Jon Munnery, partner at UK Liquidators, explains how to repair your reputation and make a financial recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
The online travel sector is currently governed by a strict traffic light system, echoing a lottery-style approach for holidaymakers, as destinations across the world rapidly switch from the green list to amber and red.
To attract holidaymakers during this uncertain period, you will need to act sensitively and acknowledge the frustrations encountered by customers when booking holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Relating to customers and addressing the precarious nature of travel planning at this current time can add emotional value and present you with an opportunity to touch upon your Covid-19 flexible booking policy.
Providing such reassurances will help create peace of mind, and retain customers forced to review their travel plans due to Covid-19 disruption.
Many online travel firms and leading airlines have fallen foul of acting ruthlessly with customers during Covid-19 and have taken a hit to company cash flow as a result.
We run through how to repair your reputation and make a financial recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
Managing your online reputation during the Covid-19 crisis
The way you treat customers throughout this period will have a long-lasting effect on the booking behaviour of holidaymakers, post-Covid-19.
From the flexibility granted when honouring refunds, vouchers, and revising exiting bookings, to providing easy access to customer care – your treatment of customers during Covid-19 will be under the spotlight.
Dealing with these requests indelicately could expose your online business to attacks, drive down organic traffic and trigger customers to turn elsewhere. To aid income generation, you will need to make an active effort to rebuild your reputation.
- Track online chatter: If your business is outperforming, or underperforming, customers may voice their views online which could work in favour of your site, or to its detriment. Review platforms include social media, official review sites, such as Trustpilot or Reviews.com and online forums. Client testimonials are instrumental to drive customers, but negative word of mouth can just as quickly ward off incoming traffic
- Customer service: The arrival of the pandemic overwhelmed customer service departments as holidaymakers inundated agencies with frantic request refunds and enquiries to gain clarity on the status of flights. As the travel situation continues to be volatile, establishing dedicated communication platforms can help bolster your reputation
- Transparency: Begin the reputation recovery process by addressing any missteps and acting honestly. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many travel firms glossed over their terms and conditions when dealing with disgruntled customers, despite ongoing chaos from Covid-19
Even big-name agents were caught under the bus for selling holidays tied to unforgiving Covid-19 cancellation policies. Online trackers, such as the Which? Holiday Checker actively seek out Covid-19 flexible booking and cancellation policies to help holidaymakers make informed decisions.
Tackling Covid-19 company cash flow problems
If your online travel firm is suffering from cash flow problems, you will need to seek immediate action to avoid irreparable damage to your business. ]
A licensed insolvency practitioner will be your guide throughout this unprecedented period of trading.
You may turn to a finance solution to unlock cash flow if your business is sustainable or seek a company rescue solution to negotiate an affordable payment plan with creditors.
The relationship between brand reputation and cash flow is intertwined as for each damaging online review, custom from new and existing customers can gradually whittle away and bite into company finances without professional support.