Change is a key fact of life in business today, especially when it comes to travel. Destination marketers with the ability to adapt and handle that change, even master it, are going to be the ones in high demand.

Travel plays a huge role in online search, with 1 out of every 10 searches on Google being related to travel.  Travel is ingrained in everything that we do, and everything we are. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the travel industry in a big way but we know from experience with our own clients over the last few months that DMOs are resilient and have quickly been able to shift their marketing to find ways to better serve their communities and build lasting value.

The time has now come to shift the focus away from crisis and begin to think about recovery and a return to travel. Economic indicators, easing of government restrictions in some parts of the world and recent increases in DMO web traffic are starting to show signs of moving out of the current phase of crisis and into a new phase of recovery.  But this won't happen overnight. At Simpleview, we believe that this will play out in four phases over the course of the next 2-3 years.

Phase 1: Destination Maintain

Objective: Connect and engage with your community

The primary focus for destination marketers in this phase is to provide value for their communities and local businesses. Attention should be given to developing three types of new content: informational, utility and entertainment.

Key focus:

  • Creating locally focused content
  • SEO to optimize for new queries
  • Thoughtful email marketing to increase engagement
  • Social Media to tell local stories

Time:  Now. We build resiliency and engagement with our communities.

Phase 2: Destination Rebound

Objective: Rethink marketing for the new normal

Economic indicators and recent increases in DMO web traffic are starting to show signs of moving to recovery. Implement the learnings from the crisis phase into your marketing strategy to build toward sustained growth. Drive market and regional campaigns to leverage pent-up demand, and use paid media to amplify messaging tailored to safety.

Key focus:

  • Paid Media (PPC, video, social) to boost traffic
  • SEO to optimize for new content opportunities
  • Email Marketing to amplify messages to new audiences
  • Social Media to connect with existing audiences

Time: Approx. next 2-12 months

Phase 3: Destination Growth

Objective: Re-establish brand authority

After you’ve adjusted your strategy to account for new behaviors and traveler needs, the shift to growth should occur. Leverage the learnings from Phase 2 to increase budget in effective channels and engineer new marketing automation funnels to begin fine-tuning your efforts.

Key focus:

  • Remarketing to leverage new conversion insights
  • Marketing Automation to streamline new processes
  • App Promotion to provide better personalisation

Time:  Approx. next 12-24 months

Phase 4: Destination Thrive

Objective: Create omni-channel synergy

This is the time to fully leverage your hard work and thrive. During this phase, attention should be given to creating omni-channel synergy, syncing your messaging and channels from top to bottom. Scale high performing channels and fully harvest the demand your top of funnel awareness campaigns have been creating. Use insights gained from your contact lists, data, and web analytics to do prospecting and build look-a-like audiences for incremental growth.

Key focus:

  • Harvesting the demand created by your content marketing efforts
  • Scale paid media and social efforts
  • Leverage your new audiences
  • Omni-channel synergy

Time:  Approx. next 24 months and beyond

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Marketing in the new normal is an opportunity for DMOs.  It may seem overwhelming now but with the right tools, the right planning and the right messaging, destination marketers can use these recent changes to deliver more meaningful experiences for their visitors.

1. Focus on value and needs

Things have shifted and consumers feel vulnerable and nervous about travel.  Your target audience will evolve and change in these new times, and DMOs will need to adapt.  Focus on the factors that motivate them to inspire new marketing strategies that create a more loyal audience.

2. Let new travel behaviours guide your strategy

Savvy destination marketers should consider all interactions with their visitors and let that guide their strategy. It’s not only about booking and arrivals, but more importantly about re-engaging in meaningful ways that build relationships and trust over time.

3. Make data-informed decisions

Data brings both opportunity and complexity to destination marketing. In travel, people often take weeks and even months to plan their vacations, often with dozens of digital touch-points along the way. Simplify your marketing metrics to focus more on KPIs that drive overall growth.

4. Rebuild relationships early in recovery with search

Research shows that web traffic is beginning to return and paid search is going to lead the way in getting traffic back to your website as quickly as possible. With new keyword opportunities and pent-up demand, look for paid search to be a top channel early in recovery.

If you questions or need any help with any of the above, please don't hesitate to contact your Account Manager or give us a call on +44 (0)330 440 1825.

Related

0 Comments

Comments

Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply