COVID-19, The Tourism Industry, Unique Holiday Rentals And Glamping Businesses

With the constantly changing COVID-19 situation around the world, it is clear that we are collectively facing one of our biggest challenges. A challenge that will result in many of us making changes to our way of life and the way our businesses operate.

The Covid-19 Challenge For The Tourism Industry

I have written many articles offering help and support to members of my community but every day they go out of date and need to be re-written.

That’s how fast this is moving.

What this virus has demonstrated is how connected we are, and I don’t just mean by the internet, but by movement across the world. This means the world is smaller and the risks of spread are larger.

The added challenge is that we are all at different points of understanding and experiencing this situation.

Some have had direct experience of it while others think the worldwide response is unnecessarily generating panic.

The Economic Impact And Planning For A Turnaround

What we simply can’t ignore is the economic impact as this will be just as important to prepare for.

The truth is that none of us has seen a global pandemic before. Some of us have gone through recessions and times of austerity, similar to those resulting from the 2008-09 financial crisis. However, not all of us understand the action needed to turnaround a business that has been impacted in such a way.

That's what I will be sharing over the coming weeks.

A Second Element To The Virus... Fear

The other factor is how guest behaviours are likely to change because of fear of the virus.

This is fuelled by many factors and be without doubt that over time this will impact your business even if the actual virus does not.

There have been more deadly viruses but we haven’t experienced anything that has spread this quickly across the world in our lifetime.

The added concern is this is an unknown virus. We don’t know how it will behave, we have no immunity to it, currently, there's no treatment and no vaccine.

This is an unprecedented time for everyone, a time that, for many, is filled with uncertainty.

The Need For Resilience And Support

There is no doubt we will need to be resilient, flexible and to adapt to our industry as it changes.

As an industry, we are strong and although this is a challenging time, we know that a thoughtful gesture, true compassion and staying in contact can go a long way towards keeping spirits high.

This is why I am encouraging members of my glamping business and unique holiday rental group to continue to gain support and advice from each other on the daily challenges they have.

You can request your free membership of the glamping business and unique holiday rental group here.

Regardless of what you believe, as a business owner, it is important to prepare for the worst and put in place anything you may need to help manage the situation. 

I will also keep my podcast running and will continue to offer advice when I can, in my business support group, here on Inspired Courses and also over on Inspired Camping

If you need to ask me questions or request advice and additional training to help you tackle a specific challenge then please feel free to contact me.

Taking Action For A #TourismTurnaround

I have no doubt that we will get through this and will soon be working on a #TourismTurnaround but we can not ignore what's happening right now.

Taking action in a crisis is the best thing you can do. It provides reassurance to you and others, and right now that's really important.

The Business of Glamping And Unique Holiday Rentals

Episode 026 Shownotes

Hospitality businesses have experienced the unthinkable – mass cancellations and empty beds at what should be the busiest time. So will the glamping and unique holiday rental industry survive it?

Taking action in a crisis is the best thing you can do. It provides reassurance to you and those around you, especially if you run a glamping business or offer holidays in the unique accommodation industry. What we all need to be focusing on now is how we can make sure we focus on a quick recovery when the time is right and how we can recession-proof our businesses.

The fear part of our brain function is 5 times more powerful than the reward part of our brain so we have to be careful not to panic and react blindly to this situation. Instead, we need to get grounded and be persistent with our actions, and setting firm goals can help with this.

Additional Resources And Links Mentioned


Speaker 1 Sarah Riley: Welcome to episode 26 this is going to be a very different kind of episode because we are in a very different kind of situation we are taking this day by day. Currently, I am in a vintage caravan in my garden and we are experiencing what some people are calling the great reset. Now, some people may say that's not the case and it's very difficult for me to do an episode that speaks to everybody because everyone is feeling this and yet everyone is experiencing their own version of what's going on. It really is changing constantly. There's absolutely no same day. There's no same moment. The amount of news, the amount of reports, everything is just different from day to day and even those thoughts about, well, this is happening now, but what's going to happen after this What's gonna happen after corvid-19 after the Coronavirus

Speaker 1: What then What's happening to this industry What's happening to our lives This is a great time of uncertainty and I know that I'm feeling it. I'm sure you're feeling it too. In fact, we've seen an example of how people are feeling it because the parts of the brain that usually kicks in right about now is the reptilian brain, the prehistoric part of our brain that keeps us safe at times of crisis. That part of the brain that kicks in when we go into fight or flight mode and the reptilian brain has been causing all kinds of things to happen. Panic buying, buying up toilet roll. What's that all about? This is our basic needs. People are thinking, I need to look after my basic needs because I can't think of anything else. It's really quite shocking. I'm really interested in how the brain works because of my own health history.

Speaker 1: I talk about that a lot more when I share my own story in episode 14 and about how things kind of change in life and how things can be reset in a moment, a moment of trauma and that's what I think we're all collectively feeling right now, but it's quite interesting how we're also seeing as well as the reptilian brain kicking in. We're also seeing selflessness. We're seeing people wanting to serve, we're seeing people having massive empathy for others. And certainly, in the UK, we're seeing a massive amount of volunteers coming forward to help other people who are in a less fortunate situation. And of course our carers, we had the other night we had a clap for the carers where everyone in my street came out, even though they're isolating, even though they're unable to be doing anything publicly, apart from going and having some exercise once a day, they all came out and clapped collectively for our carers to show their support and solidarity.

Speaker 1: And that was just so moving and amazing. And on the other side of that, at times like these, we remember everything that everyone does, that's good. But we equally remember all those things that are bad. And we certainly remember businesses that treat us badly. And that has happened in the UK, in Europe too. And I know equally things like this have happened in the USA and further afield over to Australia and New Zealand. We never forget the businesses that treat us badly. And we always remember the good that people do. It's crazy. It's a crazy situation. I can't quite believe this is actually happening. It's forcing change is forcing change for good. It's encouraging us to reconnect with each other, pick up the phone more often, maybe even learn how to do video calls so that we can see our ageing parents who live away from us and are also self-isolating.

Speaker 1: It means that we are also time rich, but the bad is of course that many of us are losing our jobs and our business and that means that we're money poor. So although we're time rich, we're money poor and that causes another load of problems. So one of the biggest impacted industries is, of course, the hospitality industry. And one of the things that I've been doing is supporting people in my memberships and my clients who really need that support right now whilst also trying to support my own family at this time of huge change. I've been homeschooling my children. I've been trying to set up a new office in our vintage caravan in the garden so that I have a quiet space to come and think and work. Try to work anyway and to do this to do what I'm doing now, but also to carry on with meetings as I've been carrying on with meetings and with work in the unique holiday rental industry.

Speaker 1: It hasn't stopped, but I'm doing my best to keep going even though my daughter has just walked in right now in the middle of this recording. And it's just one of those things that we all are having to deal with those interruptions to our daily life, to our normal life. But interestingly, this in itself will become normal. Normalization will occur. So whereas before it seemed just crazy that we would be going through this and no one believed it. No one believed it. Now we're starting to see that people understand it's normal and it's, there's a great normalization happening. So people are becoming more understanding of their situation and making the most of their situation and you know, maybe even doing things that they've always wanted to do. Now they have the time to do it and they're bringing it all together. And I've identified, there's been some phases in all of this, this whole process.

Speaker 1: And one of the phases was the first phase was that when we all heard about corvid-19 and the phases of the virus and many people started saying, but this is not a big deal, this is not a big deal. It's just like the flu. It's not in our country. But then there was the next step in the process, which was people became more concerned when it started spreading wider. And we started hearing stories about those countries in Asia that had been impacted by it. And then we started to get angry for others, for not taking it seriously angry that people weren't doing what their governments were telling them to do. And then fear really kicked in that stage of fear. And then that turned to panic. And now many of us have gone into shock because maybe we've lost our jobs or maybe we've had to do things that we never expected to do.

Speaker 1: And certainly in this industry where people have maybe had to refund bookings to customers in a huge amount because so many customers have cancelled or hopefully they've postponed and they've had to go through all of the rigmarole of having to rearrange dates and sort all of that out. But then there's still that uncertainty, the uncertainty of where is this going and what's going to happen next And then, of course, there's the selflessness and the serving that I talked about that stage that people are looking at more than themselves and more than their immediate family. But looking at what else can they do to help others. That's selflessness that we, we all depend upon at times like this, of course, there's the social conscience and understanding how is this going to affect us as a society and the bigger picture. But then, of course, going back to the uncertainty, but hopefully in all of that, finding the resilience, the resilience that we all need to keep going and to show our love and affection and adoration and hope to those people who mean something to us who are really important in our lives.

Speaker 1: Now the uncertainty is something that is really hard to deal with him particularly hard to deal with when you have a business at the moment or a job that has simply stopped. Now in some countries that means that your income has stopped and there's no help from the government while in others there is help from the government and they have sent a life raft out to those businesses and individuals that need help to have this really difficult time. And we're really so fortunate in the UK that we have, most of us have had something, have had some help. The statistics say that a recession comes every eight to nine years. This is what some are calling the great reset. And as we know, many of us went through a terrible time back in 2008 2009 when we had the financial crisis and everything stopped, the recession kicked in.

Speaker 1: There was a period of austerity. I myself went through a terrible time of illness, which is what I talk about in episode 14 and that led to redundancy. It led to all kinds of change, all kinds of transition and I know from direct experience that a time of transition can be crap. It can simply be really crap, really horrible, but it is also very often followed by what's called post-traumatic growth and this is actually a thing. This actually happens. This actually is a known phenomenon after a period of unfortunate situations happening, you have this period of positive growth. People start looking inside themselves, what do I need? What do I need to make this different? How can I shift? How can I pivot onto something else? How can I adapt to my new environment, my new life, my new state, and with everything that's happened, there's no doubt that I've experienced that before.

Speaker 1: And although it's horrible that there is this terrible time of transition, I do believe that there is this amazing and positive posttraumatic growth that happens and I'm a great believer in that. I see it time and time again with people that have reached out to me at times of great change in my own life, in the lives of family and friends that have watched that things have happened. There's always a time of posttraumatic growth. But the really interesting thing is there's so many of us going through this and that's why people are calling this the great reset because there's so many of us that are going to experience this great change and this great transition, which yes can be really pretty crap and there's definitely going to be some hard times that many of us are gonna feel. But to put a positive spin on this that is very likely that we will have some good come out of this, some growth that will come out of this.

Speaker 1: There are things that we can be sure of. It's very likely we are going to go into a recession as a result of this. If not now, then soon change is happening. It's very definitely happening and we are very definitely time rich and money poor. The other thing that we can be really sure about is the environmental aspect of this. So as a lot of us have shifted what we're doing, we've moved away from our normal behaviour. We have seen a really positive environmental impact. So we've seen that with satellite pictures of the earth that has been measuring carbon monoxide and the other pollutants in the atmosphere. And it's measuring a great reduction in all of those pollutants. So collectively we're changing our behaviour and that's having a really positive impact on the environment and things that we are doing to the environment. So whereas before we may have been thinking, I'm not going to change my behaviour because how can my behaviour-changing impact the environment and on the world?

Speaker 1: Well now we're actually seeing that our behavior changing that is actually having an impact on the environment and on the world in a positive way. So it's making us more environmentally aware of what we can do collectively and how that can actually change things. Suddenly we don't feel quite so impotent to be able to help, unable to help. We now feel that we can do things, we can take action to help, but also there's that health awareness that maybe we haven't been taking care of ourselves quite as much as we should've been and maybe we've been letting things slip. So what are we doing to improve our health? What we doing to get outside into nature that we miss so much when we're unable to, what are we doing to actually support nature but also to support our core health after this time?

Speaker 1: It also is a time of self-reflection. So we start to understand so much more about what we want out of life and also what we don't. So although now is not a time to be quitting jobs that we hate because obviously things are going to be a bit tough for a while but we can start planning for what we might want to do. Instead. We might want to do something else. You might want to take a completely different direction and this can be the catalyst to start that change process, that time of change, that time of posttraumatic growth and that's part of the reason for it. But interestingly in this industry, the industry of glamping and unique holiday rentals, it's really interesting about how what we offer as an industry around the environment, around health, around awareness, around the space around us, around nature, around reaching out into communities and providing healthy local foods with a smaller environmental impact and footprint or by the way it's been transported to our individual sites.

Speaker 1: So it's meeting all of those things. But it's interesting to think about how our guest behaviour is going to change. I believe that people's behaviour, their individual behaviour and also the industry as a whole is going to change, is going to adjust and it's going to be important for us as business owners to keep up with that and to understand how that is going to happen. As this situation continues to normalize, we are definitely going to see that as well as the negative things that have happened. There will also be positive things, there will be opportunities, but those opportunities will only be visible to those who stay in a positive frame of mind. Those who stay with their mind fully-open and their eyes are fully open to what they can do in this new emerging industry and the new emerging world to explore new things that are presented.

Speaker 1: One way that you can get there, get to that positive frame of mind is to constantly have gratitude, to have gratitude for what you have, for where you are, for your family, for your health, for your business, for your connections, for your friends, to have gratitude just for being able to see that sunset or to be able to sit in the sun for five minutes or even that you just have a warm bed to sleep in. Gratitude is so important at times like this, but also to get super focused, to not stop and pause, but to really be super focused on what's going on and to look around you and observe. Remember that we are living in a history lesson of tomorrow. People are gonna make movies about this time and I suppose one thing you can really do is to think what will you remember about what you achieved during this time and what you are grateful for.

Speaker 1: That's a really important thing to grasp, to have hold off. One of the things that I've been doing for my own business is practising what Sun Tzu says in the Art of War book. Now, this is a book that I haven't even read but my husband has and my husband has highlighted a really important part of the book, which I think applies so much right now, which is all about the tactical retreat. Sometimes at times like these in particular, it's important to understand that continuing to fight and continuing to go on as normal, as you always have is not the right thing to do and actually to win the fight and to be strategic about it, sometimes you have to make a tactical retreat. You have to move away from what you're doing. Take a time to actually observe what's going on and to look at where you may need to move next to have the most impact, and this is something that I'm doing and is something I've seen a lot of other people doing.

Speaker 1: Actually going out there and taking action really quickly at a time of great change can be quite negative. It means you're in a very reactive frame of mind. You're not being particularly proactive about what you're doing. You're just reacting to certain situations in a state of panic, in a state of shock. In a state of uncertainty and that's where mistakes can happen. And sometimes just sometimes it's important to take that tactical retreat to pull back to see things from a different perspective, to make a decision around something else, to think about what you might need to do next and to take time to really look at the action you need to do. It's a bit like a game of chess. You need to get your key pieces in place, you need to get them in place for what's coming next and to predict what might be coming next and how you might need to adapt and change and adjust what you're doing to be able to tackle what's coming next.

Speaker 1: But also to take time to maybe gather some more information or to seek out some education or to learn new techniques and skills to seek a different kind of focus, a different perspective. So I've been asking myself a lot, what will this industry look like at the end of this period of great change and will it survive and will it thrive after Corvid-19? It's a really interesting question, a very difficult question to answer fully right now, but I think there's a lot of evidence about what's happened in the past that allows me to be very confident about this industry is being robust enough to survive something as big as this. So after the last recession, there were lots of lots of research done and one of those research papers which are highlights in the show notes talked about how this industry did so incredibly well during the time of the last great recession and how it survived the great change because it was already moving towards what the customer and the guest really needed to have out of their holidays and out of their stays and their staycations.

Speaker 1: And I believe that it is those elements that are going to keep this industry strong. It's obviously going to fluctuate. There's obviously going to be challenging in the short term, but it's my belief that in the long term we will see this industry bounce back, but there will obviously be collateral damage in that some businesses will not be strong enough to be able to keep going. Some businesses will not have put plans in place to be able to respond quickly when the tourists are ready to start coming back. So the key here is to be smart where your attention goes and where your money goes. Money is like a river. It needs to flow, it needs to flow through you and your business and out of your business and back again. And if it doesn't, if you put lots of money blocks up, then that will not serve you.

Speaker 1: The other thing that I would say is to keep connecting with each other. Keep connecting, stay in a community that is positive and that will help you. One that makes you feel good for being there and one that makes you feel as though you're gaining something by being there but also able to give something back. Community right now is so important and most of us will not be able to be in a community in person, but there are many virtual communities out there that will support and help us. So I have been asking my own community what they need from me and from others during this difficult time and I'm going to do my absolute best to on all of that and I'm collecting all of that now. And if you want to be part of that community, then all you need to do is go over to and it will take you over there.

Speaker 1: Now please join. You have to request to join and answer a few questions, but please do that. We'd love to have you in the community to join in with the conversation to get the support where you need it, to find out what you need to do next and to find out the information you need to know at the time as this progresses. But I'll also be sharing some free resources and sessions to help people find focus. The best way to find out about those sessions is to sign up for my free resources that I offer over on now those resources will really help you understand marketing, how you can market your business. If you are at that point of just setting up the business and you want to know if it's actually a good industry to get involved in, then it's all there for you, but if you were involved in those communities or if you're gaining those resources, that's also the place where our let you know about what's going on and what I'm offering at this time to help you through this situation as it unfolds.

Speaker 1: Remember those phases that I told you about at the beginning from thinking it's not a big deal, what's going on at the moment to then having that fear, panic, shock and uncertainty. But the great thing is we will end up resilient. We will end up with resilience about the situation. We will stand strong. This is a short term situation. It is pretty horrific. There's no doubt about it. Transition is not always great and this is one of those times. It is a time of great transition. There will be posttraumatic growth after this and you can be part of that story. You just have to stay focused, stay open, be proactive in a really strategic way and get the help when you need it and please join those communities that I talked about over on the welcome mat is there. We'd be very happy to see you and welcome you in and also to give you as much help as you feel you need and just some sometimes simply making a friend, a buddy in the community, someone who you can actually just talk through things.

Speaker 1: You may be going through the same thing. You may have the same kind of business and therefore you can get some ideas from each other, but just the tiny things, the tiny actions that you can take to help your business at this time. It's all there for you and the community is there for you to support you on your way. There is no doubt this industry is going to change, but how it changes, we don't yet know. But we can all stay positive, keep a positive frame of mind. And if we do that, we will see the opportunities that come around as they unfold. And I'd love to be part of helping you identify them and to grab them with both hands. Now please don't hesitate to contact me if you feel you need to. You can contact me through or through the Facebook group.

Speaker 1: I'll be very happy to speak to you at any time. We are in this together and we stand strong together. I will keep my podcast episodes going and I'm going to be focusing on keeping them inspirational and uplifting and also to give you some really solid actions that you can take to help you and your business and your family at this time. So with that being said, I'm going to end this episode just by saying, please stay safe. Take care look, after yourselves, take care of your family and friends. And I hope you join me for the next episode soon.

End Transcript

Sarah Riley

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