Future travellers need inspirational stories and beautiful pictures of your destination, so they can plan their first post-lockdown trip.
They are hungry for something to look forward to after months of distress. There’s a huge question mark over international air travel and any form of travel that confines groups of passengers closely together for a lengthy period of time – so what are the guarantees? We know that strict sanitation protocols are non-negotiables to determine when and how tourism can resume. Local and regional travel by road or rail with reduced capacity look set to drive recovery.
Seize this opportunity! Your best attractions, iconic sites and experiences have a built-in audience, primed to celebrate what’s good in their destination and to learn what’s new.
Tactic #1: Feed the local pride
Industry leaders agree that domestic travel will be first to recover. Market your destination with local travellers front of mind.
Celebrate local heroes
Tell tales of heroism amid the crisis. Acknowledge local brands that support front-line workers & re-purpose equipment/services to help fight the virus. There are plenty of good news stories about local venues offered up as quarantine locations, restaurants providing meals to medical staff, and local breweries making hand sanitisers. Celebrate those who put themselves at risk and offer their services to benefit the community.
Local achievements are shared achievements, that can instill a sense of pride and make people want to give back to their community however they can. Travellers will remember their generosity of spirit and your brand’s for highlighting their courageous acts.
Celebrate your destination
Keep interest in your destination alive by feeding your audience tasty morsels of background information. Little-known facts, pop culture tidbits, and historical anecdotes serve to inspire novices and showcase the diverse tastes that your destination caters to.
Compile a series of content stories with imagery, video and soundbites to put a face/voice to the reference, and share them in bite-sized ‘Did you know’ snippets. Memes are fun to share – create a few of your own with pics of sites, attractions and destination icons, inject a little humour or reverence, and make them sticky.
Celebrate local initiatives
This virus has turned our consumption focus inward. We’re encouraged to buy locally-produced goods, support local brands and our local economies. Use this opportunity to identify brands offering exciting new experiences that showcase the diversity of your destination. From niche interests to local events and festivals, locals will have greater appreciation for what’s out there to enjoy.
Feature local producers and service providers prominently in your marketing, especially the smaller companies trying to make their mark. There’s pride in home-made, home-grown, and a growing preference for authentic, farm-to-table produce or similar. Endorse local initiatives and partnerships – it celebrates what’s best in your destination and reflects local pride.
Tactic #2: Connect with your community
While people are still stuck indoors, less distracted by life outside, they’re on their devices, looking to connect. Seize this opportunity to demonstrate your sense of community and altruism.
Hashtag your way into conversations
Research and use trendy social media hashtags, like and follow the chatter. Listen to what trade partners and travellers are sharing, and add your own voice. Engage potential visitors and draw their attention to your brand. Have your social media, blog and website content ready with informative, entertaining and inspiring content.
People are looking for something to give them hope and realistic ideas for #postlockdowntravel. Present some fun, practical #BeatTheVirus checklists on coping tips, how to pack/prepare for travel in the new normal, safety precautions to take, etc. Keep your tone respectful and show sympathy for their concerns.
Positive messaging with pay-off
Travellers want to hear from experts what there is to look forward to. If they’ve missed out on a festival, like cherry trees blossoming through the start of the Northern spring, then talk about the next festival in 2021. The cherries will bloom again! Share your best pics of the phenomenon with a value-added offer to start thinking positively of future travel.
The same applies to postponed events, like sports tournaments. While they wait for professional sport and travel to resume, whet the appetites of those sports-hungry punters. Engage local sports heroes to collaborate on video interviews – they can share fitness tutorials, talk about past triumphs and future challenges. It will attract attention to your social media profiles, create buzz among sports lovers, and become a PR opportunity for local athletes.
Keep your communications uplifting and choose your words carefully. If you’re pragmatic in your messaging, your followers will take your lead.
Keep it real
Every day we’re assaulted by Corona-ridden news, many of us remain in lockdown with restricted movement; some of us work from home. We need protective gear and take extra precautions just to go grocery shopping. That’s how we’re told to live to stay safe.
Consistent messaging across all spheres of life – from home base to the shops to travel destinations – can only be helpful. Update your Corona news with the latest data from your destination. Don’t sugarcoat because reality is a harder sell.
Travellers will look to you for leadership on the shape of future travel in your destination. Details of the protocols you’ve implemented around social/physical distancing at this time must be prominent. It tells travellers: I can trust this brand to be honest and upfront about how things are, how I will be protected during travel. It helps them make safe, informed choices.
Tactic #3: Create memorable moments
Your daily content shares can become the countdown to travel. Feed the long-suppressed wanderlust with the moments that make your destination memorable.
A taste of the real thing
In the approach to restart, you can set travellers up with emotive snapshots of what they can experience down the road from where they live. Curate a photo journal of moments in your destination, depending on what it has to offer. Destinations with great natural beauty could create moments of zen, with images that calm the mind and soothe the soul. Bustling urban destinations could create moments of re-connection, with images of public spaces, plazas and coffee shops, slowly reopening. Reflect the character of your destination, whatever that is. And each daily shared moment becomes another reason to visit your destination.
Tasty curated content
Take a beautiful still photograph or extend the moment into a short video taken on your phone. It connects people with your destination and is easy to share. If you have the equipment to create meatier videos to upload to YouTube, this adds a fresh element to your marketing collateral. Contract some local influencers or bloggers to do what they do best and add their perspective to your content marketing mix. Invest in some virtual tours – 360 degree pics or videos – to make viewers feel like they’re in the experience.
It’s always been a great place to visit and travellers are waiting to be welcomed back. Seize this moment to position your destination as the place to be as we restart.