Being an Entrepreneur in the COVID era
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Like all tour businesses in New York City, Urban Village Tours was forced to close in mid-March (March 17th) and have yet to reopen. I thought we were at a good point about to add our eighth Prohibition Pub Crawl and editing our other tours and doing our best to land on our own two feet. And then our worlds were shook to the core with the coronavirus. Nobody was sure what was going to happen. All is we could see on the ground in New York City were ambulances and lots of sick denizens. Sadly many of these people would succumb to the disease. It was a scary and uncertain time especially for many in the New York City business community. In hospitality and tourism, what would emerge would be the advent of the virtual tour. A virtual tour is essentially a tour held on a teleconferencing app like Zoom or Webex and your "customers" could enjoy an "experience" from right in front of their laptop or desktop computer. I would attend several seminars on how to produce these tours. Although as of today, we decided to not market any virtual tours, we are still considering making a few to see how they sell or how much interest there would be. I personally went on a couple of tours which basically were a lecture and a slideshow of the topics or locales of where the tour took place. Fast forward to now, mid-June, and New York City has flattened the curve! The numbers went straight down due to government effectiveness and now the business community is following suit to re-open in a four phase timetable. Obviously, this will be a slow and drawn out process and tourism is essentially the last phase (Phase IV), thus it maybe a while where you see a double decker bus or a cruise ship in the New York Harbor. However, we believe that walking tours could be the canary in the coal mine. Walking tours can be limited in audience, social distancing can be practiced and face coverings will be mandatory. Thus with the proper precautions, these tours can be phased in much earlier than the industry as a whole will be phased in. We just need the demand to grow so that businesses will have someone to sell to. Having said this, please look forward to Urban Village Tour's reopening in July! We will be engaging in "pub-less" pub crawls. They will be capped at ten passengers per tour and social distancing will be enforced. Face coverings will be mandatory. So please check the website or social media for more details but we are excited to once again be offering our tours and sharing the best experiences New York City has to offer. Here's looking at you!