Nishant Kashikar, Country Manger – India and Gulf, Tourism Australia emphasizes that this is the time for marketers in the tourism sector to connect with the traveller
Covid-19 has ushered in an unprecedented degree of change. What was unthinkable before is now the new normal. A world that was being increasingly connected has now been compelled to ensure ‘social distance’. The lockdown has brought tourism to a halt. In addition, the nature of this virus will change the course of travel and tourism. While it will take some time for free movement to commence, this is a crucial time for marketers in this space to stay closer to the traveller than ever. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is reality that we must be mindful of, and therefore embrace novel ways to keep the connect alive between travellers and the destination. Here is how:
Bring The Experience To Their Living Rooms
With their movements limited, there has been an undeniable surge in screen time. It will be a while until people travel, especially internationally. However, why not treat them to snackable virtual experiences in the meanwhile? From 360-degree panoramic viewing experiences to virtual tours and classes by locals, there are several exciting avenues at your disposal to immerse your travellers’ into your destination offerings. For instance, Tourism Australia had curated a weekend-long “Live from Aus.” program – a live broadcast of quintessential Australian experiences that are otherwise only available in person.
Assurance Of Safety
I cannot emphasize enough the significance of ‘safety from Covid’ in the preferences of travellers. They will only consider destinations that assure them of safety throughout the course of their journey. Therefore, it is critical to communicate safety protocols that are being put in place across all aspects – from airlines to accommodations to tourist attractions or even the local café. Travellers clearly will hold tourism providers that communicate this in good stead when they plan their next holiday. Additionally, getting familiar with new norms may not come naturally to people. It is imperative that we educate travellers about this, at all points so they know what to expect. For instance, there might be new health-related protocols that countries might implement for visas. Do not assume people will know. Go out of your way to apprise them through your channels as well as your partners.
Moving Beyond Conventional Advertising
The lockdown has seen influencer related content go through the roof. Savvy influencers who have come up with creative ways of engaging their audiences during this period have gained a massive following. So is the case with OTT platforms. This has made traditional advertising channels like print and outdoor less effective. This is an opportune time for brands to look at these new engagement formats and play around with them to reach target audiences exactly where they are. In fact, influencers also add that much needed human connect that individuals yearn for in the times of social distancing.
Customization Is Key
Each nation and even the markets within the nation are bound to be at different stages of pandemic at a given time. In a situation such as this, it would be unfair for us to assume a ‘one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, while some regions permit and even promote travel others may still be in lockdown. Therefore, making it essential for marketers to study and analyze each target market from a microscopic lens before drawing up their campaigns.
Promote Experiences That Are Fitment To Our New Normal
In a pre Covid-19 world, travelers flocked to vibrant cities, bustling historical spots and busy streets to make the most out of their experience in a new land. However, this pandemic has altered the landscape for years to come, as travelers will now prefer experiences that are more outdoorsy, less crowded and practice implementation of safety protocols. As marketers, we must keep up with this and ensure that we not only inform customers of the hygiene and safety protocols being followed but also highlight to them experiences and destinations, such as wandering the rainforest, watersports at a secluded beach or aboriginal experiences in sparsely populated regions; that allow for social distancing.