Denmark: ShortTermRentalz speaks to Jannik Lawaetz, founder and CEO of luggage storage company LuggageHero, about how businesses can turn the crisis into an opportunity to adapt their services for the travellers of the future post-Covid-19.
This year started off really well for LuggageHero, and I was certain that it would be another record-breaking year on our journey to set travellers free – everywhere. Then the news slowly started telling the story about a new type of virus spreading in an unknown-to-me city called Wuhan in China.
Nothing could have prepared me or my business for what was about to happen and what we are facing right now.
As we know, the travel industry has come to a complete halt. This has, of course, heavily affected the ecosystem of short-term rentals, in which LuggageHero is a major player as a service provider of luggage storage. The World Travel and Tourism Council [WTTC] has now predicted that the travel sector will downsize by up to 25 per cent due to the corona outbreak, and that countries with tighter travel restrictions will experience an even bigger drop.
Despite the grim outlook predicted by the WTTC, looking back at former crises, we can see that the travel industry is remarkable at recovering, as you can tell from the graph below*.
[*Source: World Bank. World Tourism Organisation, Skift Research Estimates Data as of May 2019]
Turning a crisis into an opportunity
But before we reach the recovery phase and before people start travelling again, the travel industry overall is looking for a way and opportunity to make its services more valuable and convenient to travellers in the future, while also keeping an eye on safety and hygiene.
The industry is now busy looking at how we can adapt to what we believe will be a new way of travelling. That will likely mean things like extra hygiene practices, contactless payment, increased online interaction and any other approaches that can turn this crisis into an opportunity for safer and more enjoyable travel for us all.
So how do you actually turn a crisis like this into an opportunity and how do you prepare yourself, the business and your team to be ready once the demand comes back? It is not an easy task, but here are some of the things we have done at LuggageHero:
- Setting clear objectives and key results [OKRs] is more important than ever – for the business and the individual. It is imperative that there is a clear focus, and everyone knows exactly what they are trying to achieve and why.
- Realising that we cannot fix the current situation, but we can work towards solutions that will put us in a better position when travel bounces back. We are poised to implement new practices that will increase our customers’ enjoyment, savings and safety.
- Keep investing in marketing. It is understandable that the first thing to cut back on is marketing, however tough times are actually the times businesses need the most marketing.
“Everything will change, nothing will be the same as before”. This is what politicians and analysts are telling us all over the world.
They are predicting that our habits, ways of working and consumer habits will change due to Covid-19. Some are saying that, after weeks in lockdown, with clear blue skies and with no air traffic pollution, air travel will change significantly and perhaps easy and affordable flying will even be a thing of the past.
I do not think so. I believe for sure that people will always want to travel, and I think that many people are going to book cheap flights as soon as it is possible.
We are preparing ourselves for a significant “ketchup” effect in travel like never seen before, where pent-up demand comes rushing out. This could include discounted travel deals, flights cheaper than ever before and hotels/apartments eager to accommodate as many customers as possible.
In the beginning, closed borders for international tourists will cause a shift in travellers’ plans and desires. This summer, it is predicted that local travel will be the trend, at least initially.
Naturally, domestic travel will feel safer after the corona times and, thus, vacationers will stay in their own countries and regions, with some even sticking to home for staycations.
After that period, I believe that Europe will gradually reopen its borders and that people again will start booking those long weekends in Paris, Barcelona and Rome. There will again be a need for luggage storage, but this time in volumes we have never seen before.
We are truly optimistic for the future and are focusing on using this time to strengthen what we can so that when travel is back — which it will be — we will not only be ready, but even ahead of the game.
LuggageHero is hosting a free and exclusive live webinar on Wednesday 22 April for industry professionals seeking to learn how to leverage and grow their business during Covid-19. The featured speakers are Taylor Ryan, a growth hacking expert and six-time start-up founder of various businesses and industries, and Carlos Villaro Lassen, secretary general of the European Holiday Home Association, who will share the latest update for European tourism and short-term rentals. Visit the link here for more information on how to register.