How to set up my products for success post-COVID

by Products

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2020 was one of the most difficult times in recent history as COVID-19 impacted our world, the economy, and in particular the travel industry. In 2021 as vaccines are being distributed, people are gradually regaining confidence in traveling once again, and you as an operator want to be ready and make sure that your products are set up for success for the time when travel resumes.

Below are a few tips on how to make your product listings post-COVID safe:

1. Add or update the health and safety information on all your products in the Management Center

Additional health and safety measures are on top of everyone’s minds. Once the world reopens and travel resumes, travelers want to make sure that the tours they are going on and the activities they are participating in are taking COVID-safe measures. In fact, according to the study “Beyond COVD-19: the Road to Recovery for the Travel Industry” published by Tripadvisor, 84% of consumers say cleanliness or sanitization certificates are important when booking a travel experience, and 79% say it’s important to publicly display compliance to government safety standards. 

How to add health and safety information in the Management Center:

  • Log into the Management Center
  • Click on the “Products” tab
  • Select “Manage” next to the product you want to update
  • Under the Product content tab, scroll down to the section entitled “COVID-19 health and safety measures”
  • Click “Edit”
  • Select measures from the checklist that apply to your experience
  • Click “Save”

 

Optional: Under the checkbox, you’ll find a free-text box. Here you can include any other measures that are being taken. In case you complete this information in a non-English language, the text inputted will be translated into English for travelers.

Once you have filled in this information, a section will appear at the top of your product page on Viator to highlight the additional health and safety measures you are taking. Please note that it might take up to 48 hours for any changes to reflect on Viator. See example below:

If you have already added the COVID-19 health and safety measures in the Management Center some time ago, make sure they are up to date and are a true reflection of the current Government guidelines in your destination.  

Why is it important to fill this information in?

Not only will filling in the COVID-19 health and safety measures in the Management Center give travelers the confidence to book with you, you will also get more exposure on Viator, as we have added a new “Taking Safety Measures” filter in the search on Viator (see image below). This means that potential customers are able to filter their search on Viator to only show products taking additional safety measures. If you have completed this section in the Management Center and a potential customer chooses this filter, your products will appear in the results and you are thus increasing your chances of securing a booking.

 

2. Add images with your business’s COVID-safe measures

Photos give travelers a good impression of what they can experience on your tour and they are your chance to tell your story. So do not shy away from adding images showing additional safety measures in place such as people wearing face masks, or a group with social distancing, as seeing that you take safety seriously, will instill confidence in travelers to book with you. Click here for an instructional video on how to add photos. 

3. Update your product’s availability

Once you are ready to receive bookings again, update your products’ availability. Make sure to have a wide range of availability open to attract any potential bookings, both last-minute and also further out. Ideally you want to provide availability for your tour at least 6 months in advance.

How to update availability for operators:

  • Log into the Management Center
  • Click on the “Products” tab
  • Select “Manage” next to the product you want to update
  • Click on the “Schedules & Prices” tab
  • Add your availability

Products that are enabled on the Viator API will have their booking availability updated automatically from your reservation system in real time. The actual availability bands/ranges however still need to be added manually to your product in the Management Center.  

4. Provide a private or small-group tour option

Once travel resumes, travelers are likely to feel more confident traveling in smaller or in private groups, and therefore it’s a good idea to adapt your experience accordingly.

If the tour in principle stays the same (same itinerary, content), then there is no need to create a new product as you might want to take advantage of the reviews and ratings already collected on the core experience. Instead, you might want to create tour options: 

How to add a private group option and/or a small-group option for 8 or less travelers: 

  • Log into the Management Center
  • Click on the “Products” tab
  • Select “Manage” next to the product you want to update
  • Under “Schedules & prices”, click “Add another option”
  • Name the option, for example: Small-group tour (please note that this will be visible to customers, so do not use any company internal references such as tour option codes)
  • Under Product option details, select “Class of service”
  •  Click “Next” and follow the steps entering dates, rates and days of the week this option is available for
  •  Click “Save”

Tip: Update your title by adding “XXXX with small-group/private option/upgrade”. Also update the section: “What makes this tour unique” and add in the description that the tour is also available for small-groups and/or private groups. This section is important as it is usually one of the first things travelers read about your experience and incentivizes them to read on. It allows your product to stand out, and it gives travelers an idea of what to expect from your experience.

5. Rethink your pricing

If your product has now become a small-group tour then it might be worth rethinking your pricing. As travelers are experiencing your tour in a more exclusive way, they might be willing to pay more for this premium experience.

6. Consider adding a non-English tour option

In 2020, a lot of travelers had to switch their vacation plans from a trip abroad to a vacation closer to home. In 2021, domestic travel will remain high in popularity; of those planning on traveling in 2021, 64% plan to take 2+ domestic trips

So, if you are an operator in a non-English market that previously solely catered to international travelers, it might be worth considering taking steps to attract the domestic market. One of these is to add tour options in your local language. 

How to add language options to your products in the Management Center:

  • Log into the Management Center
  • Click on the “Products” tab
  • Select “Manage” next to the product you want to update
  •  Under “Product Content” scroll down to “Guides and languages” and add all the language options you offer

This is sufficient if you offer the same tour with same departure times in different languages (for example: you offer a coach tour of Berlin at 9am in English, German and Italian)

If your experience has however different departure times and days for respective languages (as in image shown below), then continue to set up tour options following the steps below. 

  • Under “Schedules & prices”, click “Add another option”
  • Name the option
  •  Unselect the button “This option is offered in all languages” and select the languages this option is offered in
  • Under Product option details, select “Other”
  • Click “Next” and follow the steps entering dates, rates and days of the week this option is available for
  • Click “Save”

COVID-19 Resource Page

Visit our continually updating COVID-19 resource page for:

  • More information on our efforts to support you
  • Links to industry news
  • Ways to prepare today for tomorrow

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