All over the world, travel was on a downward spiral even before the coronavirus became a pandemic. Adebayo Adedeji, CEO of Wakanow, online travel agency, in his estimation, his company and Nigeria’s online travel-booking industry as a whole barely did any business in April.
Bookings slumped by 98% relative to March. In March, volumes dropped by more than half compared to previous months.
He says their ability to withstand the present shocks has been developed over the years by being nimble and sensitive to cost. Wakanow’s website has remained active.
The deals on the website are generated from the inventory they get from airlines. They don’t necessarily expect an upward tick in sales for another two weeks after the easing of shutdown in Lagos. Interstate travel by all modes remains prohibited in Nigeria’s biggest commercial city
However, Wakanow is developing a new strategy called video-selling. The plan is to make it possible for customers to schedule a video session with a Wakanow agent for a visual tour of potential destinations.
The actual business of travel depends heavily on the companies that move people between locations. Global airlines are battling to stay on their feet and a raft of health-related regulations could impose costs on the entire value chain.
Wakanow will not be able to control what happens on the plane. But Adedeji is betting on providing a convincing package that takes charge of the before and after experiences of air travel. The optimistic view is that with a virtual tour, customers will be sufficiently inspired to take the leap.