National Travel and Tourism Week is coming up from May 3rd through May 9th. With travel and tourism so restricted, what can you do now to support your community’s tourism industry?
As states slowly begin lifting restrictions, this is a time to plan, make adjustments, and help your community know what is available to experience in their city – phase by phase.
Here are some tips for you to consider. (Note: Some tips will depend on which phase we are in of businesses reopening.)
1. Promote staycations.
Families have spent the past couple of months being more cooped up than ever. With parents working from home and kids stuck indoors, everyone will be ready to get out of the house as soon as restrictions are slowly lifted.
While traveling across the country might not be an option at the moment, we can start by feeling comfortable traveling within a short distance.
Embrace the idea of promoting locally and getting residents and local partners to see what is available right in their own backyard.
For example, families may enjoy a stay at a hotel down the street for a change of pace. If there’s a swimming pool for the kids… that’s a vacation!
People will be desperate to get out and have experiences once they can. With your help, they can create a “bucket list” of opportunities available locally!
2. Make adjustments as needed so that patrons can safely visit as restrictions are lifted, phase by phase.
For breweries or wineries, perhaps you sell entrance tickets at a particular time of day so that you can manage the amount of people coming.
Maybe you adjust your hours and the layout of tables so that people can safely visit and enjoy a day out.
At outdoor activities, maybe you bring multiple food trucks – keeping them at a distance from one another.
The easier you can make it for patrons to keep the necessarily social distance, the more they will be able to relax, enjoy a day out, and want to return again!
3. Incentivize patrons to book stays at hotels now or in the future.
Recently I saw an advertisement for a hotel in Jefferson County that said “Tired of working from home? Stay in our hotel for $35/night!”
Offering local residents a great deal on hotel stays can be a great option. Perhaps you have a boutique hotel that offers a special experience – this would be a time to incentivize the local community to enjoy a stay there.
You can also offer travel specials that can be used at a later date, which can be a big win for consumers looking to save on future travel.
Look to Black Friday deals as an example of how to incentivize patrons. Are there “Travel and Tourism Week” deals you can offer? If you can’t roll them out this week, how about “Christmas in July” specials?
4. Speak to your target market’s current needs and desires in your marketing.
When promoting, remember to speak directly to your target market and their current experience.
What are you offering and how might your audience’s needs be different now? This should be evident in your messaging.
Are you appealing to families with kids ready to play outside? Girlfriends who haven’t seen each other in months excited to meet for cocktails? Date night for the couple that has been quarantined together and limited to Netflix nights on the couch?
The world is a lot different for your target customer than it was a few months ago, and your messaging needs to acknowledge that.
5. Begin testing advertisements.
Use this time to start testing some Facebook ads.
You can use a minimal dollar amount while experimenting so that when you are fully open, you have an idea of what messaging, images, and calls-to-action work with your audience.
If you need to remain fully closed for a while longer, you can test ads offering virtual tours. Those will help you begin to plan for promoting in-person tours once they are available.
6. Help your businesses brainstorm ideas.
This is going to be a different travel season.
As a visitor’s bureau or tourism office, help your businesses to brainstorm ideas like these. Have open conversations and help them figure out how they can adjust with the restrictions each step of the way.
Eventually, we will get back to “normal” and in the meantime, we will need to adjust to the “new normal.”
Whether businesses need to remain fully closed a while longer or have modified operations, help them to plan for an eventual full recovery.
What other ways can your community be promoted during Travel and Tourism Week and beyond? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
‘Til next time,