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Trend Alert: Top Activities for 2021

Our Booking Data Reveals Next Year’s Most Popular Activity Types

The events of 2020 provided a sharp reminder that nothing is guaranteed. With distant adventures out of the question, we turned closer to home and found a renewed appreciation for the experiences waiting just outside our doors. While we have become experts at seeking out activities that are safe enough for our enjoyment right now, we still can’t resist looking ahead.

So, we asked ourselves: What types of activities will we seek out in the new year?

To answer this question, we consulted FareHarbor’s own booking data to gain deeper insight into the top activities for 2021. From summer to winter, oceans to mountains, leisurely to adventurous — these are the activities we will see trending throughout the new year:

1. All About Experiences: Exhibits & Attractions

Local attractions like aquariums, museums, and zoos provide a delightful combination of entertainment and education, while new measures such as reduced capacity and strict sanitation policies provide peace of mind for guests. Before COVID-19, attraction bookings already accounted for roughly half of all bookings seen across the tour, activity, and attractions industry. With the added help of creative adaptations like drive-through experiences and timed entry, attractions operators have proven they’ll continue to innovate to ensure you and your family can share new experiences together.

2. Just Add H2O: Boat & Water Activities

Few activities spell “adventure” quite like the open water. The natural lack of crowds makes most water activities an easy way for you to get out there while staying safe. By operating in small groups and private charters, boat tours gain a significant advantage in keeping up with the latest safety guidelines. Many travelers plan to spend time fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, and snorkeling in 2021, especially as temperatures start to warm up in the spring and summer. Experiences on the water are popular all across the United States’ coasts, major lakes, and throughout Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and Australia.

3. The Chill Factor: Snow-Powered Excursions

Winter is always the perfect time to escape to the mountains or enjoy a wonderland of fresh snow, and 2021 will be no different. Experiences like snowmobiling, dog sledding, and skiing will prove that snow-powered and socially-distanced easily go hand-in-hand. With measures like limited group sizes and plenty of space to spread out, many winter activities are ready to adapt to keep travelers safe. We anticipate the steady popularity of dog sledding tours in Alaska, snowmobile tours in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, and ski adventures in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and Minnesota to continue to increase this year.

4. Sights, Camera, Action: Outdoor Adventures

With the proven health benefits that being outside can bring, it’s no surprise that the demand for all things outdoors will only gain more traction in 2021. Adventure activities like hiking, horseback riding, ziplining, and ATV adventures are most popular in locations like Utah, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Arizona, and British Columbia. But you don’t have to travel far or live in close proximity to a national park to get outside! Sightseeing tours will continue to be enjoyed through many modes of transportation, from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle to a stroll or roll on your own. We will see the continued shift in 2021 toward private and self-guided sightseeing tours, allowing you to discover new destinations and cultures on your own terms, with the help of pre-planned routes and expert tips, of course! With 97% of people learning more about local businesses online than anywhere else, you might even be surprised at how many adventure and sightseeing activities are available “near you!”

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen that resilience is directly tied to success and that the most adaptable operators have been the most successful. Through solutions like private tours, drive-through experiences, and adherence to health and safety guidelines, tour and activity operators continue to find creative methods to provide the experiences travelers are looking for while keeping them safe. In 2021, this will be more important than ever as people start to plan their future adventures.

For more resources on how to market your offerings during this time, check out FareHarbor Compass.

Shared Experiences Ignite Progress at FareHarbor Spark: Our Top 3 Takeaways

On October 19 and 20, 2020, over 800 tour, activity, and attraction professionals embraced the opportunity to revitalize the tourism industry at FareHarbor Spark. The fully-virtual event united diverse perspectives from more than 30 countries around the world, encouraging attendees to challenge one another to find sustainable solutions to adapt to the year’s unprecedented challenges and reimagine a more inclusive future for our industry.

Attendees were eager to come together to explore new ideas from industry thought leaders, connect through shared experiences with peers, and ignite the spark to rebuild our industry at FareHarbor’s third-annual conference. Check out our top takeaways from this immersive two-day event!

1. Demand for local, “COVID-safe” activities is here to stay.

Though we may not be able to venture far from home during these times of uncertainty, the basic human desire to seek out new experiences persists. As a result of COVID-19, our definition of exploring has shifted from flying to a far-off destination to packing up the car and taking a closer look at our local surroundings.

Eight out of ten bookings processed in July, August, and September were for locals — people that live within 250 miles of the activity they booked. This was a huge increase, almost double what we saw in 2019.

— Ted Clements, COO, FareHarbor

In his Industry Insights session, Clements explained that this snapshot of local demand only paints half the picture. The remainder is driven by an activity’s perceived safety level as consumers seek out activities they feel comfortable engaging in during this pandemic. In fact, demand for local and perceived “COVID-safe” activities is up 95% year over year, and we don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon. 

Knowing that the appeal of local, safe activities will remain strong in 2021, it’s important to ask yourself, “how can I appeal to my safety-conscious neighbors?” As a business owner, remember that you are also a consumer. By putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, you can better understand how to appeal to their needs during this time.

Confidence converts! FareHarbor makes it easy to support the demand for“COVID-safe” activities by adding clear communication of your health & safety policies throughout the booking process.

2. Resilience is directly tied to success.

This year’s challenges have pushed the boundaries of our adaptability, both as individuals and as an industry. From turning your kitchen table into an office and celebrating life’s milestones over video calls, to implementing contactless technology and redefining your company’s training procedures, we’ve all had to adjust to extraordinary new challenges.

Of the operators surveyed at Spark, 68% said they’ve become more flexible as a result of COVID-19, and we hope this trend continues. During these unprecedented times, businesses that have been able to adapt most efficiently have seen the most success. Whether it’s shifting your schedule to offer more private options or redesigning your offerings to be more flexible, your ability to adapt may be your greatest defense against future bumps in the road.

It comes down to the willingness to try new things and the ability to take new concepts, new ideas and get them into the marketplace at scale… When I think of thought leaders and pioneers in the industry, I think of FareHarbor and the [operators] that use FareHarbor.

— David King, Senior Director of Global Account Management & Sales, Viator

When crafting your own adaptation strategy, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your business, your customers, and solutions that will allow you to keep up with the changing times while staying true to your mission and identity. After all, the collective strength of our industry lies in the unique nature of our individual businesses.

Learn how to adapt to any circumstance! Check out FareHarbor Compass, our extensive, free resource library available exclusively to FareHarbor users for insightful strategies on the most important challenges facing your business today.

3. Profit and principle are not mutually exclusive.

It’s no coincidence that two of our highest attended sessions at Spark tackled the pressing social topics of diversity and inclusion and sustainability. In a thought-provoking roundtable discussion, industry leaders from Booking.com, Black Travel Alliance, and Invisible Cities explored accessible approaches to creating a more inclusive industry, while publishing powerhouse and sustainability pioneer, Lonely Planet, encouraged us to consider how even the smallest actions can help reduce the travel industry’s environmental impact.

As an industry, we must hold ourselves accountable for the wellbeing of the diverse communities, cultures, and environments that inspire us to travel. At Spark, we aimed to provide actionable resources for attendees to better themselves, their businesses, and the lives of those who depend on them (and yes, we believe that you can accomplish each goal without sacrificing the other)!

The benefits of creating a more open, accepting, and environmentally-responsible industry speak for themselves, but your bottom line can benefit from embracing diversity and protecting our planet at the same time. By creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees and potential customers, you can tap into entirely new or previously undeserved market segments. Your commitment to sustainability ensures that future generations have the opportunity to experience the natural wonders of our planet and appeals to the increasingly environmentally-conscious consumer.

Start small. It can start with a conversation within your organization.

– Zakia Moulaoui, CEO, Invisible Cities

If you’re not sure where to begin, simply opening up a dialogue within your business can be a great first step. Now is the time to take a step back and reevaluate your approach to inclusivity and sustainability, knowing that even the smallest changes help to improve our industry and lead to a more prosperous travel industry for all.

Looking Forward

Although we were not able to gather in person this year, we learned that Spark’s shift to virtual was a major opportunity to connect with and empower an even larger, more diverse audience than ever before. We were reminded that our desire to connect has not been dampened by an inability to meet face-to-face, and that tour, activity, and attraction businesses are more resilient and eager than ever to build a brighter future for the industry we share.

FareHarbor Spark may be over, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to better ourselves, our businesses, and our industry has passed us by. We believe that every one of us has a role to play in revitalizing tourism and that together, we can turn challenges into opportunities.

Ignite your Spark!
All sessions are available on-demand through the Spark Platform through November 30, and will later be made available on FareHarbor Compass.

FareHarbor Expands Its Services to Six More European Countries

FareHarbor Supports Tourism in Europe with Continued Expansion

We are excited to announce our continued expansion within Europe by extending our services to clients in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, and Romania.

FareHarbor began its rollout into Europe in 2018, and in the years since we have been committed to growth in the region, worked with our clients to grow their businesses, and boosted the tourism industry. Europe is home to many of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting everyone from the luxury traveler to the backpacker looking to explore off the beaten path. 

Tourism plays a major role in Europe’s economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the tourism industry all over the world, and this is why it’s more important than ever to help our clients succeed. FareHarbor has worked tirelessly to help businesses mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic by finding new sources of revenue and thinking creatively about what they can provide to their communities. 

Through our expansion into these six new countries, we will work with local businesses to reach a wider global audience and streamline the online booking process for their customers.

To learn more about how to get started with FareHarbor, please contact our team or reach out to our support team at +31 30 249 2017.

How FareHarbor Spark Can Help Revitalize Tourism

For many reasons, 2020 has become a year that no one will forget. We saw the rise of new social conventions and the decline of major industries around the world, all while only leaving home when absolutely necessary.

Naturally, all these changes have made us reflect on the past few months and try to create a road map for the future. It is for these very reasons that we decided to turn our annual conference into a virtual gathering and introduce FareHarbor Spark. Our goal at FareHarbor Spark is to help reimagine and revitalize the tourism industry together by tackling the most pressing topics facing tour, activity, and attraction businesses. 

We want to challenge ourselves and all our attendees to think bigger, work smarter, and share our collective knowledge to help us lift up the industry together. FareHarbor Spark will offer two full days of immersive discussions and workshops focused on topics such as: 

  • Building a resilient business 
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion in the tourism industry
  • Data-driven decision making 
  • The outlook for tourism tech  

We won’t just discuss progress; we’ll provide you with the tools to make it a reality. Read on to learn more about what you can expect from FareHarbor Spark. 

Building a Resilient Business

The concept of resilience will be a common theme throughout the two-day Spark program. Resilience is best defined as the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Historically, the tourism, activity, and attraction industry has faced adversity in the form of natural disasters, social and political unrest, economic crises, and more. 

As we look ahead to the future of our industry, we will discuss the building blocks you need to establish a resilient business strategy. Whether it’s through streamlining operations, exploring and expanding revenue channels, or developing contingency plans, our goal is to empower your business to turn these roadblocks into opportunities. 

Promoting Diversity & Inclusion

Travel and tourism wouldn’t exist without the desire to learn about other places, cultures, and people. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our industry. During FareHarbor Spark, we will address what inclusivity means to us as tour, activity, and attraction operators and provide our industry with the tools to actively promote inclusivity. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism’s rebound may depend on the industry’s ability to serve everyone, with safety and accessibility at the forefront. Catering to every community and being inclusive of communities of color is both a moral imperative and a key to economic success.

Data-Driven Decision Making

This year has required businesses to make tough decisions. Given the unprecedented landscape that we’ve all been facing, it may have been more challenging than ever to determine the best course of action for any business decision. That is why we are encouraging businesses to adopt a data-driven approach to their decision making. 

We will guide you through several different real-life scenarios, teach you how to understand and analyze your data, and discuss what data points you should be considering to inform your operational and financial decisions. The goal is for you to feel more confident in your ability to make smarter decisions, become more proactive, and realize revenue-driven opportunities. 

The Outlook for Tourism Tech

Technological advancements have fundamentally changed the way we travel. This shift into the digital era has not only improved the way that tourists plan, book, and share their trips, but it can transform tours themselves. However, in a time when online behaviors have quickly changed to adapt to current circumstances, which technological advancements will leave their mark on the industry and which ones will become relics of the past? At FareHarbor Spark, we aim to provide insight into the current state of tourism technology and what trends we need to look out for in 2021. 

While there are many factors that will determine how an industry of this magnitude bounces back, we all have a role to play, and we know that together we can rebuild the travel and tourism industry to be stronger than ever. FareHarbor Spark is free to attend, and you can stream it from anywhere in the world on October 19 and 20. Registration is officially open, and you can sign up through our website. We’ll see you there!

Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at FareHarbor

A letter from FareHarbor CEO, Max Valverde

 

This is a letter I put out to the company today. While it was originally an internal message, I think it’s important that we share it publicly. I initially thought it might seem performative to publish as a blog post, but this is not about gaining praise or saying look what we are doing. This is my way of doubling down on the commitments to our employees and our clients that FareHarbor will do better. I feel that publishing it into the public domain will only be positive for the movement in helping to eradicate systemic racism. Here’s the letter:

 

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are well. I want everyone to take a few moments today to talk about diversity and inclusion at FareHarbor. While every minority group is equally important, I am writing to you today about systemic racism against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), why I think it’s an important topic, and what we’re doing about it at FareHarbor. The topic of racism might make you uncomfortable. You might wonder why a CEO is weighing in on something that might appear political. It’s because I don’t believe this should be considered political. It’s about the history of the world we live in, it’s about human rights, and doing what’s right.

I am an American and so will speak to you through that lens, but the message is wholly global and applies to you, no matter where you are. Today is Juneteenth, the day that the last enslaved people were freed in the USA (June 19, 1865). This was a first step in the progression of racial progress in the USA. For over 100 years, progress has crept along for Black people and People of Color; from obtaining the right to vote to the civil rights movement. Before every major event, I would guess that at every stage along the way, white society thought “enough progress had been made.”until the next major event, or major change happened and opened their eyes and changed public opinion. As they look back years later, white society can’t believe they didn’t see it all along. Sometimes a jarring event is what causes progress to leap forward. The Black Community has been talking about systemic racism for a long time, but the murder of George Floyd finally got the attention of the world. The heinous act caused the entire world to look inward.

While I am the son of a Chinese and Indiginous South American father, I identify primarily as white. FareHarbor is a majority white company. As a white CEO and in a primarily white company, we need to first understand what our BIPOC employees have lived with since birth. While the topics we’ll explore as a company in the coming year and beyond might be new to some of us, many of our colleagues who are Black or People of Color have been living this every day of their lives. I have done a lot of self-reflection in the past few weeks. I have spoken to many friends, coworkers, and neighbors about the topic of systemic racism. I used to think I was doing my part because I was vehemently against overt racism and hate speech. After doing more research, and speaking with some of our Black employees, I became even more aware of systemic racism and implicit bias. For example, without proper training, we might hire someone because they are a good “culture fit” or act like/talk like the current FareHarbor employees. In this example we could unintentionally recruit a less diverse team without being overtly discriminatory.

When you joined FareHarbor, we offered you a job at a company with a fun and safe work environment where everyone was welcome. This is good, but not enough. The current climate has helped us look deeper inward to make sure we take steps to ensure we are moving the company, and in part the world, in the right direction. Here are a few things we’ve done, or plan to do, to participate in moving in that direction:

  • It is not okay to engage in behavior that is a part of the problem. First and foremost, we need to make sure everyone is educated/aware of their own unconscious bias, and are comfortable discussing these topics with colleagues and the People Team. Earlier this year, we created a mandatory unconscious bias training for all employees, which is on-track to be completed by the end of Q3.  I also want to continue to foster an environment where people are welcome to speak-up on social matters of societal progress if they so choose.
  • We also need to look deeper into our own diversity. We are working with our People Team on implementing methods to attract and hire a more diverse workforce. We commit to establishing more training for all our employees who participate in interviews to ensure we are not biased during interviews. As part of our work with recruiting and in addition to training, we will be exploring strategies to bolster our processes. For example, data shows that removing the name of a candidate during the candidate screening process can help to counteract name bias and lead to fairer outcomes for some candidates.
  • As a majority white team, we have a responsibility to listen, learn and support our non-white colleagues and minority groups. Creating space for dialogue plays an important role in this; diversity of people and diversity of thought are how new ideas are born. I want to ensure we’re listening, learning, and creating an inclusive space. As such, we’ve reinvigorated an inclusion-focused Slack channel to encourage the discussion of topics related to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. This is one step, but conversations of inclusion and equality should be taking place outside of Slack, too.
  • We can amplify more voices and highlight more diverse backgrounds within our client-base. Our clients have great stories to tell and we can do more to echo these voices. Our Marketing Team is currently exploring the best ways to support our diverse clients.
  • Fairness is an equalizer, and in 2019 we implemented a fair pay strategy to eliminate any potential bias for new and existing employees. We used a third party to create a data-driven process about roles, levels, and pay for all employees.
  • Racism, harassment and discrimination have no place at FareHarbor. Period. This includes harassment towards employees by a colleague, current client, potential client, vendor, or third party. To clarify this, we’ve published more detailed internal guidelines around companies we will not work with, and encourage all employees to report any incidents of harassment.
  • A Diversity and Inclusion Council is being piloted in our Needham office. It was formed with the purpose of improving diversity and inclusion in that office, both in terms of hiring and ensuring that all employees feel they have a sense of belonging and inclusion at work. They started earlier this year by providing guided talks on recognizing privilege as a way to promote inclusivity. They are now focused on creating learning tools for further expanding racial awareness as well as highlighting ways in which all employees can be involved creating a more equitable world. FareHarbor’s leadership has also been working with the Council as a sounding board around topics of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. As this pilot program comes into further focus, the goal is to implement a global group of employees who work with us on diversity, inclusion, and belonging so that the work this pilot program is doing can reach our other offices around the globe.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. I am taking steps to ensure this will not be forgotten in a month. And these are not the only steps we will take as an organization. This is a commitment that we will continue to make strides for FareHarbor that ensures strong diversity, inclusion, and belonging at FareHarbor.

Best Regards,

Max Valverde
CEO

FareHarbor Stories of Creativity, Innovation, and Resilience

To showcase the creativity and resiliency of our industry, we looked to our FareHarbor Ohana to find businesses that are adapting and providing fresh perspectives for coping with the current pandemic. We’ll continue to update this inspirational list with companies that are paving the way with their innovative thinking. If your business has something to share, be sure to let us know!

Badge Criteria

Re-imagining services as virtual or online experiences
Demonstrating unique ways to connect with local customers
Leveraging social media to increase engagement opportunities

The Rustic Brush Gives Us a Fresh Canvas (And Perspective)

For a company that provides a social crafting experience during a time of social distancing, Tanya and the team at The Rustic Brush had to use their creativity in a different way. In order to keep customers and families engaged at home, they created take-home DIY kits containing all the necessary tools to unleash your inner artist. In addition, being a family of first responders, The Rustic Brush partnered with the Houston Food Bank to launch the Thank a Hero and Feed a Family Project through which $5 of every purchase goes to the Food Bank to help feed families at this time.

All Things Garmisch Offers A Crisp & Refreshing Bavarian Experience

At the onset of booking and changes cancellations, Jake at All Things Garmisch & Bavarian Beer Vacations went straight to Facebook Live to communicate with his customers and potential buyers quickly. After receiving a positive response from his outreach, Jake took his history of beer and natural story-telling ability online by providing brief history lessons through his social media which eventually turned into Virtual Tours. It was at one of these Virtual Tours that sparked Jake’s next idea to keep customers engaged. To cater to the beer lovers and aficionados around the world, he began connecting with the local breweries to curate weekly care packages from the unique Bavarian breweries in the area to give you truly a unique and refreshing experience.

Casanova Tours Creates Virtual Tours You Can Taste

As a local, family-owned and operated business, Giuseppe and the Casanova Tour team acted quickly to cater their tour offerings to a global audience. The solution: create an immersive experience that allows you to enjoy Venice’s beautiful culture and cuisine from the comfort of your own home. Casanova Tours offers live cooking classes that provide customers with the proper ingredients and then connects them with local chefs to make some of Italy’s most renowned dishes. The result: a unique and delicious experience that gives you a true taste of Venice.

Unlimited Biking Launches #RideItOut

We spoke to Annie Zou, Director of Sales at Unlimited Biking, about their refreshing approach to adapting their business model to support their local communities. As the largest, premier bike rental tours and experiences company in the US, Unlimited Biking found themselves with extra rental inventory on- hand amidst recent stay-at-home orders. At first, they began by giving their employees access to the bikes to help them avoid public transportation and provide an additional means of exercise. This idea quickly evolved to what is now the #RideItOut program, which allows customers to take advantage of long-term bike rentals at a discounted rate based on the local metro and subway fares in each city. The decision to pivot their business became a big hit with residents in their communities and Unlimited Biking has stated they plan to continue to program long-term.

Underground Donut Tours Supports First Responders

Jeff Woelker found a creative way to combine two of his favorite things: good donuts and a good cause. While the majority of us find ourselves in a state of self-quarantine and remote work, Woelker wanted to create awareness and build support for the first responders and individuals on the frontlines. Fueled by his passion (and consumption) of donuts, Woelker created the #DonutsForHeroes campaign, which allows you to send donuts from your local shop to another essential business. His campaign enables communities to support local donut shops while also expressing gratitude for the self-sacrifice of others. You can get involved by visiting https://www.donutsforheroes.com/

Lyon Wine Tastings Goes Virtual

Who doesn’t enjoy a good Wine Wednesday? As signs of quarantine and social distancing hinted that this could be the new norm, we spoke to Caroline Conner of Lyon Wine Tastings, who transformed her intimate, local wine tastings into  online experiences. By offering free, virtual BYOB wine tastings, Conner can continue to share her passion and knowledge of wine by educating participants on wine tasting techniques, while also creating a platform that fosters interaction and engagement at a time when it’s needed the most. Her ability to quickly adapt to the changing times created social buzz that earned Conner a spotlight in the New York Times.

FareHarbor Partners with Lendio for Small Business Loans

The recent passage of the CARES Act has resulted in a number of new initiatives to help Americans navigate the economic challenges faced by small businesses due to the  COVID-19 pandemic. To streamline the loan application process for clients, FareHarbor has teamed up with Lendio, America’s largest small business loan marketplace.

Lendio allows business owners to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a piece of the new CARES Act,  and connects them to a network of lenders to secure their loan.  In addition, Lendio has a team of trained Funding Managers that work with clients to understand their business needs and navigate the loan application process. For these reasons and more, FareHarbor has identified Lendio as a great option if you are looking for the right lender. 

If you are still working to find a loan for your business, please visit the FareHarbor partner page on Lendio’s website to begin your application! We look forward to our continued partnership and making a strong network of lenders available to our clients.

FareHarbor Recommended Resources to Follow

Supporting you throughout this time comes in many forms. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is ensuring that our Customer Support teams are always available, 24/7, to assist with any Dashboard or business inquiries. This also means sharing tips, resources, and updates that allow you to be better informed and prepared.

For your convenience, we have been adding to our Help Center and Compass libraries, new resources that you can follow along for updates. In addition, we will continually update this page with relevant information including FareHarbor tips and best practices, industry insights, and useful examples from our fellow tour and activity operators.

Financial Resources 

  • Our Guide to Small Business Loans: If you’re planning on applying for a small business loan but not sure where to begin, this guide will provide an overview of common small business loans (Americas). Please visit our Help Center to learn more about specific loan details available in your Region (Americas & Global), State or City. 
  • SBA Disaster assistance: The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Small Business Relief Tracker: In an effort to help business owners & tour operators find financial relief, here is a running list of all of the government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations that are extending support.

Business & Marketing Tips 

Industry Insights, Expertise, & News

  • Guidelines & Best Practices for Reopening: provided by the International Association of Amusement Parks  (IAAPA), this 30+ page guide covers sanitation, social distancing, capacity management and much more which can be applied to reopening your tours and activities.
  • Tourpreneur: Subscribe to Shane Whaley’s TourPreneur podcasts where he provides extensive coverage and actionable tips to better arm tour operators during this time. We recommend subscribing to both his email newsletter and to look for his latest podcast.
    • Whaley hosted this podcast with guest and industry veteran, Peter Syme, to discuss a battle plan to deal with the impact of the Coronavirus on our tour businesses. 
  • Arival: Our friends at Arival recently held a Town Hall discussion with leading tour and activity operators regarding the current landscape. If you were unable to attend, you can visit this page to access the key takeaways, download the findings from their recent survey, or watch the recorded version. 
  • Live Blogs: 
    • Skift’s Live Blog: Since January, Skift has been monitoring the COVID-19 impact on the travel and tourism industry. Their blog is regularly updated to reflect the latest news about coronavirus and its impact on hotels, airlines, cruise lines, tourism destinations, and other sectors of the travel industry.
    • PhocusWire’s Live Blog: PhocusWire’s live blog also includes their own extensive coverage and contains articles and commentary from their sister brands in the Northstar Travel Group (in meetings, retail travel and business travel), WebInTravel, and updates from reliable news outlets and official government/agency bulletins.

Sources for Inspiration

  • Virtual Tours: The growing need for social distancing has introduced the emergence of virtual tours! Both Forbes and Insider covered several tour companies and attractions that started offering virtual tours or seminars that customers can do in the comfort of their own homes.  
  • How We Can Help the Travel & Tourism industry: We all have a role to play, here is how we can help the Travel and  Tourism industry during this crisis. 
  • Connect with Facebook Groups: If there is one thing the last few weeks have shown us, it’s that we are a strongly-knit community. Whether you want to start a discussion or provide your own advice, there are several Facebook groups and forums available for you to connect with other tour operators such as Tour Operators United and Tour Activity Owners Worldwide.
  • Client Testimonials: In the coming weeks, we will spotlight several of our fellow tour operators who are adapting, innovating, and providing new perspectives during this time.
    • Caroline Conner, Lyon Wine Tasting: Adjusting to the recent norm of social distancing, Caroline has begun offering virtual happy hours to provide educational content and keep customers engaged. Best of all, it’s currently free to join! 

COVID-19: Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

As media coverage has increased over the course of the last few days, we’ve received several questions and inquiries about the status of FareHarbor and guidance on next steps. While we will continue to monitor the situation closely, our goal is to provide you with the most current information, as it relates to FareHarbor and address any questions you may have at this time.

Please note: this blog will continually be updated with the latest news and information

Q: Will there be any changes to FareHarbor’s support hours?

A: Our number one goal is to stand by your side through this unknown time. Our Support team will continue to be available 24/7 and FareHarbor will continue operating normal hours.

Q: Where is the best place to find information and resources?

A: If you aren’t already, follow our social media accounts for additional information. We’ll be posting about ways you can manage your Dashboard as well as resources to manage your business

There are also great Dashboard resources available through our Help Center as well as business strategy topics through FareHarbor Compass

Q: How are refunds processed to me and my customers?

A: Full refunds are free in FareHarbor. Any fees associated with the payment will be returned back to both you and the customer.

  • For partial refunds, FareHarbor will keep the booking fee and refund a portion of the credit card processing fee based on the amount being refunded.

Q: I issued a refund, how long does that take?

A: The amount of time it takes for your customers to see the refund on their card depends on their bank, as well as how the refund was issued.

  • Refunds from your FareHarbor Future Payouts balance or Refund Reserve are processed right away. In these cases, it will usually take customers 3 to 5 business days to see the refunded amount on their card.

  • Refunds funded from your bank account (available for US banks only) typically take 6 to 10 business days to appear on the customer’s card.

Q: What are my options instead of issuing a full refund?

A: You can easily offer your customer a gift card for the value of the original booking to use at any time in the future. To do this, all you need to do is locate the original booking and rebook the customer into your gift card Item. This will cancel the original booking and send them an email with a gift card for the value or their bookings.

Q: Can I issue a refund or rebook multiple bookings at the same time?

A: Rebookings, cancellations, and refunds will need to be done per each individual booking.

Q: Can I email all clients on the same availability at once?

Definitely! This is a great way to save time and notify all customers on an availability in one step. You can do this by navigating to your Bookings calendar and into the settings of the availability you want to email.

Q: Where can I find industry-related resources?

A: Right here! We’ll be keeping up with industry topics and updating links below:

  • Disaster Loan Assistance: Asking for help reveals strength, not weakness. Low-interest disaster loans for Businesses are being provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Find out more here!

> If you have any additional questions you would like us to answer, please submit them to support@fareharbor.com.

How to Adapt and Prepare for Travelers’ Coronavirus Concerns

You have undoubtedly been keeping up with the media coverage and articles surrounding the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is unclear exactly how much the travel and tourism industry will be affected, or how long this will continue, but it is clear that this industry is resilient and will bounce back stronger than ever. In the meantime, it’s important to consider how our industry can adapt to the current circumstances and prepare as much as possible. 

We want all of you to know that we stand alongside you every step of the way and, as always, remain committed to best-in-class service and support! Beyond your support system at FareHarbor, we’ve gathered the following tips to help your business and customers during this time. 

1. Encourage Local Tourism

Even though we’re seeing a decrease in international travel, you can still run your tours and activities by encouraging local tourism and incentivizing local customers to book with you. Reaching out to your community is a great way to keep operations up and running, especially since there is no travel needed for local guests to participate. 

Drive bookings by offering a discount to people who might be looking for local gems they haven’t discovered yet. Invest in your local marketing initiatives rather than those that aim to reach a broader audience to better allocate your resources. Consider taking out advertisements in area newspapers, posting on local online directories, or targeting specific areas with Facebook ads or other social media campaigns. You can even get creative and hang flyers in places like restaurants, bars, bus stations, and parks.

2. Get Ahead of Cancellations

There will inevitably be customers looking to cancel their reservations during this time. Make sure you are prepared to handle the influx and have a process in place. When possible, always try to offer a credit or rebooking over a refund. You can utilize gift cards as a form of credit that will allow customers to book whenever they want in the future, while you keep the revenue. 

Most importantly, when it comes to cancellations surrounding these extenuating circumstances, make sure to be understanding and flexible when working with customers. It hurts to lose out on reservations, but providing your customers with a positive experience makes it much more likely they will want to come back in the future.

3. Provide Clear Communication

Although it may seem best to reduce communication touchpoints at times like these,  it is important to continue providing clear communication with your existing and future customers. This can be in the form of emails to upcoming reservations explaining the status of your operations, or making sure your cancellation policies are clear and updated in all locations on your website and book form. 

You can also incorporate communication through your website, including announcement banners, informational pages with updates, and blog posts. Consider including things in your communication like the status of your activities, steps you are taking to ensure the safety of customers, as well as how you plan to handle future cancellations and rebookings. 

If you are a FareHarbor client, we strongly recommend adding a Health & Safety policy to your Dashboard. This will inform prospective guests about the steps you are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at your place of business.

4. Band Together

Collaborate with other local operators in your area who are likely going through the same situation you’re facing. When multiple operators in a particular region or industry work together, it can boost the entire region and the local economy  A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say! You can even support each other by signing up for the FareHarbor Distribution Network to easily resell local operators’ tours.

We hope these tips will help you prepare and adapt your business practices during this economically challenging time. Please remember that the health, wellness, and safety of your employees and customers should always be your top priorities. For further updates on the current coronavirus outbreak, please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization (WHO)  for the latest news. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at FareHarbor for additional support.