How to Tackle No Tourism

18 June 2020

This weekend I decided to take a much needed staycation and I knew exactly where to go. Tucked behind resorts on the West Side of Maui there is a gorgeous collection of rock faces, fittingly named Cliff House.

I had been to Cliff House before, but today felt different. Watching everyone else somersault through the air into the crystal water below, I remembered the rush I would get front flipping off the diving board into the deep end of an over chlorinated pool as a child.

The only problem was I only knew how to do front flips, and all my friends knew only a perfected back flip. No one could show me the ropes. My first attempt ended with a loud smack my back slapped the water.

But I wasn’t going to let one bad landing distract me from my goal. I adapted my strategy and tried again. It worked. I landed cleanly in the water below. Not only that, I could now proudly say I was the only one there who could do a front flip.

Stepping into the unknown.

Navigating what our economy across the state of Hawaii is going to look like now that the quarantine for tourists has been extended to the end of July; is going to be a lot like attempting a front flip with no guidance. Your existing businesses knowledge and common sense will get you to the edge of that cliff, but perfecting a strategy will take adaptation and practice.

Using all the resources at your disposal, whether they are small business loans, government aid, sanitation and safety guidelines, new marketing strategies, to name a few, is crucial in helping your business succeed.

Hawaii’s economic reliance on tourism means that the impact the continued shutdown will have is not exclusive to those in that industry. All small businesses across our islands are symbiotic, there is a reliance on the financial health of one major industry to stimulate another.

Tourists make up 80 percent of some restaurant’s service, it was reported that because of this nearly a quarter of all Hawaiian restaurants could go under.

2019 alone saw the arrival of over 10 million visitors who spend a collective $17.75 billion. It is projected that in 2020 there will only be around 3.4 million visitors as well as only 6.4 million the following year. 

So what does this mean for your business? What can you do?

Through our extensive research at Hawaii Thrive as well as surveying those businesses currently listed, we have found that the greatest strategy to bring in customers, money, and exposure to Hawaiian local business, is to capitalize on social media.

Every client you could ever want is currently online. When you are effectively and consistently communicating with your audience you are making sure your business is top of mind. They didn’t even know they needed your product or service until they received that constant reminder.

It is easy for small businesses to get stuck in the same strategies that worked incredibly before. But just like attempting a new stunt or operating during the pandemic, these strategies have to adapt to what is happening in the world.

The Hawaii Thrive is working to create more resources and outreach so that we can figure out how to make these transitions for your business as painless as possible as we all traverse this new economic landscape together. 

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