- Ever since the Covid pandemic decimated the tourism industry, its leaders have been seeking ways to recoup financial losses.
- Some in the industry have raised prices, others have cut back on goods and services, often blaming inflation, the failures in the supply chain, lack of skilled employees, or the Covid-Pandemic.
- The World Tourism Network understands that the problems listed above are real problems.
Dr. Peter Tarlow, president of the World Tourism Network, and who is also an expert in global travel and tourism security and safety explains:
These problems, however, belong to the industry and it is not helpful for an industry seeking to work its way back from the brink of disaster to employ often less than real excuses in its charging for luxury travel but often delivering far less than what one might expect.
The World Tourism Network, representing tourism nations and businesses in 128 nations, encourages its members to work at rebuilding tourism in a way that its former customers will not merely think of the “good old days” of travel but look forward to a future where the fun and elegance of travel turn the mundane into the memorable.
In an age of rebuilding the travel and tourism industry cannot afford to see a decline in the quality of its product nor in the service which it provides. Such declines in the quality of products and services offered will in the long run hurt the tourism industry, and in the long run, its leaders will lose money.
If the travel and tourism industry is to succeed in these hard times, it must do more than merely see itself as a victim nor can it turn its paying customers into victims of poor service and poor product quality.
When travel becomes a hassle, when the fun of travel becomes the work of travel then no number of public relations gimmicks or marketing will be able to cover up the public’s disappointment. Instead, as promises go unrealized the tourism industry will face a credibility crisis.
The traveling public is neither naïve nor uninformed and as the quality of service and products decline or are cut back, travelers will find new locations that are willing to provide a high quality of services and products at a lower cost.
For this reason, the World Tourism Network urges the industry to:
- Places of lodging need to offer service that is commensurate with the price changed. A luxury hotel cannot announce that it will clean a room once in three days. If charging a luxury price then offer luxury service. If not reduce the price!
- Bring back and create new perks. Providing a free newspaper, or a special good-night chocolate turns a pedestrian stay into a special and memorable stay.
- What is true for the lodging industry is also true for the airline industry. If airlines, even in first or business class, become nothing more than buses-in-the-sky then eventually the traveler will find other alternatives. In today’s world business can often be conducted virtually with much less hassle and cost.
- Airlines need to eliminate their a la carte fee structure., They need to show the public that they care not only when seeking a government bailout but also during the good times.
- Tourism and travel businesses need to develop hours that are user friendly for travelers. The check-in to a hotel at 4pm and check out at 11:00 is silly when hotels are not fully occupied. Such policies are in the end more costly than expensive advertising that makes promises which in the end tend to be misleading.
- Upend the quality of products served and make these products reflect the price charge. If a hotel or restaurant charges a premium fee then the quality of the food served should reflect that fee. Too many hotel restaurants cut corners but are charging premium prices. The bottom line is that as the public becomes ever more aware of the chasm between cost and quality sales and reputations might well begin to decline.
- Do not promise what you cannot deliver. In the latter part of the last century the travel and tourism industry fought to regain its credibility. Then 9-11 made the public sympathetic to the industry’s needs. By the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century the travel and tourism industry has squandered that sympathy. Travel and tourism regained a great deal of good will and understanding during the Covid years. Now is the time to turn that good will into actions and demonstrate to the public how much the travel and tourism industry appreciates its clients and customers by creating new and innovative products at prices that reflect reality.
The best form of marketing is a good product and good service presented in a pleasant and safe & secure ambiance. If travel and tourism follow some of these basic suggestions then the world’s greatest industry will become great again.