#Voices of Travel: Clear, prompt and transparent communication is essential in this crisis, says Shivali Bhargava

In this ongoing series, we explore how humans of travel are mitigating the ongoing COVID19 outbreak. Shivali Bhargava, Founder, Bucket My List shares the message of positivity. Read on to discover. 

Things were panning out very well for Bucket My list. By and large, economies across the world were doing well and hence travel for business and leisure were high up in the pecking order for most people. We had a record 2019 calendar year and had good business in the pipeline for 2020 as well. We were running on a packed bandwidth at the start of the year. Our business growth have been 30-40% year on year and we were anticipating a similar run rate for the current year as well.

With the current outbreak, the business has come to a standstill. We think that travel and hospitality space will be the hardest hit but the pent up exhaustion of staying at home will lead to a V shape recovery towards the end of the year once the COVID19 situation stabilises. That said, we don’t have any leverage on our balance sheet and have been a profitable enterprise. Also out running costs are relatively low and we don’t foresee any challenges in meeting our commitments for the next 6-9 months and are hopeful for a recovery much before that.

At the current juncture, we have been forthcoming and advised all our clients to defer all non-essential travel since mid of February, much before the lockdown started. We have cancelled/deferred all bookings for the summer months till July. We are keeping our clients regularly informed on the situation across the world and also showcasing them ideas for their next vacations with some anecdotes and inspiring memories. We feel that it is even more so, especially if you need to secure ongoing support from your customers, employees, suppliers and investors.  We will have to reimagine business-as-usual while also putting first the health and safety of employees. The safety of all associated with us is at the forefront of what we do. Our employees are extended families for us and we are doing all we can to ensure that life goes on as usual for them during this extremely difficult time.

We were the first one to get impacted and could be the last one to recover. This pandemic will definitely change the world in a lot of ways and people will start visualising and expecting things differently. Having said that, travel is an integral part of any business. Hence not all is in gloom and doom. We remain hopeful that over the next 6-9 months, a lot of visibility will come back to the sector.

I’d like to say that start your day by thinking that the present moment is the only time you have. Be prepared to adapt and improvise when things are not going as per plan. You should remind yourself to never let your emotions get the best of you regardless of the size of your business. Instead, you should make an active effort to remain calm, collected and composed. It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.