Key Take-Aways from Arival’s “Contending with Crises” Webinar

Today, Arival, the information and event company for tours, attractions, and activities, hosted a webinar called, “Contending with Crises.” While the webinar attracted over 700 worldwide attendees, Arival data also estimates there are over 1 million operators globally — and that’s not counting the kinds of companies like ours that support this industry! So for anyone who didn’t get to attend the webinar, we figured we’d recap some of the most salient take-aways for you:

  • Cancellation & Refund Policy Best Practices:
    • Manage your volume:  communicate with guests that you received their request but due to the volume at this moment you’re handling the most upcoming dates first
    • Credit over refund: If you can get a guest to accept a credit towards a future booking rather than an absolute refund, go that route
    • Be flexible: These are extenuating circumstances. You want your customers to still feel good about your business so they’ll come back at a future date.
  • Business Management:
    • Frequent and transparent communications with your staff
    • Hopefully you have already been saving for a rainy day and have a healthy piggy bank
      • If you’re in an unaffected region, get to the bank and apply for a line of credit asap
    • Disseminate information to your team from the very first moment, i.e. NOW
    • Do things differently:
      • Narrow down fixed expenses to cut costs
      • Reserve cash; slow pay and/or work out temporary new payment terms with your vendors
      • Turn to your team to help you create ideas
  • If you have to cut costs, start with Operations. Small cuts at the start (no overtime, no bonuses; lower operational standards — fewer staff/tour; change hours/frequency)
  • Sales & Marketing?
    • Keep doing if you still have any visitors coming — as long as the lights are on and the doors are open
    • Do not slash prices just to attract visitors — that creates price wars which will be harder to recover from when things normalize
    • If it makes no sense to market for the time being, see if you can have your sales and marketing team do other jobs; reallocate them
  • Working with OTAs:
    • Ask them to get you the money they owe you asap
    • Ask them for short-term commission reductions
    • Encourage them to ask their customers to take credit towards a future booking rather than immediately turn around a refund
    • Push them to keep marketing and promoting further along in the year
  • UNITE!
    • Everyone in travel is feeling the pain; operators and service providers should come together to see each other through and to the other side once the crisis is over. Together we can rebuild a solid future!
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