Communities around North America are preparing to reopen. Smart preparation can help destination organizations drive recovery, and welcome visitors back as travel restrictions begin to relax.
We've talked before about how to use technology to amplify local businesses during the shutdown. Now, all the systems you have set up, including online forms and CRM data collection, can be refocused to help manage rapidly-shifting business information as your community begins to reopen.
To prepare for recovery, provide channels for businesses to update hours or share important information, such as cleaning procedures or social distancing measures. iDSS users should consider adding a new detail type for listings to help local businesses share critical health and safety information.
Health and safety information can be pulled from iDSS onto your website to keep visitors informed. Please note that you may need to consult with your web developer to ensure your website can recognize and display this new information you are adding to your CRM database.
Communication is key to help inform local businesses that you are offering valuable resources and visibility. Send regular emails to your partners, reminding them that you are here to help, so you're top of mind as their business operations shift over the coming weeks.
It's also a good idea to run fresh queries in the CRM database to make sure you're capturing all your active partners. Use the "Contacts Active" query to quickly find all the active partners in your database, and quickly create a new distribution list in iDSS Send or follow-up tasks for your email communication.
As destinations prepare to welcome back travelers, careful campaign planning can set the stage for a strong recovery. As the recovery kicks off, we'll be seeing an even noisier and more competitive media landscape. That means your campaign messaging really needs to stand out, but also be sensitive to the needs of your locals and travelers.
Avoid the impulse to use platitudes, or restate the obvious. Instead, listen to your community and find ways to creatively demonstrate your brand benefits to your target audience. This will lay the foundation for a strong recovery and build a movement locally among your residents.
Right now, major search providers and advertising technologies are very sensitive to coronavirus and COVID-19 content. These platforms are actively trying to block profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic, so make sure yours and your partners' content does not violate these platforms' terms of service. If your content is in violation, you may be blocked from reaching your target audience at a critical time.
Georgia's Blue Ridge, located 2 hours from Atlanta, offers travelers a picturesque mountain escape immersed in nature that provides a fun and relaxing experience. In early 2020, Tempest and Blue Ridge worked together to develop a travel marketing campaign built off a central brand positioning statement:
City dwellers seeking an escape far from ordinary will feel re-energized by the picturesque landscape of Georgia’s Blue Ridge. With countless activities waiting in the mountains, our quaint town is where both relaxation and adventure live.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Tempest worked with Blue Ridge to adjust the messaging of the campaign to welcome travelers back during the summer months as travelers looked for opportunities to reconnect and relax. The campaign creative is sensitive to social distancing and showcases small groups, families, and couples in outdoor settings. The messaging acknowledges the unique needs of travelers during the recovery while communicating the destination's brand benefits.
Destination organizations are well positioned to help lead a strong economic recovery for their communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your local businesses and hospitality partners will be looking to your organization for guidance and resources. As you begin developing your own community plans and guidelines, here are some helpful examples from other travel organizations:
1. Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau crafted a plan to help guide its local business community toward recovery and reopening.
2. The US Travel Association created a comprehensive health and safety guide for communities to reopen responsibly.