What business looks like in the post-Covid era

THURSDAY, MAY 07, 2020

The retail and manufacturing sectors are likely to recover more quickly in Thailand and other countries from the Covid-19 fallout than the tourism, airline and other tourism-related industries, a Bank of Thailand survey learned. 

Hard times are ahead for all tourism-related industries, ranging from hotels and airlines to tourist destinations, a survey conducted by the central bank’s Business Liaison Programme showed. 
Though some hotels have adapted to the situation by focusing on food and food delivery, and tuk tuk and taxi drivers have gone into the delivery business, signs of recovery for this sector will only be seen in the fourth quarter and it will take another couple of years before things return to normal. 
As for overseas travel, many major airlines have laid off a large number of staff, and are using this time of grounding to conduct repairs and maintenance of their aircraft. 
However, demand for smaller airlines is expected to rise in the future due to lower operation and maintenance costs. 
China is working on pulling its tourism business out of the crisis by creating a central labour pool for restaurants, hotels and related businesses. It has also revamped its e-tourist platforms by offering new services in the post-Covid era and is retraining its workforce. 
Retailers have decided to go online and are applying social-media tools as well as content marketing to sell their products. Online sales promotions have intensified, as new products like hand gel, face masks, cleaning tools and food are being introduced.
Retailers are also offering home delivery or pick-up services.
In China, businesses are creating applications that allow buyers to have other people purchase goods for them. Department stores are also encouraging their staff to sell products online via the WeChat social-media platform. 
The manufacturing sector has ground to a halt due to a disruption in the supply chain. SMEs have been hit hard, though some auto-part manufacturers have started producing ambulance stretchers and electronic parts producers have started making medical devices. 
The manufacturing industry is expected to start recovering once lockdown restrictions are eased across the world. The production of electrical home appliances has gradually started, now that Chinese factories have resumed their production.
Orders for rubber products have also started coming in from China. 
Thailand’s manufacturing sector is expected to return to normal in the fourth quarter, as it will need to source raw materials from different suppliers in order to diversify its risks. Manufacturers are also expected to spend more on digital platforms and automation. 
Food producers in China, meanwhile, are stocking up on produce and raw materials and focusing more on online platforms. Producers in the United States and Japan have also come up with contingency plans for logistics and are also focusing on online marketing, targeting potential customers and focusing on both virtual and live marketing campaigns. 
Property developers have intensified their sales promotions by setting up sales booths and holding online exhibitions. They are also putting off new projects and focusing on real demand. 
Due to concerns about oversupply, the property sector is only expected to recover once the Covid-19 outbreak ends. 
Developers in the US and China are also focusing on online and lives sales, and have developed online booking systems to increase their sales, the survey found.