Travel within the time of Coronavirus
What is the impact of COVID-19? What have we learned from this plague so far? What is our future? Alex Metzler, Co-founder and CFO of Enchanting Travels, answers all these questions and many more.
Alex Metzler, Co-founder and CFO of Enchanting Travels, answers all the difficult questions about travel and the coronavirus epidemic this year.
What’s the Biggest Problem of a Plague on Fun Travels?
Clearly, the corona epidemic has been a major factor in disrupting our business and the entire travel market that anyone can remember.
The travel ban imposed by the epidemic has left us unable to travel long distances since March. To address this, we have begun to create our own short-term business. New destinations such as Iceland and Greece have proven to be popular, and have allowed us to resume business. We will be making our short notes in the coming months, including areas such as Portugal, Italy and Russia.
Being part of the Travelopia team and the dynamic growth The exciting experience of the last 15 years, means that the company is well positioned to meet the challenges.
As mentioned, long journeys have stopped. How does Fun Travel work as a travel company right now?
Fun Travel is always a flexible, digital-led company with members around the world. Many of our video conferences feature participants at least four times!
When the plague began, both hands were on the roof, causing the visitors to return home. Thanks to the efforts of our co-workers and colleagues on the ground, we were able to repatriate our guests in a short time – in a few days. Our hospitality service provides visitors 24/7 and is one of the things that made our visitors different during the first crisis.
Following this, we turned to customers who had booked this year’s tours. We have a strong relationship with many of our guests. This, combined with easy-to-adjust reservations, means that we have been able to reserve 75% reservation next year – which is probably the industry record.
Many of the places we go to still have a travel warning, which is why we have left the old business and started doing more to connect with our visitors. In Q3 of this year, we managed to reach directly to about 2,500 visitors – of which about 1/3 are tourists – and we received important information from the link. For example, we have learned that about 25% want to resume their journey early, or at the end of the year. We also learned that two of the most important things for our guests when deciding whether to register or not are the way to prevent change and the security we are going through – the things we write through covid insurance, 24/7 concierge service, hygiene and security measures, and switch options.
The plague has also forced us to find almost 100% home office. This was no small feat, as Enchanting Travels has always been a highly flexible, digital-led company with members around the world. Many of our video conferences feature participants at least four times!
We have been involved in many activities in the Travelopia group. Refreshments just took over the UK tourist business, Hayes & Jarvis. And, as I mentioned earlier, we are also expanding our short-term history, so the team is busy.
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Do you see a cure soon?
As long as there is no vaccine or appropriate treatment against Corona, we should expect that travelers will continue to save money or reserve a place at the end of the day. For good reason, we know that there will be other requirements unless the travel restrictions are lifted and the airlines resume operations. We expect 2021 to be a gradual year.
Our high-end, professionally designed segment will probably see positive growth from the 2022 fiscal year onwards. As a company, Enchanting Travels hopes to get back on track with strong growth from 2022 in the future.
What do you think could be the impact of the plague on travel and travel?
As we have already seen, some tourists and most tour operators have to close. Many tourist companies will be forced to leave the market as we move towards the end of 2020. Business travel can also be significantly affected in the middle, as people are accustomed to holding video conferencing and electronic means of meeting.
On the contrary, I think the popularity of domestic and temporary housing, which the plague has promoted, is a culture we should see continuing for the next two to three years, as travelers around the world choose to stay close to home.
Especially for travelers, security, flexibility and interdependence will play an important role in how customers can choose to live with travelers. That’s the idea we’ve seen supported by our visitor research experience: For about 1/3 of our visitors, work was the most important factor for the reasons they chose to travel with Enchanting Travels. Only more than 8% said that the value of money was their main reason for choosing us. When trips are hard to plan, it is a good opportunity for professionals and professional companies, such as ours, to show their value.
What have you, and as a businessman, learned from these experiences so far?
As I said, customer care and good care of our guests has been our goal. Being agile and flexible as a business has also been important; We must build to change, not just build forever.
In my case, when times get tough, I feel it is more important than ever to have a positive attitude and not to forget our empathy and humanity.
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