2020 has been hard. The bushfires and of course, the unprecedented pandemic has made 2020 especially difficult for everyone in the travel industry. However, as 2020 comes to a close, we wanted to look back on the amazing things people in the travel industry have done. 

All across social media, groups and the internet, we saw operators, thought leaders,  travel tech companies, and many more band together to share advice, tips and initiatives to help the industry as a whole prevail. 

Of course, who could forget the 50 articles on getting to the new normal, the hundreds of resources on starting virtual experiences and the endless webinars that puts the Netflix library to shame!

So as the year comes to a close, we just wanted to say:

A big thank you

To everyone in the industry that we are so lucky to be a part of. And there’s no one we could thank more than our customers, who have stuck by us despite these challenging times.

During the year we saw and heard stories of operators creatively pivot and change their business models to get through this crisis. Stories that no doubt inspired us to move forward.

So as the 2020 chapter comes to a close, we wanted to give a special shoutout to some of our amazing customers who have inspired us throughout the year. Picking out just a few stories to share was tough. There were plenty of amazing stories that we weren’t able to mention here. But without further ado:

Here are just a few of the many amazing stories we’ve heard:

Most Innovative

1) Reason Escape Room

An escape room who quickly reinvented themselves the moment they began receiving cancellations, Reason was one of the very first stories we heard about.
By creating “Lola in Space”, they quickly found a way to bring their escape room virtual. Rather than the traditional game where the player escapes the room, the player dials in via Zoom and helps a trapped Lola – an actor who’s trapped in a spaceship – escape. But this wasn’t just your average zoom call, Reason also built custom control panels, remote-controlled props, AI chatbots and many more custom interactions which made this virtual world seem very much real.  

Bringing the escape room virtual also allowed them to exceed capacity constraints an escape room would typically have. In fact, their second virtual escape room “Moonshot” allows up to 100 players! Opening up the doors to larger corporate clients. 

When asked about the Pandemic:

“With every shift, there are new opportunities.  Try to evolve while doing what you can to survive. For some, it’s better to fail fast and start over when conditions improve while for others it’s an opportunity to hunker down and reinvent.”

– Mike Chen, Co-Founder of Reason.

You can read more about Reason here.

2) The Bend Motorsport Park

The Bend is the one operator we’ve seen who managed to stay open throughout the entire Pandemic. Though South Australia’s restrictions were not as strict as that of other areas in the world, it was their swift response, going above and beyond that allowed them to thrive during this crisis. 

Very early on, they reduced their maximum capacity and instead ran their activities more frequently, using staggered bookings to ensure no overlap between groups. They made garage hires mandatory to prevent gatherings in the car park. Activity briefings quickly went digital and participants were temperature scanned upon arrival. 

Many of these have become the new normal for most businesses, however, it’s worth noting that when the Bend implemented these, these practices were unheard of. In fact, we identified 5 key areas for implementing social distancing, through talking to the Bend, and taking from their experience. 

When asked about the Pandemic:
“It has given us an opportunity to recognise the strength of our track days and karting experiences. As restrictions begin to ease we will be reviewing how best to build on these strengths.” – Taylor Boyley

You can read more about The Bend here.

Community Impact

1) El Sol Vida

El Sol Vida is a day tour operation that pivoted to an activity completely outside of travel, one that focused on community impact. 

They used their fleet of vehicles to become a logistics company, delivering groceries and medicine to those more vulnerable to disease such as the elderly. They swiftly trained their staff on social distancing practices and built relationships with supermarkets and wholesalers. All this allowed their business to pull through this pandemic, all while helping the local community. 

They also started a free video chat service with their guides to help those dealing with isolation and loneliness during the pandemic. 

When asked about the Pandemic:

“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.“

You can read more about El Sol Vida here.

2) Wellington Zoo

As the cases decreased and New Zealand started to recover, people were still afraid to travel and consumer spending among the community was at a standstill. So, Wellington Zoo and the Wellington Council put together an initiative to offer free tickets to the zoo. 

This encouraged New Zealanders to visit the zoo, and in turn, visit the local community. Boosting consumer spending and activities for the whole of Wellington, helping many small businesses thrive off the boost in local traffic.

We hear you

There were plenty of amazing stories that we weren’t able to fit into this piece, but we do know of all the amazing things everyone had been doing. So thank you once again to all of you.

We’ll see you in the new year

Like waiting for a storm to pass, we can’t say for sure when it will, but we can say with certainty, that it will. So as we put a close to 2020, though the future is unclear, we know that it will get better, and that the travel industry will rise once again. 

So from everyone here at Rezdy, we hope you enjoy the holiday season and we wish you nothing but happiness, health and good fortune coming into the new year. Here’s to a better 2021. 

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