Our past research has found there are lots of reasons why people choose to visit Samoa – from feeling welcomed and experiencing our nation’s colour and vibrancy, to enjoying people’s humour, culture, and daily life. We also know that many visitors are attracted to Samoa because their time here makes them feel uplifted and ready to return home reinvigorated.

Fulfilling our visitors’ hopes and expectations

While Samoa’s tourism industry is currently in hibernation, our operators must be ready to deliver upon all the qualities and characteristics that brought visitors here before the pandemic. In other words, we need to be rediscovered in just the way people left us – if not, better and with more energy than ever before.  


Bringing maintenance and cleanliness up to speed 

After a long period of inactivity in Samoa’s warm, humid climate, and as we now anticipate the restart of our tourism industry, operators should take steps to make sure the cleanliness and maintenance of their building and facilities are in check before the arrival of their first guests. Now could also be the ideal time to put into action any planned improvements to your product before they become much harder to implement when customers arrive. 

The Planning and Development team at the Samoa Tourism Authority is the Secretariat of the Samoa Accommodation Standards Committee. To help you prepare to deliver the best experiences when travel resumes, take a look at our comprehensive framework which establishes minimum standards for the different types of accommodation in Samoa.


Adapting your product

Borders are unlikely to open to the whole world right away, so visitor numbers are expected to be lower in the initial phases of Samoa’s reopening. To stand the best chance of a full recovery in the longer-term, plan for how your product, service or experience can be scaled down (or up), or even adapted to meet the demand as it changes. In the immediate term, you might consider partial re-openings or changes to tour bookings such as reducing group sizes or adjusting activities based on your core demographic. For example, with friends and relatives expected to make up a large proportion of our first visitors, food tour operators might create a programme that reacquaints the VFR market with a few home comforts.


Responsive recruitment

To deliver unforgettable experiences to your returning guests, you’ll need to think about recruiting the right staff who can give you all the help you need. As Samoa gradually eases back into the thriving tourism industry it once had pre-COVID-19, preparing a phased recruitment plan based on anticipated visitor numbers could be the safest way to build your business back sustainably. 


Training for success and safety

If you’re building a new team again from the ground up, think about how you’ll develop and implement the required product or service training, so everyone is well prepared for a hassle-free restart. Supported by Samoa Tourism Authority’s ongoing training programme to upskill employees around health measures and protocols for COVID-19, health and safety should be a key area of focus in any staff training programme.


Getting ready to sell again in a new world       

Once you’ve got your product up to speed and ready to go, you’ll need to plan for how you’ll sell and market your product again a soon as the opportunity arises. Being ready to sell straight away will be incredibly important given that we’re expecting to see tough competition in the Pacific region as international borders gradually reopen. 

Securing contracts with OTA’s and wholesalers, as well as creating your marketing plan and getting content refreshed and up to date should be a top priority to get ahead in the lead up to Samoa’s reopening. For example, you could use your platforms and channels to communicate renovations and new experiences, or even give potential customers peace of mind about your new health and safety protocols. And of course, welcome them back! 

Keep in mind that any imagery you use should be appropriate for the post-pandemic world, which might mean ruling out scenes of busy spaces or large groups in favour of simpler and more personalised messages for couples, singles and families.   

Finally – it’s exciting to be thinking about getting back up and running and inviting visitors to our beautiful island again. But after a long period of inactivity, it’ll take time to get prepared. In beautiful anticipation, think about everything you can do to help Samoa’s tourism industry recover as quickly and as painlessly as possible as we emerge from the pandemic.