Travel & Tourism Series: Four Marketing Considerations to Make during COVID-19

By: Kaitlin Williams, Account Director

Part II of our Travel and Tourism series, below, explores how to market during COVID-19.

Investing in Organic Channels

Once COVID-19 hit and lockdown measures were implemented, most travel and tourism organizations stopped advertising. Instead, many shifted their focus to unpaid channels, especially organic. As soon as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, content consumption increased dramatically as consumers looked for information, entertainment, and research, according to content-distribution platform Nativo. Additional data from Conductor shows that one-third of marketers increased investment in low-cost channels, like organic, during a recession. During this time, it’s important to stay top of mind so when people are ready to plan travel again, they think of you.

Maintaining a Video Presence

As travelers hunt for information, they are consuming videos at much higher rates. In fact, video consumption has increased 1.5 times, and video view rates increased 40% from February to March, according to Knowing video has become a high-engagement medium, travel and tourism advertisers should continue to promote video content to consumers to stay relevant and maintain top position in the consideration set when they think about travelling again.

Developing Content for Audio Platforms

Spending more time at home has caused audio consumption to increase as people turn to podcasts for news and heightened music streaming. As such, audio inventory has grown 5x, according to Advertise on podcasts, radio and streaming music services, like Pandora and Spotify, to reach new, captive customers and maintain a visibility among your current customers.

Assuaging Customer Concerns through Flexibility

As lockdown measures are being lifted, travel and tourism companies are beginning to advertise again. Booyah client Mountain Collective and IKON started advertising their 2020/2021 season passes across digital media channels. In their advertising, both passes promote discounts for 2019/2020 passholders whose season was cut short; extend discounts for new passholders; and focus on hopeful, forward-thinking messaging. Additionally, to allay customer uncertainty around the upcoming season, IKON added on “Adventure Assurance”, a pass feature which guarantees the transfer of 2020/2021 passes to the 2021/2022 season, should the upcoming season not go forward.

Marketing Checklist for Travel and Tourism Brands

As your travel/tourism brand considers marketing during this time of uncertainty, it’s important to keep the following in mind:

  • – Maintain your brand image and relationships with customers by providing helpful organic content and videos
  • – Shift your messaging to highlight how your company is responding to COVID-19 by outlining special discounts, flexibility, and cleanliness procedures, to name a few
  • – Continue marketing on high-engagement channels like video and audio platforms to keep your brand top of mind as people start to think about traveling again
  • – Focus on awareness, not performance. People will not be ready to purchase and make travel plans soon, so KPIs during this time should be awareness-focused, not performance-focused

Head back to our blog next week for Part III: “Travel & Tourism: Social Advertising during COVID-19″, which will dive into social media trends and how to best leverage this channel for your marketing efforts.

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