- When I was 18 years old I was stood in the open door of a C130 Hercules plane looking at the ground rush by far below and crapping myself. It was my first time on a plane and I was about to jump out the bloody thing. Defining moment jump or not. I jumped and life took off. The 2020s are going to be defining for your business and you are going to have to make brave decisions. The digital era demands fast aggressive actions and going on the defensive is not an option.
- Understand what economy you are in. There are five economies. Commodity, Product and Service economies which interact. Experience and Transformational economies complement each other. The first three are about efficiency and saving time. The last two are about being effective and spending time well. A Full discussion on this is here.
- Your digital knowledge. We are in the digital era. If you think things have changed in the last 20 years just watch the next 5 years. It is essential that T&A operators increase their own personal digital knowledge and everyone in their teams.
- Google just now is your friend if you have the knowledge to leverage it, see above. I am not saying Google will always be your friend but just now it is. It can drive you direct bookings allowing you to develop direct relationships with guests. Direct relationships are your only strategic advantage.
- Facebook and social channels are your friends. Again see number two but same as number three you can develop direct relationships with guests and anything that allows that is gold.
- Reservations systems. I joined a reservation system as SAAS in 2008 when the choice of what one to go with was on one hand. You know have approaching 200 different systems at stupidly cheap money. They will not all survive so pick carefully. They provide you with a way to manage and improve your business and connect you to Global distribution if you require it. Just Do It!
- Do you understand your pricing and gross margins they same way you understand your wife and children? If not you should as all decisions you take have to start with understanding your pricing and value of what you do.
- If you are using distribution what % level is direct versus indirect? What % are you having to pay a large chunk of revenue for and often over 50% of gross margin for?
- Does more than 10% of your business come from anyone partner? If it does maybe some thought and action need to go into diversifying and hence managing risk
- How can you make existing tours more profitable and what do you understand about revenue management? Have a listen to this from Olan at Trekksoft and me.
11. Your guides and how they interact with guests is more important than ever. In an era of digitalisation person to person, interaction has a higher value.
12. Local tourism businesses across all sectors are your friends. Start to network and strike deals and implement them digitally.
13. Reviews are still exceedingly relevant. Google reviews have replaced Tripadvisor as the most important but still, focus on getting more reviews on both of these.
14. If you are not one of the 0.05% of high growth startups focus on profitability and keep debt low. The economy will tank at some point be prepared.
15. Speak to your guests about what they really want to do in the future. Design experiences to suit today's travellers.
16. In the digital era, the future is not in the future it is now!
17. Do not be in the middle ground go big, massive huge or go niche.
18. Tours and activities are a long term, you are in for a marathon but you need to think each day as a sprint.
19. Travel platforms you supply are going to change and redefine the market. You need to understand this and make decisions.
20. Remember travel is huge fun and tours and activities are the best part of travel. Do what makes you happy and help those that are not.
Have a great new decade Pete