

Want more about getting through The Great COVID-19 Quarantine 2020 together? Check out my Health and Wellness Page for all my tips, recommendations, and how you can help small businesses for free!

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Published by quickwhittravel

Hey there! I am an avid traveller and adventurer, and you're always welcome to join me! The things I love most are God, my husband Steve, and seeing new places! My favorite places include Sydney, Australia; Ise City, Japan; and Bergen, Norway--but there's always room for more favorite places!

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