Innovative COVID19 Rebound Strategies
What are some of the most innovative rebound strategies that industries heavily impacted by COVID19 will apply to recover from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic? Specifically the restaurant, entertainment and travel industries?
For many of these industries, COVID-19 can provide a reset that presents opportunities. Industries and companies that can take advantage of the fact that consumers' eyes are "re-opened" serve to steal share. Some strategies I've started to see either already happening or taking early shape that are especially innovative include...
1.) Pair a long-term consumer gap with a new safety concern - think of an airline that takes out middle seats/lengthens space/etc. on certain flights (and charges more) - you've solved the overcrowding problem, and paired with safety concerns, many businesses/individuals would be willing to pay more for the benefit and piece of mind
2.) "Delight on the Return" - Get the first trip back right, and use it for long-time value. Ex. a restaurant which has a "car to table" reservation, where you call on arrival and are immediately escorted to a socially distanced table with one-use menus, etc. - make the first trip back so comfortable, that you become a go-to - if you can pair with a rewards program, select service, etc., you can become their go-to place during the pandemic - and tie them to you for after
3.) Use the reset to cut costs - Are you a low impact service restaurant (ex. most people don't go to Applebee's for the service or ambiance) - then why is your wait staff so big? Reservations, seating, menus, ordering, asking for refills, etc. can all be done digitally through an app (which also creates data points for better targeting and marketing) or a digital service point (and many of these restaurants already have this). Use these, delight the consumer with faster responses and a safer feeling, and significantly cut staff/wage needs
4.) Use the gap to drive new offerings - for some places, this is nearly capitalizing on being close by (ex. I've seen a lot more trips to Gatlinburg because it's drivable for the Midwest as opposed to beaches, and cabin rentals are secluded and more affordable), for others, it means creating new solutions. Imagine a safety tier stay at a Hilton - guaranteed first floor room (no elevators), electronic early check in (avoid touch points and rush), lists and reservation help at COVID safe attractions and restaurants, and reserved social distanced pool seating. While before may consumers would not have paid for these things, or seen them as benefits (ex. first floor room), they can now create value and opportunities for other revenue streams (ex. restaurant partnerships).