The situation

The Pandemic, without a doubt, is the most devastating experience of our generation. It has made us change our ways drastically, and it’s still not over, but the governments worldwide have no choice but to relax the lock down due to the disastrous economy. So now the responsibility has shifted from the Governments to the general public.

“Commercial road transport, both passenger and goods, has been severely impacted by COVID-19 due to transport restrictions put in place to mitigate the pandemic and the overall economic downturn.

More than 3.5 million road transport operators, represented by IRU and its members on five continents, are bearing an increasingly severe financial burden, with worrying signs for the future of these firms and the economies they serve.

This report updates IRU’s June report on the impact of COVID-19, with revenue forecasts, default and insolvency indicators, and government financial support assessments.“

  • Published on: 04/01/2021
  • Author: IRU
  • Type of document: Reports & publications
  • Region: Global

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The Way Forward

The transportation companies, from Airlines to shuttle must regulate and follow stringent SOP until the threat is entirely over. Which leads us to the painful marketing questions like whether to market your business or not? Advertise or not to advertise? How much is enough? And how much will be too much?. These questions are critical to any business and can vary from industry to industry. Thanks to the evolved marketing strategies amid Covid-19, every business can take some typical marketing steps, especially transportation.

Although, there is a lot that can be said in the area of pandemic marketing strategies, and certainly not a topic of one blog but let’s try to cover the most talked about strategies during the pandemic.

1- Increase your online presence.

The world has witnessed how big tech companies to small businesses have started working from home during the lockdown and a massive change in the working environment. After the ease in the lockdown, we are facing the 2nd waive. Taking advantage of the 1st waive experience, we can do a lot of preparation. Transportation businesses should remove all ticket counter types and become cashless using payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe. Move everything online, a.s.a.p., the companies who are still waiting and speculating are missing a period with an increase in social media interaction; it’s time to move with the current marketing scenario’s needs.

Photo Credit Social media has an endless set of audience. Use it to talk to your target audience, educate them and offer them every piece of information they need online about traveling/transportation. This change will not be easy but at least the Pandemic has forced you to explore this new domain, which you have been thinking of starting for a long time.

Remember to review your Facebook analytics to rerun the posts that were high in engagement, because creating content that receives the best response is not easy. Make full use of your social media archives. Share your achievements, new partnerships and certifications to give your page and subtle sales approach. Avoid aggressive sales on social media, attract to add value through education, consideration and humor. Photo Credit If you are already on social media, increase your presence and share content that revolves around the customer more than yourself. Marketing has changed; no one likes to see a company selling all the time so give your follower something that adds value in their daily lives.

Don’t let the Pandemic stop the education; it is the best time to do some online courses. The chauffeurs to the manager should be encouraged to spend time doing something online to upgrade their skill sets.

Post on social media regularly and smartly. Explore YouTube, Twitter, and other mediums to maximize your reach. Use the famous social media metric 5:3:2. This helps you plan your social media calendar like never before. Photo Credit “It has nothing to do with football rules (or soccer, depending on your part of the world). With regards to social sharing, it’s all about getting the right balance, so think of it as for every ten posts:

  1. 5 should be content from other sources that are relevant to your audience, otherwise known as curation.
  2. 3 should be content you’ve created that’s relevant to your audience or creation.
  3. 2 should be personal, fun content that humanizes your brand to your audience, referred to as humanization“

After applying the metric, spend a lot of time strategizing to add value for the existing customer.

Strive to maintain your existing customers because it’s getting tough to retain the loyalty; transportation companies like limousine, shuttle, and taxi know that their industry is the most affected right now. So value your clients, especially corporate customers. They will prove to be the savior of your business in the situation we are facing. Remind them you are here with an Email, social media post, OR a one on one phone call.

2- Introduce deals and offers

Plan to start discount offers, come up with unique offers to attract customers. Create packages, subscription plans to survive. Don’t forget the Pandemic has caused many companies to take a back; grab this opportunity to fill in that space; you will be surprised with the response.

Create coupons and offers limited to online platforms like your website, blog and social media. It will give you an edge over the competition who are still not active virtually.

Photo Credit “Easy way how to redeem the discount for shuttle service Step 1: Visit SuperShuttle’s website Step 2: Enter into the Discount Code field: V77NK Step 3: Book your shuttle and receive the discount”

The expectation to keep your prices the same is a dream everyone is after, so don’t be unrealistic. Remember there is a lot of space and a spike in the new ideas, be creative with your offers. Disrupt the market by introducing bold ideas; this is the best time to experiment. There is a lot of space for the new entrants in the transportation business; with many big names taking a plunge, there is a lot of potential for the new players. They practically have nothing to lose; this the best time to research and cover the space created by the Pandemic.

Photo Credit “Save with AAA

If you’re a member of AAA, you can get a special SuperShuttle discount code good for 10% off every ride that you take to the airport. To redeem your discount, all you have to do is enter your AAA member number when checking out. Your discounted rate will be applied to your booking automatically.“

3- Upgrade your communication strategy

The change should come in every department of a transportation company to survive this difficult time. This could mean revisiting your social media calendar and increasing the digital marketing efforts.

Take communication as the highest priority, make it simple, keep the communication flowing and straight forward, engage with your customers regularly. Plan at least three different times in a day to check your social media inbox and comments, reply efficiently. Look for feedback on how you can improve? value the feedback from your customers, take them into account, and improve.

Photo Credit Add some blogs with useful information to educate customers on the current situation, clearing their confusion and traveling fears. Let them know you are doing everything to ensure their safety. Go in detail to explain the operations behind your efforts and create a bond through your content. Be considerate to show them that you are in this with them. Tell them you will be their best traveling partner because you understand their situation and need to take a significant risk to travel to earn a living or trying to enjoy the small things around them.

Photo Credit Communicate with the help of emails, create useful surveys to understand your post-covid-19 customers. Post Facebook and LinkedIn surveys and ask your audience what you can do to remove their doubts about traveling. Create surveys that are easy to understand and touch the relevant points of the current situation. Give them some liberty to write their thoughts/ideas with open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions. Use them in your Blogs, Emails, and Social media. Don’t forget to spend a little money on ads/boost to get more people to participate in your survey.

Make a separate communication plan for the corporate customers. It would help if you start with a subscription type model that generates a stable income.

At the end, we know these are unprecedented times. Everyone is looking to make the ends meet. For the first time we have realized that human beings face the same problem. Working together and following the new rules seems to be the only way to co-exist and make the best of these challenging times.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin