Pandemic is exacerbating inequalities. How can women who work alone, who are hosts, planners, managers, creatives, employed in the hospitality industry, react?
We asked four experts a thought from different points of view. We have extrapolated data and suggestions from dozens of webinars, special pages, articles, made to measure.
Rebalance roles and keep updated. According to Paola Profeta, Associate Professor Public Economics, Università Bocconi Milano; "At a time when the only possibility for companies that are shutdown is to work from home, small tourism companies find themselves even more unbalanced. Those who for example have a hotel or a farm stay, will have to reorganize and rebalance roles within the family. It must become automatic for anyone at home to share housework. In this way, we might find some spare time to focus on marketing or on our account files, learning how to use technological skills, updating online, making more communication on social networks ".
Maintaining contacts with remote customers. Even if tourism is frozen, those who have an activity or a seasonal business (and nature never stops) are forced to remain virtually open. As explains Michela Fenili, Digital manager Ago&Media: "Keeping the media manned, not letting the pages fall, creating loyalty. For example, if you have a company that cannot be stopped anyway, post small live broadcasts with interviews, local personalities, with you in person, with recipes, advice about gardening, a photo of the raw materials you are working with, promote a product made by you that you could send, share moments of life on your environment "
Focus on care. In the near future, this crisis must also be studied for the consequences on gender inequalities, says Stroma Cole, Equality in Tourism and University of the West of England, author of No Sustainability for Tourism without Gender Equality : The pandemic will end and we will return to live. We cannot avoid that it impacts on tourism, so if we grieve we waste energy, worries suck positive energy, and sap energy required for our well-being. Instead, let's use it to check relationships, knowledge, and communication. We have to focus on care because it's the area we have control over. And since the house will not collapse on us, and we will still use what we have built, we should use this time to imagine how to transform it. We cannot control when tourists will return but we can use our energy to make preparations, to develop personally and professionally and work out what can be changed to improve tourism for the future and help ensure it is more gender equal.
Collaboration to remain positive.. Alessandra Alonso, coach and founder of Women in Travel CIC, suggests the tools to fight against the external and interior crisis: “Women in Travel's mission is to empower women through employment and entrepreneurship in travel tourism and hospitality. As a social enterprise we often deal with the most vulnerable, but the current crisis has put a totally different spin to this word. Suddenly, women who were making a sustainable livelihood through their businesses - as content creators, hotel owners, hosts or tour guides for example - have lost all their income. Those who were working in industry from managerial positions all the way to the lower skilled / entry level jobs, and we are talking about 50-60% of industry staff globally, now see their salary at risk or totally gone. How to best position their business for the day customers return and how to plug the cash flow gap in the interim are, therefore, their main concerns, as well as how to stay mentally and physically healthy. We see these areas emerge from every discussion, conversation and peer to peer group we are running on line and believe that collaboration is key to address the current challenges in a positive way. The solution, right now, is to setting small goals, scheduling on a weekly or monthly scale, keeping on a one-to-one relationships, choosing a target".
- Some international studies are already showing that the impact of the health emergency is also social and economic, especially on weak categories such as women and in informal sectors, such as tourism. In general, the economic impact risks being disproportionate to the detriment of women, both on private life, on employment and on entrepreneurship, and this for various reasons related to sharing, concentration in the care professions, contractual types, sectors, investments, digital divide. “In short- says Alessia Mosca, Economist, Vice President Fuori Quota-, three are, in my opinion, the necessary steps: 1) Integrate the gender perspective in the study of the phenomena that are being produced and that will be produced; 2) On the basis of this analysis, identify measures that are previously studied to not further penalize women. And that, on the contrary, could represent a tool to bridge the gaps currently existing; 3) To draw, from this experience, lessons of work organization also in the long term, in oder to improve the efficiency of our economic system ".
- There will be different rules for travelling, we will all want more nature and less crowd. Where to go and how to travel in the coming months? For example: out of season and in your own country, by train and bicycle, in eco-friendly farmhouses, making purchases with the advice of people who live on the spot. Travellers will need a clean, intact, loving, ethical experience approach,
- WTTC calculates that 75 million workers are at risk for a 2 trillion dollars value and asks financial help for workers, governments loans for TT companies, no taxes, and the making of a tsk force to study priorities
- Tourism is changing, says Jeremy Smith in A future template for resilience? Now the model is to repurpose tourism and support local communities, from enogastronomic virtual tours to drone made videos, then probably, in the mid-term, the first tourism that will re-emerge will be predominantly hyper-local.
- Do you have a restaurant? Before we will be back to normal distancing, reinvent yourself, for example with the formula "Home delivery ready to cook".
- According to ED Gergory Miller, in CREST’s Newsletter, this crisis is is clearly demonstrating the interdependence of people and place, wildlife and ecosystems, and the need for us to manage these natural and cultural systems in a holistic way.
- The value of CSR will be increasingly important, for businesses and to motivate interlocutors. Use this time to add value to your sustainability program. You will need it to save money, buy attractiveness, increase yield
- Coldiretti Donna Impresa (one of the Italian women farmers Associations) founded Salva Spesa Made in Italy with the Italian supply chain: farmers, food industries and commercial distribution, are committed to guaranteeing regularity of food supplies to Italians, and to fight any form of speculation on food from fields to tables.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE
- Think more marketing, short term, and for the audience close by. During a crisis like this, for which no one can foresee the future, in each area of business a one-to-one line of communication, that considers the changing of our daily habits and our domestic routine, prevails.
- If you have a company or a business, you will have to get familiar with technology, to adjust to delivering your goods, food, crafts, to make plenty of videos in order to keep your customers, at least until they will be able to travel again and come, not just virtually,
- Become a made to measure content machine.Make stories on Facebook, mini personalized videos, one on one client assistance. Understand which branding mechanisms are most established: telegram, tiktok, anchor, twitch, caffeine, houseparty.
- In some cases we think of added value, for example half of Asia-Pacific hoteliers tried “value-adds,” compared with only a third in Europe. An example of a “value-add” could be offering any guest who stays a voucher for, say, a substantial credit if they rebook a future stay within a year, or it could be offering a free airport transport in a well-sanitized vehicle.
- Building relationships will count for on, using contacts more than ever, “hyper-targeting” and “hyper-personalising”, every brand will have to aim at building up their own community.
- The contents generated by our users will have an inestimable competitive value. The quality of the projects, the involvement of the users in the strategies, the use of the leaders as points of reference and models, the use of micro influencers.
- Interacting personally on private channels, in order to escape confusion and impersonality, but also to use feedback from the public to help you discover a wider audience.
- Do not reduce prices, examine whether there are costs you can cut or transform into non fixed costs, look after your collaborators, join your competitors and share problems and ideas concerning your territory.
The health crisis has shown the contradictions affecting women, and the gender gap is likely to widen. Something serious is involving all women and it is better to become aware of it, to rise up united.
- It will be necessary to rebalance the "democracy of care": women are the majority in all low-income jobs most affected by the crisis (healthcare, elderly care, childhood, housework, job orders) and yet at the same time the emergency has reassessed the importance of the professionalism of the care.
- Now the contradiction among salaries, care, occupation, new jobs are more evident. See for example the ILO Article Women health workders in hospitals and at home . In example: salaries after maternity leave on average drop. Yet there would be a need to encourage new work formula, The digital divide is an obstacle for some advanced technology professions of the future, but the "smart works" are those in which women are less employed or underpaid.
- The health crisis is a catalyst for tensions, domestic needs have increased by 36%, hours of domestic work have increased. WE and UN Women dictated the " Agenda for a wise division of tasks at home too"
- This year,( when the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration on Women's Rights takes place), all indicators show a worsening of conditions and the debate is growing. See for example the Amnesty International Report about sexist violence, or the last Resolution of the EU delegates asking to set up a European Council of Ministers on gender equality.
- Impacts on trade, planning, changes, trade lanes, are some of the topics of the Webinars organized by She Trades and its technicians. She Trades is the initiative of the International Trade Center very active in connecting millions of businesswomen with the market. Sign up for free and follow the seminars on https://www.shetrades.com/en
- On line courses and webinars specific for small enterprises on social media, with the italian specialist Agoemedia https://www.facebook.com/pg/agoemedia/about/?ref=page_internal
- Pleanty of ideas and suggestions on the FB page of the Responsible tourism networking https://www.facebook.com/groups/rtnetworking
- From the CREST Newsletter to many initiatives https://www.responsibletravel.org/getInvolved/spring2020Newsletter.php
- What Jeremy Smith think about A future template for resilience? https://news.wtm.com/a-future-template-for-resilience-how-we-can-repurpose-tourism-and-champion-local-areas/
- Tourism Transformed https://www.tourismtransformed.com/ on Hospitality Net Panel https://www.hospitalitynet.org/panel/125000047.html
- An article by Jonathan Tourtellot from the National Geografic Center for sustainable destinations A destination management opportunity https://destinationcenter.org/2020/03/corona-crisis-a-destination-management-opportunity
- Solutionas inspired by ATTA initiatives, by Mariana Aldrigui: Guide for the adventure travel https://www.adventuretravelnews.com/covid-19-guide-for-the-adventure-travel-industry
- Opportunities for women in leadership positionshttps://www.adventuretravelnews.com/qa-sustainable-tourism-expert-mariana-aldrigui-shares-the-challenges-and-opportunities-for-women-in-leadership-positions
- Destination International webinar https://destinationsinternational.org/covid-19-webinar-center
- Free on line classses from the portal AcademyHubspot e di Learndigital
- How can we travel responsibly by Gregory Miller of CREST Even Though we aren't traveling, we can still support sustainable tourism