United States Destination Markets After The Coronavirus
Where Are We Today?
Today is April 7, 2020 and this is to help bring you a perspective for what to expect after the coronavirus in the travel and tourism industry. We know with proper social distancing and sanitary measures the Coronavirus begins to slow its growth and decline in cases. We also hope that the warming weather slows the spread as well, similar to the flu.
What Does This Mean for Destination Markets?
Our industry has seen a sudden impact from the spread of Coronavirus. Hospitality was one of the first areas to be affected. The good news is, because of the timing, as soon as this challenge is behind us there is going to be a lot of pent up demand.
People are sitting at home wanting to be traveling, but now are planning and researching their trips for when times are better. People who have future plans are still planning to make those trips. Most importantly, overseas and cruise traffic will take a lot longer to recover – this means that those travelers are now looking at local options here in the US.
But…things have still changed forever.
Your marketing message will need to be crafted to serve the new traveler. Travelers will have new fear barriers that you must overcome. People will want to vacation in a place where they feel safe and close to home. This will be the new normal for a long time.
Which Markets Will See the Most Demand First?
Drive-to markets will see the most demand right away. Urban and fly-to markets will take a little more time. European, Asian, and cruise traffic will take the longest. Staycations and short drives for short trips will become the new normal for some time. Air travel will become less desirable for those who can get in their cars and drive to a destination in less than a day for a much cheaper overall cost.
If you are in one of these drivable destinations, trust will be your biggest asset for months to come. Make sure your units are clean, your reviews are good, and your communication is top-notch. You have a chance to capture these travelers that may have never been to your destination if you serve them well.
Should Marketing Your Destination Ever Stop?
A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time. – Henry Ford
Even if it gets easy to market in your destination, marketing how great the area is should never stop. Instead, it should be optimized and promoted regularly to keep it top of mind.
Marketing your destination helps everyone get traffic to their websites. The community benefits each other. Once everyone drives interest to the destination there will be more people visiting your website than ever before thinking about their future travel. Will you create the opportunity to communicate with them when they start to make their final decisions? Is your website ready with email capture, specials, good photos and descriptions, and a solid call-to-action?
How Do I Start to Make These Changes?
To start converting reservations better, you’ll want to use tools that allow you to get in front of people ready to book a reservation then be able to start a conversation immediately. Remember these people on your website are going to book. The next question is whether they will choose you or your competitor. The brand who starts the conversation first will oftentimes WIN. Below I have listed some tools that will help you get in front of the people looking to book and I will also list conversation starter tools to WIN the booking.
Marketing for Intent Tools:
- Network Retargeting
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Retargeting
- Drip Email
Marketing Tools to Start The Conversation:
- Live Chat
- Follow up Drip email
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Retarget
*If you notice some of the same tools in each line that is because many of these tools can do both while keeping the marketing and conversation in the same channel. This always helps with conversion as well as tracking.