How to Get Creative in Tricky Times | TravelResearchOnline

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How to Get Creative in Tricky Times

Are you still wearing your hair the way you did after high school?

Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every single day?

While there’s comfort in sticking to habits and styles that work, the thing I’ve found in this pandemic is that trying something new and different works NOW.

Who would have thought that our industry would be turned upside down?

In this ‘turned upside down’ phase, we’ve been forced to look at our industry and our own businesses in a different way. In this tumult we’ve had to consider, among other things;

  • How to avoid ‘ghosting’ our clients
  • Who to partner with to best help our clients
  • When to move into the next phase of transition

But what exactly does this mean for your business? Trying a new approach may be scary, so here’s some new ways to think about re-imagining our life in the travel industry.

High Tech vs. High Touch

For many of us, seeing our clients is a highlight! Shaking hands, giving them a hug or a friendly slap on the back is all part of a great day. In re-thinking our people to people connections here are some ideas to implement in your work world.

  1. Host a physically distanced street fair in your business district. Simply team up with other businesses in your area so that everyone can showcase their products and services. Invite the neighborhood to join the fun! Gather food trucks, some local entertainment and roll out the carpet for a fun event. It’s the perfect opportunity to see your clients and stay top of mind.
    1. Don’t forget to invite your social fans. Here’s how to reach your ‘super fans’.
  2. How about teaming up with a theater company or comedy shop who’s doing events in backyards or outdoor spaces. Imagine how you can be a part of the event! How could you involve your business?
    1. Take along your tabletop display or trade show banner
    2. Simply pass out hand sanitizer or masks
    3. Consider it a great way to meet some new people
  3. Want to show added value for your clients and help them thru some challenges they may be facing? How about a virtual town hall with other businesses in your area? Imagine a 1-hour virtual event that helps people with issues common in these tricky times! Reach out to local services and ask them to chime in on Zoom or another virtual platform. Each business can provide a quick 8-10 minute timely tip or tactic. While these experts won’t necessarily be selling anything, they are staying front and center by showcasing their expertise and personality. For example, you may want to:
    1. Help people address the stress of the pandemic by offering tips from a yoga instructor
    2. Provide nutritional tips to help ward off panic-eating
    3. Enable people to access simple fitness opportunities by enlisting a fitness instructor
    4. Focus on finances by inviting an investment pro or accountant to provide tips
    5. Of course, you’ll want to wow people with your travel stories to inspire them to travel when the time is right
  4. Have you noticed some natural alliances in your business community that you can tap in to for the common good? For example:
    1. Maybe your travel focus is on group tours, and there’s a photographer in your business district who could offer photography tips
    2. Let’s say your travel focus is on foodie tours, a restaurant or local cheese shop owner may love to team up with you for a virtual or physically distanced event
    3. Think of non-competing businesses with a similar client base and get creative
    4. How about teaming up for:
  5. a live-stream video broadcast (here’s tips to ace this)
  6. an in-store physically distanced showcase of each of your services
  7. a way to share social content (blog, photos, videos) on each other’s social sites

Stories Sell

While we all know that people do business with people they know and like, the easiest way to form a bond is thru a story. Travel stories can leave an impression with people helping them to remember you and want to experience your story for themselves.

Nail this by teaming up with your staff, suppliers or top clients and sharing travel experiences and memories. When you record each of these stories, you’ll have a wealth of engaging content to share on your social sites.

  1. Pictures combined with great stories – what a perfect match. Record on Zoom and share your screen so viewers can see your favorite memorable photos while hearing your stories.
  2. Go live! Broadcast with a guest and have a lively conversation while sharing photos. Check out BeLive and StreamYard.

Think of it as a great way to block out the chaos of our time and relax into a different mindset.

Communicate & Connect

Is your first thought to email a client or pick up the phone? How about turning over a new leaf by trying a new approach to communicating with your clients? That element of surprise will help to sharpen your relationships. How about trying:

  1. A live video message using Loom
  2. A new e-blast style or schedule
  3. A new lead magnet to boost your email list while providing new resources to your readers
  4. Going live on a platform you don’t normally use. If you’re used to going live on Facebook, check out the live broadcast opportunities on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, You-Tube.
  5. Tune into this video for some easy things you can do NOW to stay top of mind with your clients and avoid ‘ghosting’ them

While it might be scary at first to try a new tactic or jump into a new approach, the freshness of the experience is always a fun rush of energy.

Think about your last hairdo change—wasn’t it a bit of excitement and fear combined? The end result was a new way of facing the world and a new outlook!

Thinking outside the box gives the same rush and new perspective. Plus, it’s the key to staying top of mind and keeping business relationships strong.

 


Catherine Heeg, International speaker & trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Connect with her at www.cmsspeaking.com and socially.

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