It’s no secret that the tourism industry is among the hardest hit thanks to the global pandemic that has us all sitting tight. With thousands of grounded flights, countless tours canceled, and empty hotels, the travel and hospitality industries are facing a serious challenge. During these unprecedented times, even a small gesture can support small businesses in tourism to stay on their feet as we navigate this crisis together.
Why should you care about supporting the tourism industry?
As someone who is currently living in a country where tourism makes up most of the national GDP, I’ve seen first-hand how small businesses have been struggling. The tourism industry went into a complete standstill overnight, which means thousands of hotel staff, owners of souvenir shops, and airline employees have been left without work.
I am aware that this is not the only industry that has been hit hard. However, since I write about travel, I figured it was only fitting to talk about how you can support small businesses in tourism during this time.
Though it might not feel like it right now, this will pass and we will be able to travel again. While we wait, let’s support our favorite small businesses in tourism!
How You Can Support Small Businesses in Tourism
Leave Reviews for Accommodations You’ve Stayed At
One simple way to support small businesses in tourism is to leave reviews for accommodations you’ve stayed at.
Leaving a review takes only a few minutes, and we all have a little extra time on our hands these days. Now is the time to hop on Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google, or even type up a quick email to gush about why you loved a particular accommodation.
This gesture costs you nothing, but I can guarantee it will put a smile on the host’s face!
While leaving reviews might not change anything immediately, positive reviews, in the long run, will encourage other travelers to book the same accommodation based on your wonderful experience.
Leave Reviews for Experiences You’ve Had
Just like you would for accommodations, why not leave a raving review about an experience that you had? This goes for any guided tours you may have gone on, excursions, Airbnb Experiences, cooking classes… The list goes on!
Leaving reviews for experiences is super easy. Many platforms now even encourage you to leave reviews by sending you an email reminder or notification after you’ve completed the experience!
A great review from you will leave a ripple effect, letting future travelers know that this particular experience is worth booking.
Interact With Small Businesses in Tourism on Social Media
With marketing and advertising budgets being cut, a lot of businesses are relying on organic consumer engagement with their brand online.
One easy way you can help support small businesses in tourism is by interacting with them on social media.
If you love a particular brand, give them a shoutout! Sharing a post of theirs, liking their photos, leaving a nice comment, or simply engaging can really help give them a boost.
Think about it: If every fan or loyal customer took half a second to simply like their favorite brand’s content, we would be doing them a huge service.
If you’re really feeling generous, you might even want to leave a review on their Facebook page. Any engagement counts!
Recommend Small Businesses You Love to Friends and Family
Everyone loves a good recommendation.
While reviews are great, getting a personal recommendation is even better.
If you visited a destination and had an amazing experience with a local business, spread the word! This could be a tour company, boutique hotel, or even a local shop that you fell in love with.
Tell your family and friends about those places!
Chances are, if you loved it, they will too. And if they love it, they’ll continue spreading the love!
Postpone Your Trip Instead of Canceling
Many people are in a tough situation due to the pandemic. But, if you’re in a position to do so, why not postpone your trip instead of canceling it?
Lots of large companies like Airbnb, Booking.com, and even airlines are offering credit in the form of vouchers instead of a refund.
If you can, take the credit and plan your trip for another date. This will give you something to look forward to while helping the companies that make your travel dreams come true stay afloat.
When you are in a position to travel again, consider booking directly with your hotel. While sites like Booking.com and Expedia are awesome for easy planning, booking directly means your reservation will get priority.
This is because the hotel doesn’t pay a commission fee for direct reservations.
Take it from a former hotel Sales Manager – it wasn’t uncommon for us to give a small discount as a show of appreciation to someone who called us directly to book their stay.
Booking directly with your accommodation can save both you and the hotel money.
When you do start to travel again, try booking a local homestay or boutique hotel instead of a massive chain.
Not only will you be getting a more authentic local experience, but you’ll also be supporting small businesses in tourism.
Do you have a favorite blogger or tour company?
Just because we can’t travel, doesn’t mean we can’t dream! You can do some armchair travel by purchasing a guidebook or detailed travel itinerary written by your favorite blogger. Or, you could purchase that e-book a local tour company is offering and start reading up on a country you’re planning to visit next year!
Most often, these e-Products are relatively inexpensive but can mean the world to a small business trying to stay afloat right now.
Support Small Businesses in Tourism in Your Hometown
Supporting small businesses in tourism doesn’t mean you have to leave the country or even your hometown! You can support a local travel agent by asking them to book your next flight. Continue ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurants…
Shop locally – online, order a bag of coffee beans from a local brewery you love
Many of us don’t have extra money at our disposal right now. However, for those that still have jobs and are in a position to spend, why not check out a local shop’s online store? You never know what you’ll find! Plus, just any small purchase will help show your support from afar.
Donate to Organizations You Care About
Now, this is taking it to the next level.
If you’re able to, consider donating to an organization you care about. This could be a small business located in your hometown or even a community you visited during your travels.
From charities that help feed the hungry, animal shelters or even the zoo, your generosity will help them in these times of uncertainty.
When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a happy dance.
I realize that these tips might not apply to everyone, but for those that are willing and able to help support small businesses in tourism, I hope I’ve been able to inspire you.
Did you find these tips helpful? What other ways do you think we could help the travel industry right now? Let me know in the comments!