With the COVID-19 virus still spreading to hundreds of countries worldwide, the UK travel startup industry is working frantically to navigate this very challenging economic uncertainty. Many travellers are cancelling their travel plans to prevent getting infected and avoid the strict travel restrictions. Some airlines have ceased flights, and many hotels face steep occupancy declines.
Things are even more difficult for startup companies under constant pressure to compete in this very competitive market. But it’s important to remember that no crisis lasts forever. Startup companies should remain optimistic while navigating these uncertainties.
Here are some essential tips for a UK travel startup company.
1. Research the Travel Industry
Remember that information is your best friend when running any startup company. So, research the travel industry and be familiar with your market. More importantly, find out about the 2022 travel industry trends.
Experts predict that the travel market in 2022 will not only witness an increase in air passenger volumes, but hotel occupancy rates will also be at their peak since holidaymakers will be returning to beaches and visiting new destinations. Some tours could fare better than others, while some demographic groups lag. In general, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in the way people travel, and some changes are most likely to remain even after the crisis subsides.
When researching, take time to study your customers as well. Analyse what they are doing and how they are travelling. If you find them cancelling trips, find out the reasons behind these. Figure out what will make them book trips again. Above all, keep track of the services they use and incorporate that into your business strategies.
2. Getting Your Company Values Right
Remember that any business that doesn’t have core values is not a real business. You cannot build the best teams and deliver excellent customer service if you have not defined your core company values.
Some travel startups may not recognise the importance of core company values, but these values shape your company culture and will significantly affect your overall business strategy. These values create a purpose, improve team cohesion, and develop a sense of commitment amongst employees.
Travel startups should incorporate the concept of “hiring for cultural fit” when developing core company values. But to hire the right talents, the company should define the values they stand for. More importantly, as experts in travel startups, Lightning Travel Recruitment point out, companies should incorporate flexible working, employee development, and diversity and inclusion when defining their values. These are the characteristics that can attract the best talents in the industry.
3. Know Your Customer Well
Understanding customers is one of those challenges that travel companies have to deal with. When it comes to customer behaviour, deciphering their thought process can be daunting. This is especially the case in the travel industry, where diverse customers often demand varying itineraries. Having a detailed understanding of who your customers are can help you identify their needs and develop strategies to improve the customer service standards of your business.
There are different ways to research and understand your customers. You can conduct surveys, organise focus groups, etc. Now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, most customers would emphasise the importance of health and safety. Therefore, communicating what steps your brand is taking regarding health and safety is paramount. Some customers might still have reservations about travelling again and need added assurance instead of a mere marketing message.
Travel startups should allow their customers to interact digitally through mobile apps, digital kiosks, or biometric data. While this is not always the case, brands that are going digital will find it easier to navigate the pandemic compared to brands that rely on ageing technologies.
According to research, one of the challenges that startups are dealing with is finding the right talents, so recruiting and human resources are essential in any UK travel startup company. Travel startup companies should definitely invest in recruiting by hiring HR staff who can help the company develop and handle recruitment on an ongoing basis.
One way a recruitment team can help travel startups is to build an employer brand. For example, when a UK travel startup company advertises a HR job openings in London, potential candidates will research the company. At this point, your company’s public profile and presence are very crucial as this serves as the first impression of your company. This is your chance to build a positive and robust employer brand as a startup. It’s not easy to start with a clean slate, but the right employer branding can bring about many benefits for your company reputation.
Aside from hiring new talents, recruiting is a form of publicity and marketing strategy. There’s a reason why big companies have a robust recruitment team. With the help of recruitment, you’d be able to build your brand, which eventually attracts the best talents in the travel industry.
5. Training Staff
The key to becoming a successful company is through education, since the more you learn, the higher your chances of staying in business. As they say, knowledge is power. Unfortunately, your staff cannot learn new skills by simply sitting behind their desk doing the same tasks repeatedly. You must enrol them in a training course on professional development and creativity that will help them be more effective in their job roles. So, when they go back to the office, they can use these skills to help the company succeed.
Even though training your staff can cost you some money, it will save you money in the long run. Part of running a UK travel startup is replacing employees who will have to leave the company for some reason. Instead of going through the long and sometimes expensive process of recruiting new employees, you can re-train current staff who are fit to take on the role. As long as the training is sufficient, the transition of roles should be a smooth process. In addition, training staff these days does not cost a lot of money. Although you will have to pay for the courses, this will pay you back in time.