A ‘Digital Safety Net’ has helped European small businesses during COVID-19. This analysis specifically looks at the importance of digital tools for SMEs in the travel industry, which are defined as small businesses working in either accommodations (hotels, etc.) or in the travel or touring agency spaces. It is based on a subset of responses from a survey of 5,011 small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) leaders in 28 European countries across a variety of business sizes and industries conducted from Nov 16–Dec 21, 2020.
Our research identified three categories of European SMEs in the travel industry, based on how they characterized the pre-pandemic importance of digital tools to their business operations, and their actual use of digital tools entering the pandemic.
are Digitally Advanced (+24% above general EU average);
they view digital tools as an integral part of doing business and use a larger number of tools (>10)
are Digitally Evolving (-15% below general EU average);
they view digital tools as important but use fewer tools (<10), they are in transition
are Digitally Uncertain (-9% below general EU average);
they remain unsure of the value digital tools can have and use significantly fewer tools (<10)
Significantly more of Europe’s Travel SMEs are digitally advanced compared to Europe-wide averages. Those advanced SMEs had significantly better revenue than their less-advanced peer SMEs.
European Travel SMEs that increased digital tool use during the pandemic (+6% increase over general EU SMEs)
Increase in revenue performance during the pandemic by Advanced Travel SMEs (-29%) vs. Uncertain Travel SMEs (-60%)
Not all European Travel SMEs use and value digital tools the same way, thus their outlooks and future plans for adopting tools reflect this. Additionally, not all digital tools are equally helpful to European Travel SMEs, with E-commerce, data analytics, employee management and collaboration tools, conferring a more competitive advantage on the SMEs using them.
European Travel SMEs who felt comfortable using digital tools pre-pandemic ( -10% below the general EU SME average)
European Travel SME leaders’ top concerns about digital tools are:
- Not having enough time (27% vs. +11% vs. general EU SME average)
- Return on investment (26% vs. -1% vs. general EU SME average)
- Data privacy (26% vs. +1% vs. general EU SME average)
- Cost (26% vs. +3% vs. general EU SME average)
European Travel SMEs who are planning to increase their use of digital tools post-pandemic
See their Stories
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