How tourism businesses can recover from COVID-19 lockdown

There are ways to boost business and recover from pandemic-related losses.

Recent lockdowns have posed a number of challenges for tourism and hospitality businesses. Fortunately, there are ways to promote post-pandemic recovery. 

Forced by COVID-19 lockdown to navigate border restrictions, business closures and booking cancellations, many tourism and hospitality operators have seen significant revenue losses. Now business leaders are offering hope for recovery. 

According to Tom Walley, general manager of Corporate Traveller Australia, lockdowns might actually bean opportunity for businesses, providing time to plan new strategies and prepare for post-pandemic success. 

“Despite the lockdowns and short-term downturn in the travel industry, we’ve continued innovating,” Mr Walley said. He stated that providers could expect an eventual increase in demand and could start planning now to make the most of future opportunities.

Mr Walley offered seven ideas to help tourism operators put plans in place for business after COVID-19 lockdown. 

Have a marketing and sales strategy ready to launch. 

While revenue losses have led to budget cuts at many tourism and hospitality businesses, Mr Walley said that funding marketing initiatives now could offer a path to success post-lockdown. By building trust now, operators can assure guests that a return to tourism is on the horizon.

Improving tech solutions to support broader marketing initiatives could enable businesses to optimise sales channels and target more post-COVID travellers.

Innovate using existing technology. 

Mr Walley said that innovation is the key to building a competitive and profitable tourism brand, with COVID-19 lockdown giving businesses the time they need to consider the applications of existing technologies to meet demand and improve internal processes.

In a post-pandemic world, it is especially important for businesses to make plans for COVID-19 health and safety policies and initiatives, protecting guests and avoiding new restrictions. 

Create a cashflow strategy

With time to spare during lockdown, Mr Walley said that tourism and hospitality businesses should be focusing on improving cashflow management systems, reviewing processes and aiming for simplicity and usability. 

This, Mr Walley said, could prove highly valuable when lockdown restrictions ease and businesses return to revenue-building activities. 

Strengthen customer service

Although guests are not currently able to visit tourism businesses in many parts of the country, customer service remains an important priority for any tourism or hospitality operator. 

Mr Walley suggested that businesses should establish tech-support, human-centred customer service systems, aiming to promote brand loyalty, increase referrals and start securing post-lockdown bookings. 

Improve business reporting

According to Mr Walley, COVID-19 lockdown could be an opportunity to consider business strengths and weaknesses, restructuring to improve operational models when tourism providers return to work.

Mr Walley said that effective reporting systems were an essential component of successful tourism providers, providing insight into performance and improvement opportunities. 

Work with human resources

Human resources form an important part of any business team, helping to ensure effective processes and positive work environments. Mr Walley said that HR engagement could be used to control finances, direct growth and establish good strategies ahead of reopening. 

During COVID-19 lockdown, tourism businesses can work to improve staff and cost management, ensuring that systems run smoothly when business begins to boom again. 

Update travel and expense policies

With new policies needed to support travel in a post-COVID world, tourism and hospitality businesses will need to revisit policies and procedures for booking flexibility and expenses. Mr Walley said that tourism operators could use lockdown as a time to focus on what will follow. 

Businesses should work to update policies that provide contingency plans for health, safety, budget and flexibility, all with future bookings in mind. 


While COVID-19 lockdowns have been difficult for many tourism and hospitality providers, time away from customer-facing business may also be a chance to drive improvements going forward. In a post-pandemic world, there are opportunities for growth in the tourism industry. 

Other articles:

The tourism industry’s roadmap to pandemic recovery

Calls for JobKeeper to support outback tourism businesses

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