The travel, hospitality, and entertainment industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic, but businesses are slowly starting to re-open. It’s an unprecedented time and one of the major underlying sentiments is fear.
Here are 4 ways businesses in these market segments can address and overcome this fear:
1. Compassion and Empathy for Employees
Some employees are afraid of coming back to work. Management teams will need to convince employees and the public that the necessary procedures to ensure everyone’s safety have been implemented. Guidelines need to be clearly defined so everyone knows what to expect, how to prepare and how to interact with customers under these new circumstances.
Owners should understand their employee’s fears and questions in order to build a proactive plan together. Listen to your employees and make sure they feel comfortable with the safeguards that you are putting in place.
If you bring your employees onboard and help them feel at ease, you minimize the risk of creating bad customer experiences which will damage your brand.
2. New Policies and Procedures – Safety First
Customers also need to know that it’s safe for them to be in your establishment. It’s about serving them and creating positive experiences. The cleanliness stake rises dramatically and this means visibly displaying (and communicating) your safety processes: sanitization, the use of gloves and masks, and personal distancing rules. A strong message around safety communicates that your customer service has been redefined to provide the best customer experience.
Communication and transparency are key, but you also need to reinforce that your brand is still your brand. Your message needs to be clear about protecting your customers and employees, but you also should be authentic and empathetic in all touch points. This is a challenging balancing act.
3. The Human Element
People miss interacting with others. They miss the humanity. One way to counter this is to communicate in a light way because after all your business is entertaining people! Your business provides an escape for people who are eager to recapture normalcy in their lives. The onus falls on the owner to make sure all the safety precautions are in place while at the same time, communicating a sense of warmth and lightness. An injection of lightness into the whole experience for the customer will go a long way into making the entire dining experience that much better. And since the lightness in your message is somewhat unexpected, this approach becomes even more effective.
4. Small Businesses Can Learn from Large Corporations
Big players in the travel, hospitality, and entertainment industries have a lot of advantages, but smaller companies can learn a lot from them. Some things will be the same: you don’t have to be a big company to have a website or communicate via email. You don’t have to be a big company to have well-trained associates who follow a script, but also have compassion and empathy and are welcoming to your customers.
The extra effort carries a price tag, though. As a small business in this industry, you may not have the deep pockets of a big company, but you can take a page out of their playbook, study what they’re doing, and follow the process. You don’t have to execute it the same way. You can downsize the actions to meet your own needs.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Recent surveys show that people are chomping at the bit to get out again and indications are that the public is adapting to the new rules and regulations.
The people who are hanging back or on the fence are going to watch very carefully to see how things go. These industries exist to serve – with a passion and human spirit that can’t be underestimated. With a little creative thinking, there are ways to work around this current dilemma by encouraging people that it’s time to come back out and play.