Getting Back to Business in 2021: 3 Key Areas to Address

back-to-business-2021

2021 is proving to be the year of recovery in many ways.

Vaccines continue to roll out, states and countries are laying out – if not executing – their roadmaps to reopening, and more and more industries are beginning to show signs of recovery.

Recently, the European Union announced its intention to welcome back international tourists for summer 2021, provided the tourists are fully vaccinated. In the US, Californian theme parks are open and started welcoming back out-of-state tourists in mid-June; and Las Vegas has already seen a tremendous recovery, with all restrictions now lifted and the city continuing to go from strength-to-strength.

These are fantastic signs! And though recovery will still take time, things are undeniably headed in the right direction. In this article, I will touch on 3 key areas that all businesses should account for as they recover and get back to business.

These are:

1) Rehiring

2) Bringing customers back in

3) Planning for the future

1) Rehiring

Over the past months as more and more businesses have been able to reopen more fully, particularly in the US, a notable challenge many industries are facing is hiring new staff and/or rehiring former-staff.

Though there are many contributing factors to the exponential growth of job openings and the underwhelming number of applicants, the key focus needs to be on what can be done to turn those numbers around.

hiring-signage

Whether someone’s hesitating to return to the workforce due to uncertainties around safety or because they haven’t been able to find a daycare for their children, there needs to be more on offer for a return to the workforce beyond the expected salary, vacation time, and insurance.

But, as is the nature of the beast, most businesses saw a downturn in profit last year, which also effects what can be offered to prospective employees now.

One key solution many businesses are looking at are hiring bonuses, which come in many flavors. These can be extra bonuses in the forms of cash or gifts such as smart tech, video game consoles, and home appliances. Of course, depending on the nature of the bonus, the cost to the employer can be significant – a factor that must be weighed when wanting to incentivize more people to apply for a position.

The Travel Factor

Consider that, for almost a year and a half, most people had to forego travel and vacation plans. International closures, state border closures, and stay-at-home orders brought much of tourism and travel to a standstill. Even for those who were still willing to travel during these times, many resorts, theme parks and events were shuttered, greatly limiting what could be experienced.

Now, however, as states continue with their reopening plans and more resorts, theme parks, and events return to near-full (if not full) operations, there is good reason for many to plan their next getaways.

The same applies to your prospective employees. They might’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic or simply had to stay inside for the majority of the previous year-and-a-half. Now, with domestic and international travel picking back up, they’re likely just as eager to get out there as anyone else.

This is where a hiring bonus such as a multi-choice travel certificate (your employee gets to choose from one of several vacation options) can really pique the interest of your most ideal workers. From the get-go, they know that working for you will not just yield them a job for their day-to-day, but their next vacation will also be covered. And with a 2-year window in which to redeem their vacation, they don’t have to rush in order to make use of it.

In a time where we’re just starting to come out the other end of very strange and travel-restricted past 18 months, a Vacation Hiring Bonus is a powerful means of incentivizing people to apply and get back into the workforce.

2) Bringing Customers Back In

customer-making-purchase

Along with hiring staff, there’s also the matter of bringing customers back to your store. Granted, having customers return is likely an easier order than staff hires, but there can still be challenges along the way. Some of these challenges are unique to specific industries: for example, the chip-related shortage that is impacting many auto manufacturers and, by extension, auto dealerships.

Other sectors, such as restaurants and hospitality, aren’t really facing stock or inventory shortages, but rather the aforementioned labor shortages. Such shortages are in direct contrast to the abundance of eager patrons who want to return to more regular breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner outings.

Every industry is different and must approach the customer question in their own way.

For auto dealers facing limited new inventory in their showrooms, this can have a notable impact on customers. After all, if a customer wants a brand-new vehicle and dealerships simply can’t cater to that request, then what can they do to retain that customer’s business until the new vehicle arrives?

Incentives can certainly help here. For example, if a dealership does not expect a customer’s desired vehicle to reach the lot for another 3 to 4 months, they could offer a travel certificate as an incentive for the customer to pre-order their new vehicle and wait those few months.

Travel incentives could also be applied to used vehicle purchases or certain fixed-op services.

For any industry that’s facing inventory shortages or reduced operations that are beyond their control, having something extra that adds value for your customers or clients in the meantime can be a big boon. It keeps you front-of-mind and maintains an important relationship between your business and customers.

Even if your business is seeing good sales numbers and overall customer traffic, running a promotion or special is still a worthwhile idea. Given the drastically different experiences we all had throughout 2020 and early 2021, a sales event or promotion can be a great way of marking a return to a lighter and more exciting tone for the future.

A sales event that includes potential vacation giveaways and event tickets will create plenty of buzz and help your business return with a bang.

3) Planning for the Future

An important part of any recovery is having a plan for the future. Not only in terms of planning for when things are truly back to normal, but also in terms of taking what was learned from a previous period of challenge and ensuring there are strategies in place should such a challenge arise again.

While the past 18 months have certainly been a tough run for many businesses, the challenges it presented inspired various forms of innovation and adaptive practices. One significant shift was in the accelerated expansion of ecommerce across many industries, as well as businesses generally taking a more multi-platform approach to sales.

In the auto sector, this included dealerships expanding on online browsing functionality and mobile-friendliness, bringing vehicles directly to the customer’s home for test drives and – overall – a more cohesive blending of online and offline solutions.

Restaurants similarly adapted with expanded delivery and online ordering, curbside pick-up options – and some even began selling their meats and produce directly to customers so they could cook the same meals at home or use them as premium ingredients in their own meals.

In trying times, innovation and new ideas are often the key to weathering the storm and coming out the other end.

While it can be off-putting to consider the possibility of another event in the future leading to an economic shutdown, acknowledging those possibilities and having strategies in place should they occur again are fundamental to success. It’s always a good idea to be ready in the event of a rainy day.

Let’s Talk

If you need help with securing more sales or generating renewed buzz for your business during these times, Odenza is here to help.

We offer a wide range of incentive products that bring prospective employees and customers over the line. You can offer them the latest tech, Staycations, events tickets, or a wide range of national and international getaways that they can redeem when they’re ready for their next big trip.

For more than 20 years, Odenza has specialized in experiential incentives that bring real value to businesses and consumers alike.

To learn more, contact us via the form below, on our Contact page, or by calling us on 1-866-883-2968.

About David Murton

David Murton is the Senior Editor for Odenza’s blog, where we share stories and insights about travel incentives, marketing solutions, client success stories, and the latest developments within our company. Odenza has delivered 3420 promotions in the last 3 years with 1140 clients in 43 industries throughout North America. Odenza is a three-time recipient of Carnival Cruise Lines' "Pinnacle Club" award for sales excellence and a member of Funjet Vacations "500 Club" of travel agencies. Odenza was recognized for providing superior customer service, demonstrating expertise in Funjet vacation destinations and ensuring that customers receive the best vacation value available.