Keeping valued visitors and suppliers informed on the impact of the bushfires and natural disasters and providing options available to them that will help aid recovery.
Quick Tip: Process cancellations and rebooking
• Refer to your cancellation policy and make a list of cancelled guests that you will need to update regarding refunds or rebooking. Online booking software can help you to easily access and make changes to bookings.
• Reach out to your booked guests and provide up-to-date details about their trip, and any changes – including cancellations or rebooking – that may apply. Thank them for their support and reiterate that you look forward to welcoming them when you are able.
• Advise your distribution partners, including inbound tour operators (ITOs) and online travel agents (OTAs), of any changes to future bookings and how you will manage their guests. Keep the lines of communications open.
Online booking software can help you to easily access and make changes to bookings
Quick Tip: Adapt visitor experiences to support disaster recovery
Visitors may want to ‘give back’ to support both businesses and the environment following a bushfire or natural disaster.
• You may consider developing recovery-focused experiences following these events, such as land rehabilitation or native tree planting on your property or preparing support packs for local wildlife organisations or impacted communities. This not only supports community recovery but it also provides you with potential additional revenue and news to share with prospective visitors, media and distribution partners.
• Ensure that any new visitor experiences and products have appropriate licenses and permits to operate and are covered by your Public Liability Insurance. For more information, refer to the NSW First Guide: Develop your Tourism Business.
Quick Tip: Share any changes to your site or operations
• Update your employees and suppliers – reach out to let them know how and when you will resume your working relationships.
• Update your local tourism manager and Accredited Visitor Information Centre – they can field visitor enquiries and help provide accurate and up-to-date information.
• Update your distribution partners – reach out to let them know you are open and operating and provide details of any temporary or permanent changes to your experiences.
Quick Tip: Update your online presence with any changes to your product offering or availability
• Update your online reservation software with booking availability and product changes.
• Update your online business listings, including:
» Meet in Regional NSW conference venue or supplier listing.
» Google My Business – Drive Customer Engagement on Google.
» TripAdvisor: claim and/or update your free listing.
For more information on OTAs, refer to the NSW First Guide: Sell Your Bookable Products Online.
• Tips for updating your online listings
» Update copy and product details with any changes to your offering.
» Remove any images that depict areas that were damaged, to ensure you manage visitor expectations.
» Download destination footage and images from the Destination NSW Content Library.
Quick Tip: Communicate with your visitors customers
• When you are ready to reach out to your visitor database to update them on your business following the bushfire or natural disaster:
» Thank them for their past visits.
» Share current and positive images.
» Advise of any changed or new experiences on offer.
» Encourage them to book with you again.
Quick Tip: Post positively on social media after a bushfire or natural disaster
• Perception is powerful. Images of bushfire or flood impacts can create the perception of damage that outlasts the initial impact.
» If your property or region is not heavily impacted, posting images of this helps to provide real-time information for potential visitors and distribution partners concerned about damage.
» If your business has been damaged, try to post positive images of the recovery and regeneration after the fires or natural disaster.
• Support your destination by engaging with other visitor economy business posts, using your local destination hashtags.
• Use the hashtags #FeelNSW and #NewSouthWales, mention @VisitNSW on your posts and engage with Destination NSW posts.
Quick Tip: Financial and legal assistance
• It is important that you contact your bank or financial institution, your accountant, your insurance provider and, if necessary, seek independent legal advice early to assess the impacts, discuss options and determine the practical steps needed to manage the impacts on your business.
• The NSW Small Business Commissioner provides advice on making an insurance claim and helping you through the process so that you get your claim paid quickly and smoothly after a disaster or disruption. Visit the Insurance Claims for Small Business Guide.
• Get Back to Business – a guide to recovering from disaster
This Quick Tips guide has been produced by Destination NSW in collaboration with Rural Fire Service (RFS).