5 tips for business continuity in the Covid age
2020 was a devastating year for tourism businesses across the world. Whether you were depending on domestic, international or corporate business, the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic were felt everywhere. In Ireland -restaurants, bars, hotels and tourism activities were closed for a total of 6 months and the 3rd lockdown in December came as another blow for these businesses.
But what can we be doing now to ensure our customers and guests will return to us when the restrictions ease? Is there a possibility of cash flow at all during these uncertain times? These are my top 5 pointers for ensuring business continuity to get us through these tough times.
- Talk to your customers
Whether this is through regular social media posts, ezines, short videos or actual phone calls and emails (or all of the above). Your customers want to see that you are remaining positive and that they matter to you. You may still be open for take-away, essential workers or planning some refurbishment in your business- its important to let your customers know that you are still here!
2. Keep selling
Business may be slow at the moment but that doesn’t mean you can’t still advertise for upcoming offers, deals and preparations for the future. Wedding venues should be pushing their packages more than ever this time of year. Restaurants should be devising menus for Communions and Confirmations (and maybe have take away options if gatherings are still restricted) and advertising them. Tourism activities should be planning for the Easter break in the hopes that we can attend outdoor or indoor activities in some shape or form.
3. Be Flexible
If the first lockdown taught us anything its that we need to be flexible with customers and guests. Offer free cancellation to a degree (24-48 hours is usually acceptable), offer to move large gatherings like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries with little to no conditions attached (you want to protect this business and avoid negative press). When we do get a date for reopening or partial reopening, these are the people who will visit your business.
Adapt, adapt, adapt! Don’t be afraid to try something new to ensure cashflow. Whether its opening a coffee hatch at the door of the restaurant or the side of the pub. Offering a take away afternoon tea experience (people have money now and they aren’t afraid to treat themselves). Themed take away specials like lockdown lasagne or quarantine quarter pounder. If you are an activity provider you could make a plan for social distanced activities when the time is right and start working on it now. The possibilities are endless!
5. Look after your staff
2020 has been tough on business owners and their staff. Its important to make sure that your core staff will be around for the recovery. At the recent Irish Hospitality Institute professionals day, Brian Boler, of the Montenotte Hotel in Cork expressed concern at the rate at which the industry is losing professionals. To keep your competitive advantage and ensure a smooth reopening when restrictions ease, you need to have your core staff there. Keep in contact with them over this lockdown especially- share developmental supports that were offered during the July Stimulus package, ask and listen to their ideas- this is a stressful time for them too.
The most important thing to do is to stay positive and look forward to a brighter future. If you think you might need some help with a marketing plan or activities for 2021 please do not hesitate to contact Helen on firstname.lastname@example.org
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