BINUS Business School

Strategy in Re-inventing Indonesian Tourism Industry Post COVID-19

The tourism industry is one of the main business sectors that will experience severe impacts due to COVID-19. This global pandemic is unlike anything that has happened before, limiting tourism revenues all over the world. The impacts from COVID-19 to Indonesian tourism are equal to the Bali Bomb incident, SARS outbreak, and the 1998 crisis combined.

Panca R. Sarungu, founder and CEO of Prista Group, has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. From his online public lecture with BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL on Thursday, 16 April 2020, he shared his insights on the survival and planning strategy for Indonesian tourism, both during and after COVID-19.

Plans during COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak is not the finish line of the Indonesian tourism industry. Though the possibility of getting tourism revenues is little to none, the pandemic serves as the perfect time to improve your brand and services. There are four main tasks to do during COVID-19, tasks that can catapult your brand even higher than before COVID-19.

  1. Re-define sales strategy

The existing sales strategy that has been successfully applied by many companies in the tourism industry is no longer effective. Avoid giving massive discounts or vouchers, especially if it is a luxury or high-end brand. This will tarnish the brand image in the long run. For any remaining budget, save it for new initiatives.

What kind of business initiatives can be done during COVID-19? Take an example from Accord hotels in Bangkok that turn their hotel rooms into rented offices. The rooms can be booked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Many hotels in Indonesia have also partnered with hospitals, providing self-isolation services with hotel rooms and daily meals.

  1. Re-focus on existing customers

Attracting new customers has proven to be a difficult task to do during COVID-19. However, tourism companies can opt to shift their focus on existing customers. Customers who have used your services before or key accounts that your company has are the people who should be embraced. Show empathy, ask about how they are doing during this pandemic. These customers will greatly appreciate this kind gesture.

If there is an opportunity, you can discuss with them how your company is planning to operate after the pandemic ends. Singapore Airlines is one of the few companies in the tourism industry that has performed this task by allowing full refunds on customers who canceled their flights and giving bonus credits to those who rebook the flights.

  1. Re-invent business operation model

It is time to align your business model with new customers’ behaviors. Review your company’s portfolio and services to cater to customers’ needs. Prioritize what the customer needs. Airbnb, a global company that sells accommodation and travel experiences, has shifted their services to selling online experiences.

  1. Re-image new business opportunities

Similar to point three, prepare your company for seeking new opportunities. COVID-19 has motivated many companies to go online, doing all of their business operations online. If your company has not got any free time to re-image the company’s digital presence, it is time to improve your digital presence, from website to social media accounts. Digital marketing is the only effective marketing method that Indonesian tourism can use.

Immediate solutions: 3 months from now

To get more revenue, many tourism companies have switched gears to selling unrelated products and services. Utilize your relationships and surroundings. New situations due to the pandemic will also affect the customers’ perspectives. It is important for tourism companies to cater to these new perspectives creatively.

The power of good human resources in Indonesian tourism has been lacking during the past few years. This is a great opportunity to optimize your company’s team and personal training. Equip all human resources with new skills and competences, so your company will be ready when there is a market boom in tourism.

Immediate opportunities post COVID-19

There is a great possibility that domestic and regional tourism spots will experience a significant rise in post-COVID-19. People would want to travel to exotic destinations, such as beaches and historical temples. Bali, Bandung, and Yogyakarta will certainly be favorite destinations after the pandemic ends.

This market boom in the tourism industry will greatly affect the rise of small to medium enterprises. Not only that, but there will also be a rise in good human resources for tourism. The future prospects of post-COVID-19 are bright, especially for Indonesian tourism.