The regional head of the Virtuoso luxury travel network says the ongoing coronavirus pandemic travel lull offers partners and agency members a chance to rejuvenate and potentially remake their business model.
Michael Londregan, Managing Director of Virtuoso Asia Pacific told LATTE he has been recommending a ’50/30/20 rule’ which covers surviving the COVID-19 crisis, determining what the path to recovery may look like and business reinvention.
Londregan suggests that travel agencies should be using 50% of their time considering the current crisis and doing what is needed to survive.
“Managing your cash flow, watching very carefully your operating costs, renegotiating your expenses if you can, and forecasting so that you are going to be sustainable – that should be half of your time,” he explained to LATTE.
Also, 30% of your time should be spent considering, when the recovery commences, what is going to recuperate first and how are member agencies going to build their business around those “green shoots.”
“Don’t think recovery is going to be a return to November 2019,” Londregan warned. “Think what recovery is going to look like for the first few months, and how you’ll need to react to quickly jump on the momentum.
“What are the trends going to be? Is it going to be shorter trips? Is it going to be closer to home? Is it going to be more risk-averse?”
“Will it be a different demographic [than] you traditionally [had]? Because if your first marketing campaign is a long haul seniors cruise to the Mediterranean then you are probably going to be out of step in the recovery,” he said.
Londregan said those members who are in a position to capitalise on the early recovery should be thinking not only how they will get their fair share of the resurgence, but how they will get an “unfair” slice of the market because they were wiser and planned earlier.
For the remaining 20% of the time, Londregan believes Virtuoso member partners should be determining what parts of their business may need reinvention.
“When you’ve got a resort business in Fiji and a cyclone comes along and blows down the whole thing, you don’t think about how you will restore what was previously there. You redesign it the way you wanted and iron out the imperfections. And Virtuoso members should be looking at their business now that they’ve got that chance.
“What are the areas of product focus[and] business structure in its entirety? This is an opportunity to reinvent. They don’t have to recreate, they can actually reinvent their business and their market.
“Am I going to have all the same suppliers? Am I going to have the same focus on the same segments of customers? Is my marketing going to be the same?”
Londregan said the 50/30/20 rule also provides some psychological relief time, providing “a break from the constant battering of coronavirus infection rates”.