Independent Travel agents and other micro travel businesses - your Covid -19 big opportunity
Despite - in fact because of - the demise of the fast-falling industry giants,this is your COVID-19 big opportunity.
First you may ask why is this opportunity available to small businesses? It's simple! If you rent or own hotels, resorts, planes or other tourism-related 'assets', if you have a big payroll or you have an algorithm or a MO - you're stuffed for a while. Quite a long while as it turns out.
Maybe for a couple of years big travel businesses will have to keep their noses to the grindstone, otherwise they'll lose the lot. Remember that the mass travel industry is built on the mathematics of big numbers. Hotel beds or plane seats are the most perishable items in the world - worse than fruit and veg!
So, all of a sudden, travel-related micro-businesses have the upper hand - they have no big asset that they need to serve or die! Who are these travel micro-businesses who have an open goal? Travel agents. Tourist guides. Small accommodation providers. Small local DMCs. In fact almost any travel-related micro business is now looking at the opportunity of a lifetime.
And what is the opportunity? The Experience Economy in which already globally over 450,000 micro businesses are turning over some $200 billion.
And it is set to grow exponentially because: There is a massive global marketplace of people who want something different, authentic, un-crowded, safe, and experiential! And hand held.
There are low - or no - barriers to entry and, if you get it just right, you can write your own margins. The opportunity is as small or as big as you want it. You can use your own passion and drive to fulfil your own needs.
Once upon a time, travel was about going there, doing stuff and coming back. The key was… Where was 'there'? The pulling power of the destination dragged the passengers in.
Now, 60 years later, the old-style business has become top-heavy, stale, ordered and homogenised; margins are as thin as ever. This makes for low wages, brutal prices, unhappy destination communities and disappointed tourists.
There are so many people going to so few iconic places, they have become totally sad and unsustainable.
And now due to Covid - 19 it's all on hold.
Your opportunity is preparing for 2021. While all the big boys and girls are trying to hold on to what they had you can create something NEW, by joining the Experience Economy.
At the moment there are something like half a million micro-experience organisers around the world and their total sales nudge some £160 billion ($200 billion) annually. That means the average micro-experience organiser is already turning over £320,000 ($400,000) per year.
And the field will grow rapidly. What do all these little businesses do? Simply said they share their passion with others. So, if you want a break from dull routine and you have a passion, NOW is the time to share it for profit!
Mostly it's about passion. Whether you're passionate about eating , cookery, about wine or beer, if you're passionate about a sport, riding or gliding or go-carting, sailing or swimming, about shopping or needlework or making mosaics, knitting or walking or you're passionately knowledgeable about a place... or absolutely anything in which visitors are interested too.
It could even be just helping to create and fulfil your travel agent client passions. Whatever your niche passion, now is the time for action. Why now? Because, for certain this year will see a rock bottom for the old travel industry and from there the only way is up for the new wave of small, agile, entrepreneurial experience economy innovators.
You will start at the bottom of the curve and the graph and your opportunity goes up from there. You don't need big assets. You simply need to coordinate and manage your own plan.
Remember the success of Airbnb? Tripadvisor? They had nothing but an idea at their beginning and soon they will be part of the past.
The future belongs to the growing sustainable band of micro-businesses in the Experience Economy and you could be a part of that future if you follow your dream.
And in this situation, when economies of scale are failing unusually, governments and banks will be on your side. This is the opportunity for you to use the power of your experiences, your knowledge and your passion, rather than just the boring old destinations, to pull in your business.
So start now. Choose your passion and combine it with your business plan. You are half way there already.
You'll need to be a coordinator, choosing the settings for your experiences and creating local partnerships, making new friends.
In operating this way your activity will be sustainable too.
Valere is CEO of Best of Romagna and author of 'You Lucky People' the story of travel - the world's most delightful and devastating industry. Find out more about it HERE
Valere Tjolle is the travel and tourism insider. An entrepreneur, consultant, developer and journalist, he has been in at the beginning of almost every tourism development for the last sixty years. There is no one better placed to expose the seedy side of tourism nor its enormous opportunities to unite people across the globe.