It becomes pretty tough for startups to manage when the cashflows plateau. The biggest impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been on the travel sector, which has had to bear the brunt of flight cancellations, hotels being shut down and movement restrictions across the world. First came the international travel bans and then strict national lockdowns, which eventually led to all travel and food delivery in train and other apps coming to a grinding halt. The current pandemic and crisis have brought up a lot of fears and anxiety among the people around the globe. The change in routine, pattern, work system, etc—the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus has started to become a brutal psychological test for many. We are worried about life, finances, job, health, running a family and so much more. The companies decided to figure out ways in which it didn’t have to let go of people. Even though there were cases where there might be no work for certain people for a few months.
Most of the startup founders are seen commenting this way:
“This crisis is different, this is a humanitarian crisis, this is not a typical capitalist crisis where you take a cold-blooded call and move on,”
Battling the Un-certainty
The startups observed a very rapid drop in its daily active user because obviously there’s no reason for a user to come to the app with the ban on all modes of transport. However, the companies have been adding other engagement features. “Whether it is gaming, videos, entertainment, book insurance or Covid related information; we had to discover alternate ways of serving the customers on our apps. These new offerings helped the startups to maintain a certain amount of user engagement in current times. Along with opening up some revenue sources, in the form of ads, selling insurance, and other ancillary products.
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Some startup founder say that the coronavirus will leave a lasting impact on the travel sector. It will change the way people look at and feel about travel, similar to what happened after 9/11.
- Both for international & domestic travel, there will be mandatory Covid-19 testing. And it will become the norm across the world. Also, for domestic travel, everyone expects that India will have to implement China-like solutions, which will help people verify some kind of health data/health status at the point of boarding. All this will happen, because of the consumer’s loss of confidence in safe travel.
- In the post-corona world, the biggest challenge will be to convince everybody to start travelling again and that requires a different level of trust-building in the procedures of testing and segregation.
- People will now cut back on any non-essential travel because they have figured out that conferences, meetings, events can all be coordinated online.
- There is an opportunity to come up with contactless solutions in this new world. China has built solutions that allow people to use the lift in a contactless manner. They have a QR code, you can just scan in the lift and press floor number in your app and the lift takes you to that floor.
Any sort of contactless things that people can pay to ensure more safety and confidence of travelers, whether it is hotel sector or the airline industry or train travel, it’s going to be in demand in the post-Covid world.
Apart from these, a lot of emphases would be laid down on use of apps like “Aarogya Setu” and others more advanced ones coming up from Google and Apple Inc. partnerships. At the end of the day, it is the power of our mind that is going to help all of us to sail through this situation. Do not assume, just go out and pitch. Recessions have always brought forth new market leaders. People who will be able to demonstrate their capabilities to take risks and fight adversity will be the eventual winners.