Almost everyone arround the world is hiding in their shelter called home. The main reason: We want the COVID-19 virus to go away as fast as possible. The price for this medical advantage is our freedom and our prosperous economy. If this problem isn’t solved fast, we’re looking at an all but bright future.
Of course, we’re all hoping that the virus will be a seasonal thing and, just like the flu, will go away as soon the warm spring weather comes along. Nothing points in that direction though. Although viruses of this type tend to spread less quickly in hot and humid climates, many countries around the equator or in the southern hemisphere are suffering from it as well. If it can keep spreading in Singapore and Ecuador, it’s very likely to survive a European summer as well.
Another solution will be a vaccin. If we could boost the immunity of that part of society that’s in higher risk, the hospitals will be able to cope with the others who do still get infected. Hopeful virologists expect a vaccin to be ready in about 12 to 18 months. It will definitely not be there to save your summer season and probably also not to save the one of next year.
How to live with the COVID-19 virus
When we look at the statistics, worldwide quarantaine is already proving to be a decent solution. Countries with strict measures are reporting a decrease of infections, compared to countries which are letting it linger. More and more governments are starting to call the situation “under control”. Meaning that the hospitals don’t work beyond capacity anymore and that the stocks of facial masks, ventilators and toilet paper have been refilled.
But now what?
If the world just returns to business as usual, before we know it the situation will be back to very critical. Maybe even worse.
This kind of situation doesn’t have a precedent and since it pretty much happened everywhere around the world at the same time, we can’t really steal ideas from other countries either. Except from China, which seems to have started its ascent to the new reality.
China was the first to lock everyone’s front doors and soon the rest of the world followed. Today, China is the first to start up their recovery plan, slowly reopening hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.
If we keep following China in its footsteps, we can be sure that the world in which we’ll wake up tomorrow will be all about clean hands, corona tests, health apps and individual quarantaine. A huge attack on our privacy, but at least we’ll have some of our freedom back.
What does this mean for your naturist resort?
The list of possible scenarios for this summer is endless. On one end of the spectrum we see “The COVID-19 virus is gone”. On the other end we see “The whole world is still in lockdown”. Neither of those are likely to happen.
Lets have a look at what’s more probable:
❓ People are only allowed to travel domestic
❓ People are allowed to travel to the neighboring countries
❓ People are allowed to travel international
❓ International flights are not possible or scarce
❓ Other types of public transport are scarce
❓ People will only be allowed to travel if they can prove that they don’t carry the virus.
❓ Resorts will be forced to perform COVID-19 tests
❓ Resorts will be forced to maintain social distances
❓ Resorts will be forced to maintain sanitary measures
❓ People will be scared to travel/to not be able to get back home
❓ And so on…
Most likely, we will end up in a combination of different scenarios.
If there’s one thing to be learned from this list it’s that a huge amount of flexibility will be required from the resort owners. The situation might change overnight and only if you can keep track with the changes you will keep receiving visitors.
Local travel is likely to become the trend of this summer. Even if international travel will be allowed, domestic travel will be first. Keeping in mind that these lockdowns are likely to exist until at least May/June, especially for the beginning of the summer season you WILL need to focus on local naturists.
Where to put your focus on?
This situation is equally uncertain for the resorts and the travelers. It may be very worrisome that you aren’t receiving any bookings (and maybe lots of cancellations) but you have to keep in mind that few travelers dare to make bookings today. Even if they’re absolutely sure that they’re going to be on the first plane to the Caribbean as soon as the border opens, they’re not going to speculate on when that will be.
Which brings us to a couple of important points to focus on:
1. There will be a lot of last minute bookings. When the lockdowns, social distancing and border closures are lifted, you want to be prepared.
2. Local tourism will boom. There are lots of cues pointing in this direction. First of all, governments won’t be all too happy to allow foreigners in who could bring the virus or put extra pressure on the health facilities. Airlines are among the last sectors to be back in business, likely with a very reduced schedule. People will be afraid to get sick in foreign countries, to end up in a lockdown or to not have a way back home. People might fear going to packed places, such as airports, train stations, etc.
3. Prepare for short stays. Last minute holidays are rarely long term and lots of people are now using their paid holidays to get through this crisis. It’s likely that long weekends and short trips will be a trend of this summer. Prepare for this by adjusting your prices to make it possible to receive people for only 3 days in a bungalow instead of the default week. And advertise as such by telling your guests how to get the best out of a short holiday.
Being prepared is better than being scared
The sad truth is that the travel market will decrease this year. And even sadder is that many businesses in the tourism industry are likely to get in financial problems. In some countries you may be counting on government bailouts, but even those might not save your summer season.
But those who are prepared will survive. Use this lockdown period carefully. Now is the moment to revise your business strategy. Make sure to have a plan for every scenario you can think of, eliminating the scenarios that become obsolete over time. Follow the news in your own country and that of your target audiences. Be prepared to focus on a new market, maybe several times through out the season.
Keep the naturist world informed about your progress. Don’t expect people to call you this summer about whether you’re open or not. You’ll have to make sure that they know.
A crisis always creates opportunities. Now is the time to make sure that you’re ready for a new reality.
If you would like further information about this subject, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, keep following this blog, join the Naturist Business COVID-19 Support Facebook Group and have a look at our FREE GUIDE for Naturist Resorts about how to cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
Or contact us for help with determining your communication strategy and setting up online communication channels.