Covid 19: Time to create and increase trust in customers

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to stay indoors. Various routine activities until the activities that have been planned in advance must be forced to be postponed or even canceled, one of which is the activity of traveling or vacation. Since the instructions to maintain social distance and are only allowed to do activities at home, the tourism sector automatically becomes sluggish. Various negative impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the tourism sector to close down many tourist attractions and lodging places. This also give impact in many tour and travel agents having to cancel or postpone their services. Then, how will tour and travel agents cope with situations like this?

In my opinion, in the digital era like this, it is impossible if a tour and travel agent does not have social media. Maybe it is not necessary to have all social media, but at least have social media such as Facebook or Instagram. Because these two social media are the most widely used in Indonesia. In cases like this (COVID-19), we as tour and travel agents can take advantage of our social media in order to continue to engage or establish relationships with our potential customers or followers. By establishing good relationships and continuing to be active in social media, this become the right step to create relationships with consumers and followers while creating and increasing their trust in our tour and travel agent.

The examples of concrete steps that we can apply on our social media are to create interesting content, for example by utilizing features on Instagram and Facebook, such as the ASK ME feature where anyone can ask questions about anything or specific things that have been determined by tour and travel agent (account holder). Other features such as polling, IGTV to post a variety of video or footage documentation that our tour and travel have to give prospective or suggestions for tourists to think an idea of a destination or think for their future vacation, as well as a multiple choice guessing feature, post content with interesting images or create content like “fun fact” can also be used to continue to be active and provide knowledge to those who visit our social media..

Another thing that can be done by tour and travel agents in the current pandemic situation is to continue to promote the tour packages that we sell with the time signifying “coming soon”. Make sure the tour packages we will promote to them are the most interesting and trending places, and a complete itinerary to make it easier for potential customers.

It cannot be denied that the current condition of the pandemic cannot be known when it is over. Even if it’s over, we as tour and travel agents must follow various policies that will be issued by the government related to travel. In addition, in my opinion, even if this pandemic ends, the habits or attitudes of tourists will definitely change. Tourists will tend to choose and ask for food, hotels, whatever amenities they need in a very clean and fresh condition.

This COVID-19 situations are indeed difficult for us as tour and travel agents to generate income and even to make a profit. But at least we establish and create long last relationships with consumers and increase our social media insight.

My additional idea is: didn’t get income from tours and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean we immediately give up. The other idea I can give is to make a YouTube account or channel for our tour and travel by discussing various topics. For example tips and tricks when going to Japan, do and don’t in Japan and many more. Continue to promote our YouTube, upload at specific and regular hours, so that if many people watch, then the videos we upload on YouTube can give us money.

To sum up, the preventive steps to prevent situations like COVID-19 if they occur in the future (again) are:

  • Make sure our tour and travel business has spare costs to deal with and survive with things like this pandemic.
  • Don’t be panic and continue monitor government policies to update our tour and travel.
  • Create terms and conditions if there is a situation like now (COVID-19), what the agent will be responsible for and not.
  • Optimize the cleanliness guarantee of the facilities that will be provided to tourists.
  • Whether there is a pandemic or not, the tour and travel business should continue to utilize social media as a platform to increase the sales value.

 

Melody Angeline - Tourism Destination Student