16 July 2020
When it was announced Monday that the 14 day quarantine for outer island travelers won over the proposed pretesting 72 hours before arriving in the state of Hawaii; there were equal parts rejoicement and fear.
Hawaiian economists worried that the impact of an entire summer without visitors would be detrimental to all industries, even those outside of tourism as the ripple effect of no spending spread. Currently there are over 250,000 jobless Hawaiian residents; that mixed with the cut of federal funding or stimulus has many small business owners concerned.
However, there are many who say that the lack of tourists will not harm their industry, even arguing that spending and business have gone up during this time or upon reopening their establishments.
Through the research and outreach our team has done at Hawaii Thrive; while restaurants and tourism companies have had to either completely shut their business models or re-shutter their doors, tattoo parlors, salons, and home services have been able to remain open and bringing in, albeit a more limited, revenue.
But how can we expect not only the economic restriction of no tourist spending but the dissolve of federal stimulus to affect the economy as a whole?
While personally I have enjoyed driving the highways of Oahu and commuting South Kihei Road in Maui with the least amount of traffic I have ever experienced in all my time in Hawaii, there is an eeriness to the lack of Tommy Bahama shirts, Tevas, and Chi Chis ordered.
However, like our last blog detailed, there are things falling into place to help support our local businesses at this time. The federal government is proposing the Heroes Act, although this would work to replace the federal unemployment stimulus, would be additional funding to small businesses through direct stimulus payments.
We also have the previously mentioned extension of the Payment Protection Program deadline of application to August 8. With this companies are creating PPP Insurance plans for those who may have to fight to get the full economic relief through the CARES Act.
There are also a plethora of creative marketing strategies that are not only cheap but extremely effective in our current economic climate. Facebook ads and boosted posts targeting customers in a specific demographic are crucial to small businesses in Hawaii with the hopes of trying to get in front of potential clients.
Now is also the time to start SEO. Because this is a long term strategy, many companies are using this time to build up the backend of their websites and start targeting keywords to get on the front page of google and reach the most people once everything reopens.
There are so many more creative marketing strategies as well as small business aid that companies across the United States are jumping on. As we continue to research the economic climate of Hawaii as well as learning about the successes other businesses have had, we promise to share this with you.
This is unfamiliar territory for us all. Things not only change week to week but day by day. The best thing you can do for yourself, your employees, and your business, is to give yourself the greatest competitive advantage and continue to stimulate the economy through supporting local businesses.