Looking to enjoy a strong tourism season? Sarasota tourism executive Larry Starr explains how you can increase your chances of success.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the tourism industry. With vaccines rolling out and new cases of COVID-19 plunging in many countries, however, the tourism industry could be set for a huge rebound. Tourism expert Larry Starr from Sarasota is going to discuss how the tourism industry can rebound in 2021 and set the stage for a strong year in 2022.
“The most important factor for the tourism industry is simply opening up,” Sarasota tourist guru Larry Starr says. “Many governments are relaxing restrictions on travel and the tourism industry. If you run a hotel or other tourism business, you want to get off to a fast start.”
Still, getting off to a fast start is going to require a lot of effort on the part of hosts, business managers, and tourism companies. Many hotels, theme parks, and other businesses are short-staffed following layoffs and downsizing during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, some countries, like the United States, are experiencing dramatic labor shortages. This can make it hard to find employees. If you don’t provide good financial incentives, you may not be able to find the staff you need. And if you start flatfooted, other companies may quickly pass you by.
“Finding staff right now is harder than perhaps ever before in America and some other countries,” Larry Starr from Sarasota says. “If you can’t find staff, consider offering sign-up bonuses, or seasonal bonuses for people who stay with you through the season. If you don’t attract staff, it could hurt your business not just now, but for years to come.”
A short-handed hotel, for example, could struggle to offer a great guest experience. If guests find dirty rooms or face long wait times to check in, they could leave poor reviews. Damage to your business’s reputation now could hurt you for a long time.
On the other hand, companies that can successfully find skilled staff members are in a better position to ensure guest happiness. This could lead to positive reviews, word-of-mouth advertising, and more. While you might have to pay more for staff this year, the investment could pay off by helping you build your brand.
Providing proper training to new staff members is especially important right now. Even if someone has experience in the tourism or food & beverage industry, they may not understand how things are done at your business. You want to get them up to speed quickly.
“Mentoring new employees, offering paid training sessions, and other tactics will help tourism businesses get up to speed quickly,” Larry Starr from Sarasota says. “This could improve customer delight.”
Many businesses are requiring that guests be vaccinated. If local governments aren’t enforcing specific restrictions, it may be up to businesses to decide what works best for them. Either way, clear communication is key.
“Whether you’re requiring vaccinations should be made clear on your website and any online booking platforms,” Larry Starr in Sarasota says. “There are trade-offs for requiring or not requiring vaccines. Whatever you decide, be clear about it and stick to it.”