Slow economic growth is worrisome for businesses across a variety of sectors, and tourism is certainly no exception. Hushed whispers of the dreaded R-word—recession—can be haunting for budgets everywhere.It’s common for marketing activities to be reduced or even halted during periods of economic hardship, the thinking being that if consumers are spending less, they aren’t paying for engaging advertising. Additionally, a tougher economy can create an “only the essentials” approach to budgets. This can be especially damaging for tourism businesses, which depend on marketing and advertising to draw visitors to destinations and attractions.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! While re-evaluating costs and expenses is undoubtedly necessary to withstand the effects of greater economic slowdown, marketing by no means has to be a casualty of war in this process.
In fact, working with an inbound marketing agency could be the key to ensuring a tourism business stays in the black when things get tough. Combined with other proactive tactics to maintain sales, tourism operators can transform themselves into recession-proof businesses.
3 Tips for Creating Recession Proof Businesses in Tourism
Tourism businesses can maintain their success regardless of an uncertain economic environment. Global tourism has been increasing at a rate between three and six per cent, and tourist arrivals in Canada have also been increasing despite rumours of a looming economic slowdown.
This shows people continue to travel throughout recessions, and tourism businesses can mobilize to be recession-proof. There are three simple, yet effective, measures operators can implement to weather economic storms with ease: under promise and over deliver, maintain marketing budgets, and strengthen relationships with existing customers.
#1: Under Promise, Over Deliver (UPOD)
It might be a business jargon cliché, but UPOD’s effectiveness ahead of or during a recession should not be underestimated. Restructuring business goals to be more conservative than usual can help companies prepare for potential negative effects of a slower economy. Such effects on tourism businesses can include late or defaulted payments from struggling suppliers, cancelled reservations, or cutbacks to staffing.
Tourism operators can ensure they practice UPOD by being particularly critical of expected business success. With the knowledge that far-reaching consequences of a slowing national economy are imminent, tourism businesses can adjust their goals accordingly. Taking unforeseen cancellations and defaulted payments into account ahead of time will help tourism organizations become recession-proof businesses.
#2: Maintain Marketing Budgets
Gloomy economic forecasts typically foretell of budget cuts across the board for business both small and large. But with people around the world continuing to travel during different stages of economic performance, cutting marketing activities altogether is a bad idea for tourism companies looking to become recession-proof businesses.
Rather than pausing or even scrapping marketing campaigns, recessions offer tourism businesses an opportunity to assess advertising with a critical lens. It’s an opportunity to refocus on what works well (inbound marketing, for example) and do away with what’s less effective.
Recession rumours can also be a time for tourism businesses to adjust their messaging to suit the current tone of consumers. For example, establishing emotional connections with customers, as opposed to focussing on hard-selling tactics like discounts can prove more effective when purse strings are tight.
#3: Strengthen Relationships with Existing Customers
It’s well known that companies are better served to maintain relationships with existing customers, instead of constantly searching for new ones. While undoubtedly challenging, times of economic uncertainty present opportunities for businesses to express their appreciation to repeat customers. These clients represent the delight stage of the buyer’s journey, and their value is emphasized by their willingness to promote and recommend services to others.
Tourism businesses can mitigate the negative effects of a recession by focussing sales and marketing activities on loyal customers. Utilizing the above tactic of maintaining marketing budgets and making adjustments to messaging can facilitate this process. An inbound marketing agency such as Tangible Words can also help.
Bonus Tip: An Inbound Marketing Agency Helps Recession-Proof Your Tourism Business
Working with an inbound marketing agency can help tourism businesses tackle the above three tips and more. With a team dedicated to creating targeted marketing materials and web content for tourism websites, companies can keep sales steady while simultaneously reaching new audiences.
It’s important to understand that inbound marketing is about building a strong online presence, which starts with an engaging website. Download our free ebook to learn how your tourism businesses can attract new visitors and stay connected to existing ones—a major part of becoming a recession-proof business.