The pandemic has hit business hard and no industry has been spared. Travel and tourism are one of the worst-hit segments, specifically the cruise ship industry is on the brink of a major disaster. Travelers have canceled their future bookings and new ones are non-existent, considering the high-risk of being in an enclosed environment where the chances of contagion are high. The demand that was soaring half a year ago has hit rock-bottom today and the chances of recovery appear bleak. Still, nothing matters more than business resilience and that’s the only way you can get your company back on its feet in the new normal. Here are some strategies that you can rely on for keeping the business afloat amid the biggest crisis it has ever faced.
Focus on passenger health and safety
Cruising in the new normal would require companies to go the extra mile with passenger health and safety because nothing matters more right now. Even the best amenities wouldn’t attract customers unless they are sure about the zero-risk of the virus on the trip. Consider a complete revamp for the on-board safety protocols for passengers and employees. Bear in mind factors such as fewer passengers per vessel to accommodate social distancing, sanitization measures, air filters, passenger screening, and quality medical care on board to keep your business up and running. Ensure that the prospective customers are well aware of these initiatives so that they have good reasons to book in the post-COVID period.
Be aware of the legal implications
Perhaps the biggest challenge for cruise companies as they operate in the new normal is the lawsuits they may face. While the virus is still at large and it may not have a sure shot solution in the near future, the risk will always be there. If a passenger contracts the virus, there is a possibility that they would hire a cruise ship injury attorney and file a lawsuit against your company. While implementing the risk mitigation measures can curb the infection, you still need to understand the duty of exercising reasonable care for the safekeeping of the passengers under maritime law. Ensuring that you have proper insurance is equally important to cover the risk of such lawsuits arises in the future.
Leverage customer loyalty
Keeping your company afloat in the post-pandemic world would require you to prioritize customer loyalty rather than sales and profits. You may have to accept cancellations, which is best done gracefully. Offering bonus credits instead of cash refunds is a good idea as it will get them back sooner or later. But don’t force them to accept credits, if they have no plans to travel again in the near future. Provide incentives and discounts for future bookings and be available with solid customer support if they need to ask questions. Customer loyalty is all about winning the confidence of people.
Although cruising through the crisis sounds like a massive challenge, it isn’t something you cannot achieve. Building on customer trust is the best way to get through and survive through the situation and embark on a new journey of hope.