Livn, like all businesses in travel, has had to brace itself for the impact of COVID-19. It is widely known, that together with the arts, travel was one of the industries worst affected by the pandemic that continues to have ripples throughout the world.
Covid-19 Impacts on Livn
The team at Livn understood the magnitude of COVID-19 when ITB, the world's largest tourism trade fair in Berlin was cancelled in late February. For an event of that scale, in an industry that has experienced several crises in the past and made a way through, this was a red flag that something monumental was about to happen. The next day the Louvre in Paris closed and the enormity of the pandemic was very clear to the team.
The very next day, the leadership team sat down to reevaluate their operations and devise a plan to present to their investors on how they would steer the business through the storm, but things moved faster than expected. With the breaking news of increased restrictions and airlines grounded, what once seemed like they were ahead of the problem, now felt like they were playing catch up. So was the speed of which the virus was impacting the industry as it accelerated faster than anyone could have anticipated.
Like all businesses, Livn had to adapt quickly to the changing landscape and this, as Steve says, was tough. In the early days of initial shutdowns, people's homes were being transformed into offices & schools overnight while a cloud of uncertainty hung over everyone and their livelihoods. It was a challenging time for all.
Lockdowns Easing in Australia
Jump to today and what Steve has noted is that the general sentiment is very different from that of March. People are slowly but surely returning to their normal habits and behaviours, as evident to anyone who has visited a supermarket or playground recently. The overwhelming fear factor for many has dissipated and there is a willingness to get back to once-loved activities.
Whilst this may be concerning for some in regards to a second wave, there is a silver lining for the travel industry as people look to bring normality back into their world.
Trends in China Recovery to Become Global
Other encouraging news for the travel industry is what is happening in China with the reopening of businesses. The Great Wall of China has now re-opened to visitors and Disney Shanghai was booked out in three hours, albeit both with reduced capacities. It is clear the demand is there, now tour operators need to ensure that they can adequately meet and manage the supply as well as have new health & safety procedures in place such as online ticketing only.
Focusing and Positioning Livn for the Future
What was evident to the team at Livn is that within this ‘new travel industry’ there will be a greater need and requirement for real-time bookings. As more attractions re-open, they will be working with a reduced capacity for some time to come. Steve predicts this capacity could be capped at one-third of the allocation so advanced bookings will no longer be a “nice to have” but rather a necessity as many operators move to contactless entry.
The Redesign of the Livn Platform
Furthermore, the company has accelerated its plans to redesign and upscale their platform connectivity.They are on track to deliver this in December with upgrades allowing Livn the ability to hold more inventory and sell a wider array of products on the interface, always in real-time.
Close the Loops
Whilst Steve discusses the need for travel businesses to refine their operations during this time he also states the opportunity to, what he calls, "close the loops".
“We all have "loops" happening in our minds every day. It may be to clean the house, wash the car or visit a friend. Whatever it may be, this is a unique situation where the virus had forced a lot of us to slow down. It has presented an opportunity to look at those things on our to-do list and clear the clutter so we can return with a clear mind and focus for when travel resumes again”
Whilst the world is not entirely out of the woods with COVID, we have certainly paved a path through the thick of it and Steve predicts with the eagerness to return to the activities once enjoyed, the travel industry will only benefit from this sentiment down the track.
To read part 1 of this series and to discover the origins of Livn, click here.