How Helicopter Tours Are Getting Guests Into the Sky During COVID-19
It’s no secret that the pandemic has gutted business for airlines. But smaller sectors of the air travel industry—like helicopter tours—have also been deeply affected by the sharp downturns in demand. Most helicopter sightseeing companies across the U.S. shuttered for weeks or even months starting in March 2020 as local restrictions fluctuated and tourism numbers waned.
With the COVID-19 outbreak nearing the one-year mark in the U.S., helicopter tour companies are not only figuring out how to reopen with new safety protocols, but attempting to pivot their offerings based on current demand. Some have even found ways to improve their experiences for travelers.
For Las Vegas-based Maverick Helicopters, reopening after nearly three months of being closed was not an easy undertaking. “That transition was really difficult,” says Joe Munoz, Maverick’s director of flight operations and a helicopter pilot with 24 years of experience. “It was a learning process because we’ve never had anything like this; it was pretty scary because we didn’t know how long this [pandemic] was going to go on.” After tourism in Vegas shut down at the start of COVID-19, the company used the pause in operations to brainstorm new safety rules, with the goal to be the city’s first helicopter tour outfit to reopen. When Maverick re-opened its doors right before Memorial Day 2020, there was no problem attracting customers again.
“The first week back we were very pleased to see guests coming back, and we actually saw a big increase in local guests,” says Bryan Kroten, Maverick’s vice president of marketing. Previously, that demographic wasn’t a significant portion of the brand’s clients. “I think people wanted to get out of their house and do something in their own backyard. That was a huge shift for us.” Bookings for night tours over The Strip saw a major jump, according to Kroten. At the same time requests for Grand Canyon helicopter tours, primarily booked by international tourists, took a dip.
Original post found here: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/how-helicopter-tours-are-getting-guests-into-the-sky-during-covid-19