Case study: Planning to reopen

Last week the Government announced a new roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the Covid-19 crisis. The news brought hope for some businesses, with unlimited outdoor exercise, and certain sporting activities, now permitted. Through our Tourism Industry Panel, and contact with our partners, we’re regularly speaking to the industry and discussing plans for reopening.

We spoke to Simon Laing, founder of CBK’s Adventure Co., about how they are adapting, his plans for reopening and what they will be doing differently to keep their staff and customers safe.


What have you been focusing on when you have been unable to open to the public?

We have mostly been retraining and learning how to produce online content such as videos and webinars. This is helping us keep in touch with our customers in the short term but is also a possible commercial avenue for us in the long term during the colder winter months, when we struggle to attract face-to-face customers.

In addition I have been busy talking to other businesses in the sector and navigating the HMRC grants and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. I’ve also spent a lot of time considering how we can safely reopen while keeping staff and customers safe.


What are your plans for re-opening?

We plan to offer a small number of hire slots for kayaks and standup paddleboards from Friday 15 May. Initially, these will be for members of the same household and limited in the area of operation. Safety is paramount for us, both of our customers and staff, so we’ll be meeting and greeting outdoors, and operating in line with social distancing protocol. We have suspended the use of our indoor facilities for now (until at least 1 June) as we make adjustments for social distancing.

Moving forward, from 1 June we hope to offer guided tours and lessons. To make these as safe as possible for everyone, we are retraining staff on methods for avoiding close contact.


How have you been engaging with your customers during lockdown?

We’ve been keeping in regular contact with our customers and we received 400 responses to a survey that we put out to all those who had opted in to receive emails from us. We asked customers what their top expectations are for a business such as ours during these challenging times and it revealed that the top five measures customers expect from us are; social distancing, queue management, compliance with Coastguard rules, compliance with RNLI advice and cleaning and sanitising of public spaces and equipment. Measures that were seen as not as important to our customers were screening, masks and gloves.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we have received and look forward to welcoming our customers back.