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Does your agency serve an industry that has been shut down? Are your clients directly impacted by the economic downturn? Of course, many, many industries are feeling it but none more than travel and hospitality. Should you choose a new niche? Make a quick pivot? Weather the storm?

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Should agencies choose a new niche due to the economic recession?
  • How can you still serve clients impacted by shutdowns?
  • How to manage your agency team during challenging times.

On today’s special episode, I’m chatting with Ryan Clarke, Partner and VP Business Development at Wallop, a digital agency in Canada serving luxury hotel and travel brands since 2004. Ryan started his career as a management consultant but didn’t like what he was selling so moved onto something more creative at Wallop. Here’s here to share ways agencies and clients can move forward during the challenging times we’re in.

Should Agencies Choose a New Niche Due to Economic Recession?

Ryan says while many industries are feeling the strain, the travel industry has been the bleeding edge of the recession as a result of this pandemic. Since Wallop has been focused on this space for 13 years, they’re in it for the long haul. Fortunately, Wallop has a tangent niche in the real estate space for high-end residential developers. They’re finding the real estate space isn’t getting hit quite as hard as travel.

The biggest thing is to remember that everything is coming back.

The hardest-hit industries, like travel and restaurants, are just on pause right now. That’s why it’s important for agencies to continue to help them during this time by producing content and helping clients make a pivot so they can come back strong.

So, should you pick a new niche? Actually, no. If you can hang on and stick with your positioning you’ll be better off in the long run. It’s key to pivot real quick without abandoning what you’ve been doing that works. It’s perfectly fine to go into new industries even if you have no experience. You can find a tangent industry where your experience lends well. But don’t abandon what you’ve been doing because it will take a really long time to become an expert in a new industry. Stick it out and be patient.

How Can Agencies Still Serve Clients  Impacted by Shutdowns?

The team at Wallop is leading with empathy. Ryan says they’re constantly reminding themselves that clients are having a lot of bad days with some bright spots sprinkled in here or there. Their job as the agency is to look for ways to help.

For example, the digital strategy team is putting together data and research. They’ll aggregate this information of all the hotels and resorts to look for opportunities and track recovery of the industry.

On the development side, they’re turning around messaging quickly for clients and staying on top of requests as information changes quickly and without warning.

What can your agency do to find opportunities and assist these types of clients right now?

How to Manage Your Agency Team During Challenging Times

It’s hard to know just what to tell your agency team during uncertain times like these. Too much information can worry them, too little information can cause anxiety about their jobs and their future.

First and foremost, Ryan says Steve Saugestad Principal at Wallop is very zen and has remained calm and steady. This sets the tone for the team and goes a long way in crisis mode. Wallop has also communicated that the agency is in a good financial position to weather the storm; helping the team feel secure.

It’s also important to be realistic, though, and make sure it’s clear the agency will look different on the other side of this. But first and foremost keeping calm and giving a sense of security is key.

Is There a Silver Lining to These Challenging Times?

One benefit that Wallop, and many other agencies are seeing, is they were able to quickly and easily transition to a remote team. We are digital agencies -- if anyone can do this, it’s us! :)

In most cases, this has been smooth as the team very easily made the move. There seems to increased camaraderie as people adjust to working from home. Also, due to stay-at-home orders, people get excited to interact with others even if over a web conference.

A lot of good work gets done when people are left alone to work in their own space. On the flip side, there are definitely benefits to sharing office space which breeds collaboration and some spontaneity when collective minds work together in the same place.

As a result of these current working conditions, Ryan and I agree agencies are learning that finding good talent is not limited to geographic location.

I know it’s getting redundant but we are all in this together. No matter your location, no matter your industry - everything, everyone, everywhere is impacted. It’s not isolated to one city or one state -- it’s global and everyone is going through different degrees of the same challenges. Hang on and you’ll come out the other side better and stronger than before.


Direct download: How_Can_Agencies_Help_Travel_and_Hospitality_Clients_Right_Now_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST