Coronavirus outbreaks have exerted a profound impact on the development of the tourism industry and they are considered a big test for local travel firms. With the preferences of domestic tourists undergoing rapid changes, the firms have no choice but to constantly update information, interact with customers in an effort to capture trends, and adjust their business strategy.
Hoang Nhan Chinh, head of the Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) Secretariat, says the TAB’s statistics indicate that 83% of surveyed people are willing to travel within the next seven months, mostly summer months. Indeed, visitors are more interested in a flexible policy regarding tour cancellations rather than discounts and new products.
These survey results prompts Chinh to advise local tourism businesses to devise a flexible policy on tour cancellations in an effort to suit small groups and families, while promotional and stimulus schemes should be long-term with a specific focus on providing tourists with exciting experiences.
Since the initial outbreak of the pandemic, consumers have been increasingly taking to digital platforms to book travel services. In 2018 online bookings accounted for 19% of the total tours and market size, although the COVID-19 epidemic has made the use of mobile devices and digital tools even more essential. The TAB's latest survey also indicates that the demand of tourists for online services is now higher than for direct bookings.
Local firms should be also flexible and highly adaptable by converting forms of marketing, consultation, sales, and customer care services through online and digital platforms so as to attract a greater number of customers, Chinh suggests.
A recent report produced by consulting firm McKinsey & Company reveals that, providing online travel agencies offer booking services via text or social media platforms, it will present an opportunity for them to increase their overall market penetration.
Nguyen Van Tai, director of Vietsense Travel Company, says the deployment of digital marketing solutions has enabled the firm to reach more customers, shorten processing time, and reduce costs. Additionally, he notes, social networks help travel agencies to connect customers better and provide swift and accurate consultations.
Nguyen Tuan Anh, vice chairman of UNESCO Travel Club, underscores the importance of strengthening connectivity among enterprises, associations, and localities as a way in which to help them overcome the current challenging period.