Netherlands-based responsible travel company Better Places has been working hard during the pandemic to create connections with their customers and support those most affected by the pandemic. After the gruelling task of repatriating their travellers already overseas and dealing and cancellations and rebookings, the company shifted its focus to something more positive and forward thinking. That was the beginning of the successful Dream Now, Travel Later campaign. It enables travellers to enjoy their favourite destinations from home, via newsletters, videos and blogs, whilst at the same time highlighting the plight of their partners in the countries they work. So far, the campaign has raised 65,000 euros for the people hardest hit by the crisis.
Like many other tourism companies, Better Places has had to cut back considerably to stay afloat. Despite the major setbacks, the tour operator is not put off. Founder Saskia Griep says: “After getting all our travellers home safely, I really felt the need to do something positive. I asked our local partners what they needed and how we could best support drivers, guides and hotel staff. The ideas poured in. There was a particular need for positivity and connection with our customers. ”
Dream Now, Travel Later
The team felt that there was lot of attention on the consequences of the crisis on the local economy in the Netherlands, but hardly any mention of the situation abroad. Tanzania travel expert Karin Miner explains: “In the Netherlands, all kinds of support measures were immediately announced to keep companies afloat as much as possible. There is no social safety net here in Tanzania. The local entrepreneurs who make our trips so special have been without work for months and therefore without income. Those stories must also be heard. ”
With the Dream Now, Travel Later campaign, Better Places kills two birds with one stone: with videos, recipes, reading tips and music, customers can enjoy faraway destinations from their own homes. At the same time, they receive articles and videos in which local partners talk about the situation in their respective countries.
Help to local entrepreneurs
After consultation with the local travel experts, it became clear that more was needed to support local entrepreneurs. In addition to the campaign, Better Places has launched We Support Local Tourism. The website now contains sixteen crowdfunding campaigns that have been set up by local partners of Better Places. Karin: “With the campaigns we collect money to give the people who have been hit hardest by the crisis a helping hand. From food packages for guides and drivers in Tanzania and Nepal to financial support for entrepreneurs in Peru and Cuba. ” Saskia and her colleagues are determined: “We will only stop the campaigns when tourism gets going again and everyone can go back to work as usual.”
The campaigns are a great success. In less than five months, the travel experts have collectively raised 65,000 euros. “This shows the enormous commitment of our travellers,” says Karin. “We often get the question from people who have been to Tanzania with us, how is the guide or driver they got to know during their tour.”
Although the money is a great way to help the entrepreneurs in faraway destinations, according to Saskia that is not the greatest success of the campaign. “Setting up the campaigns gives a lot of positive energy in times of crisis. Not only to us as a company, but also to the local entrepreneurs, who know through the campaigns that we have not forgotten them. That is the real success of Dream Now, Travel Later. ”