It’s no secret that Tour Operators have had to do many layoffs in the past year to survive the crisis, and now they struggle to find new staff.
The outstanding vaccination progress in the US has shown a glimpse of what to expect once travel resumes globally. One of the first things that happened after borders reopened in the US is that Delta canceled 100 flights due to its inability to keep up with the increased travel demand. They’ve now opened the middle seat for booking – something they planned to do in May. Additionally, United launched new direct flights to three European countries – Iceland, Greece, and Croatia – allowing US tourists to their country and influencing a positive trend in booking numbers for those countries. And Americans are ready to travel, now.
From extreme lay-offs to extreme lack of manpower
It’s no secret that tour operators have had to do many layoffs in the past year to survive the crisis. Many laid-off workers have found new jobs outside the travel industry, which is resulting in a new challenge: companies in the tourism sector now struggle to find staff and are faced with the inability to meet the demand that has caught many players off guard.
We’ve written earlier this year about the 50% post-Covid travel growth. It seemed like a promised land, but the current situation in the US is showing that the question of “Re-hire to pre-Covid numbers or Invest “will become a hot topic sooner rather than later.
The situation in the US allows all other countries to learn from their experience and prepare for what’s to come next. A fascinating statement we’ve found while researching this topic was. “We’re all pushed to the limit right now. The workforce shortage is the new pandemic “.
Layed-off staff moved on, onboarding new people is challenging
Let’s look back and state that tourism is all about experiences. Not being able to process customer inquiries in a reasonable time, or providing an experience that is below the customer expectation, will slowly but steadily lead to clientele loss.
In our last webinar, Oliver states that, although he’s happy that the people he had to lay off have found jobs, it could represent a problem for everyone once the travel resumes. Especially ones without streamlined processes and software to support them.
Onboarding new people in the middle of a travel surge is much more challenging without a good digital solution to support it.
Tour operators and DMCs losing revenue without technology
Don’t get us wrong – people are essential to tourism. But the long-term approach is investing in travel technology instead of re-hiring to pre-Covid numbers. The importance of proceeding with digital transformation for travel companies is now more critical than ever.
Being fast in responses, making quotes, collaborating with your suppliers, responding to inquiries, having your colleagues working from different addresses; all need new processes and new technology. Without it, travel companies will face the threat of losing opportunities and revenue, thus slowing down their much-needed recovery.