Reply To: We are a small camping ground and farmstay business on the Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough. We have no road access and therefore doing anything is quite complex and usually physically quite difficult. We will be the last cab off the rank with getting going I suspect because we have nothing to do with essential services. The competition for domestic tourism will be fierce and there will be big players with lots of knowledge and skills competing for the NZ domestic tourists. We, Graham and I (58 and 61 years old), have grown the camping ground, added farmstay and cabins from a less than $10,000. business to a $65,000 business in 4 years. We are still small, don’t really fit into any association that will represent us clearly but need to fight with the bigger tourism operators for business in this coming season. We need to talk through social media, marketing electronically and how to target specific markets with someone who is able to explain it so that we can understand. We largely direct market. Booking agencies etc don’t work well out here. We cannot fill cancelled bookings if within a month of visit because we are remote and part of a bigger QCT experience. Their refund policies leave us in a hole.

Kia ora,

Some good advice above. It feels to me that, given you’re remoteness, you can’t ignore dependencies on other local businesses as channels to market. Tourism will eventually crawl back (domestic and then inbound) so the question really is how do you: a) reduce costs and preserve cashflow as best as possible to survive in the interim; and b) set yourself up for an optimal recovery.

On cost reduction/preserving cashflow: Get across what’s being offered by the Govt in terms of subsidies and loans (you may or may not qualify); look at your expenses line-by-line and see what you can reduce, differ, or negotiate a better deal on. Overheads like utilities and rates are a good place to start.

On setting yourself up for best possible recovery: I’d make sure you’re plugged in to other tourism providers in the Queen Charlotte tourism eco-system. I’m sure you have local networks (Facebook, Whatsapp groups etc.) of other businesses in the Sounds. Is there more you can do to band together and collaborate on what an “optimal recovery” looks like for Queen Charlotte Sounds and how you might jointly execute. I’d also include the RTO in this – I’m sure they’re thinking along the same lines.