It’s no secret, the COVID-19 virus has made it an extremely challenging time for many tour operators out there. Cancellations are coming in, bookings aren’t while overhead costs remain. Across the industry, operators have taken creative approaches to overcoming this pandemic from selling gift cards to creating virtual tours, all brilliant and effective solutions.
However, on the coast of Jamaica, a day tour operation known as El Sol Vida, is taking a completely different approach. As the bookings stopped coming in, this is what Robert Wilmot from El Sol Vida had to say: “Suppose the spread of COVID-19 extends for a year. What next? While it’s great to prepare for the bounce back of tourism, we need to start thinking outside the box.” What can we do now to bring cash flow in.
El Sol Vida realized that bookings are not coming back anytime soon, not for a while at least. If COVID has caused demand for tourism to drop, logically it must have increased demand for something else. And it did, those who were more vulnerable to the disease such as the elderly had a significantly higher risk when going out to purchase their groceries or medication, hence there was a growth in demand for deliveries.
El Sol Vida has a fleet of vehicles and tour guides, they were in the perfect position to start providing this service. After all, their guides are already used to providing great customer service, El Sol Vida just needed to train their guides to maintain social distancing and other protocols as per the ministry of health.
El Sol Vida is a well-established business in the area. Using their connections, they built relationships with supermarkets and wholesalers who now provide them with the goods for delivery.
They also realized that the elderly often had relatives living overseas, relatives who often wanted to order goods to be sent to their parents or grandparents. As they had already set up their payment gateway with Rezdy for their tour operation, they could simply reuse the payment gateway to collect payments from overseas for their new delivery service.
We get it, not everyone will be in the position to do this. However, at the very least, there’ll be one thing you’ll be able to do differently with the resources you have. For example, some hotels in New York are considering turning into temporary hospitals. Ask yourself this, “What are my core resources, especially the ones I’m still paying for but not using?” and “ How can I use these to provide a new service to new customers?”
A big thank you to El Sol Vida for sharing their story with us, inspiring us with their innovative thinking and for the amazing work they’ve been doing with their local communities.
If you have a story or would like to share what your business is doing, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.