Live Blog: Travel and Tourism Content Resources

March 31, 2020 Talia van Everdingen

travel and tourism resources

In a time when there is an abundance of information, and the volume of resources can be overwhelming, we’d like to simplify how you access relevant, trustworthy information.

We’ve been busy reviewing and summarizing reputable blogs and webinars from across the travel and tourism industry related to the COVID-19 crisis. Below you'll find summaries of this content, along with links to the original sources, should you want to read or watch them to learn more.

The situation is constantly evolving and information can become stale quickly, so we’ll be updating this post regularly to keep it as current as possible. We hope you'll find this to be an easy way to stay informed in a time of constant change.   

Last updated: March 31, 2020

Content Summaries: March 22-28 

Destination Leaders, We Were Created For Such a Time as This.

Josh Collins
March 25, 2020 

Key points:

  • Destinations and regional organizations have an opportunity to lead the initiatives their communities need.
  • Inspire your audience to support local businesses by organizing activations to protect independently owned culture makers.
  • Leverage your data to segment and connect with local ambassadors. Develop feedback loops to gain greater understanding and insight into your audience while building trust with the community.

Destinations International: Weekly Coronavirus Industry Update Call

Panelists:
Laura Libby and Nate Huff, Miles Partnership
Chris Davidson and Jessica Schultz, MMGY Global
March 25, 2020

Key points:

  • Do not throw out your existing marketing strategy; instead, focus on pivoting and being proactive. Monitor micro trends on a weekly basis, with a focus on search demand, booking demand, and booking window.
  • Leverage data to find key audiences that will be first to travel, these may differ from your current core audiences.
  • Engage consumers where they are, in terms of content sources and emotional states. Create value and keep intent-based media live to remain top of mind.
  • Shift from a marketing to messaging approach, to align with consumers' needs and mindsets as these evolve. Create a fluid strategy and lean into storytelling, but be cautious with your call to action.
  • A COVID-19 communication roadmap with traveler profiles, as well as detailed steps to create new marketing plans are available in the original article.

Digital Tourism Think Tank: Travel Industry COVID-19 Impact Call

Nick Hall, CEO and Founder
March 24, 2020

This call features examples from the industry to show how various destinations are approaching the current situation. 

Key points:

  • Recovery time is uncertain and may be longer than initially expected.
  • DTTT is offering a free 3-month membership for any DMO worldwide.
  • DTTT has a new initiative: Support Tourism, Impact Real People. This Tourism Response Team includes a variety of crisis experts prepared to support DMOs and plan for recovery.
  • To join the community, visit https://industry.thinkdigital.travel/
  • Industry examples demonstrate the recovery scale for DMOs, as experiences differ across destinations.

Steal This Idea: DMO Tips in the Age of COVID-19

Laurie Jo Miller Farr, The Travel Vertical
March 24, 2020

Key points:

  • Create a space on your website to keep your community informed. This resource webpage should provide reliable information and cultivate trust with your audience.   
  • Use your resource page to feature engaging virtual tours, kids’ activities, examples to support local businesses. 
  • As part of your recovery strategy, use downtime to attend free online courses, such as Google Analytics Academy.
  • Use downtime for product development and improvements, such as updating your website to include accessibility features offered by local hotels and attractions.

Adapting to More Digital and Social Ways of Being in a Time of Crisis

Henk Campher, Hootsuite
March 23, 2020

Key Points:

Here are 3 ways you can adjust your communication strategy to become an industry leader and stay connected to your audience:

1. Use social to protect human connection - build impressions with customers through acts of kindness or messaging that makes people feel good. Increase engagement via Facebook groups, social video (TikTok), live-streaming, and 1:1 messaging.

2. Use social to mitigate business disruption - experiment with increased digital distribution of your services (ie virtual tutorials and online consultations).

3. Use the disruptive lessons of the present to build for the future - increase the use of real-time analytics and develop new remote strategies.

Content Marketing in a Time of Crisis

Stephanie McGrath
Vice President of Strategy at VERB Interactive
March 23, 2020

Key points:

  • Review scheduled posts and planned articles for insensitivities, pause where required.
  • Pause campaign ads.
  • Where appropriate, continue sharing stories to keep your brand top of mind.
  • Create content your audience can engage with and enjoy from home, such as recipes from local restaurants or virtual meet-ups.
  • Pivot social posts to UGC, highlighting positive memories with soft CTAs like ‘reminisce’.

Crisis Management: Mitigating the Effects of the Novel Coronavirus on Your Hotel’s Revenue

Dr. Detlev Remy, SIT Singapore
Michael Bennett, Cendyn
March 24, 2020

Key points:

  • Occupancy rates are declining significantly around the world. Do scenario planning for:
  1. Quick recovery (within a few months)
  2. Global slowdown (six months to a year)
  3. Recession (more than a year)
  • Craft messaging carefully, and be sensitive to fears and uncertainties about travel.
  • Demonstrate compassion and fairness in communications, pricing, and policies. 
  • Prepare and strategize for the influx of demand when travel begins.
  • Don't discount heavily, doing so might cause longer recovery rates.
  • Shift marketing focus to the bottom of the funnel (e.g. intent bookings).
  • Redefine customer engagement, pivot to virtual experiences, and think outside the box.

Financial Management in a Downturn: 8 Steps Tour Operators Should Take Right Now

Douglas Quinby, Arival and Kate Presto, Kis Accounting
March 23, 2020

Key Points:

  • The following steps will help you calculate your cash flow and develop strategies with the resources you have available:
  • Know your balances: cash, receivables, and bills.
  • Test multiple scenarios: near and long term to uncover cash needs and issues.
  • Justify every expense: calculate ROI for every item and vendor. Don't stop marketing.
  • Talk to your employees: work together to brainstorm how to save costs, avoid waste, and upsell opportunities.
  • Call vendors and lenders: negotiate interest rates, discounts, and payment terms.
  • Chase receivables: negotiate early collection terms, review existing refund and cancellation policies.
  • Get rid of stuff: sell inventory and equipment you don't need.
  • Look outside your business: get creative by connecting with your local community, raising capital, and researching government assistance or stimulus packages.

Skift: Some Asia Hotels Roll Out Quarantine Packages for Travelers Looking to Self-Isolate

Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, Skift
March 23, 2020

Key points:

  • Global hospitality lodging rates are drastically declining, forcing hotels to pivot from their typical service.
  • Hotels in Europe and the US are reutilizing their empty rooms as shelters for the homeless.
  • In Asia, hotels are becoming temporary housing for travelers and workers affected by border closures.  Self-isolation packages include 14 nights, with meal delivery to your room and special housekeeping services to monitor guests' conditions during their stay.

Tourism Marketing Agency: Coronavirus Battle Plan

Chris Torres, Tourism Marketing Agency
March 19, 2020

Key points:

  • Don’t avoid mentioning the virus, as everyone is concerned about it.
  • Postpone trips don’t cancel, relax your cancellation and payment terms.
  • Make meaningful relationships with competitors, work together to support local travel.
  • Promote local travel and focus on staycations this year.
  • Plan for 2021, assume 2020 is a write-off, instead get early bird deals in and keep cash flowing.
  • There is less competition now, keep some paid ads for brand awareness and lead generation.
  • Optimize SEO for future gains, work on your content marketing, and optimize your website.

Content Summaries: March 15-21

Destination Canada COVID-19 Update

Panelists:
Pierre Cleroux, Business Development Bank of Canada
Charlotte Bell, Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Philip Mondor, Tourism HR Canada
Elisabeth Lacoursiere, Parks Canada
Gloria Loree, Destination Canada
March 20, 2020  

Key points:

  • Pause paid media, as it’s not the right time to promote travel. Continue to post on organic social media platforms.
  • Protect budget, redeploy staff to work on plans for rebuilding and recovery.
  • Actively track travel intentions, via conversations in social media and media coverage.
  • Continue to monitor signals of when it's ok to promote tourism.
  • Suggested resource: smallbusiness.withgoogle.com.
  • Ensure all your info is shared with provincial organizations.

Coronavirus Survey Results: Impact on Hotels

Sherri Kimes, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
Karen Stephens, Revinate
Anisha Yadav, Revinate
March 19, 2020  

Key points:

  • Learn from past situations; it took 4 months for occupancy to bounce back in 2003 (post-SARS). 
  • Build market segments to target unique needs (ie loyalty programs, geo-targeting for staycations, promoting take out dining experiences).
  • Create qualified discounts for specific market segments.
  • Avoid reductions to your marketing budget, focus on brand awareness rather than call to actions.
  • Feature no strings attached cancellation policies.

Workshop: Pricing & Marketing in a Downturn

Douglas Quinby, Arival
Lukas C. C. Hempel, bookingkit
March 19, 2020

Key points:

Marketing Stages:

  • Lockdown (7 Weeks to 4 Months) / Market Volume = 0% of pre-crisis levels. China relieving lockdown after 7 weeks and moving to Phase 2, Europe expected to last longer due to health and economic growth.
  • Fade In (3 Months to 9 Months) / Market Volume = 30% of pre-crisis levels. Governments are actively engaging economic growth stimulus plans.
  • Rebound (1 Year to 3 Years) / Market Volume = 85% of pre-crisis levels. Domestic travel will recover faster than international travel, as domestic travel bans will be lifted sooner and people may feel safer locally.
  • The workshop also shared detailed pricing strategies, which you can review here.

Tourism Marketers Enter Wait-and-See Mode to Avoid Tone Deaf Campaigns

Rosie Spinks, Skift
March 19, 2020 

Key points:

  • Most DMOs have paused promotional campaigns with a shift to focus on public health and safety.
  • DMOs are currently extremely cautious with the tone of social posts.
  • Create plans to redeploy campaigns when the market is ready to travel again.
  • Gauge travel patterns and priorities via social media to monitor intent to travel.

Destinations International: Crisis Planning Webinar

Panelists:

Caitlyn Blizzard, CDME
Cathy Tull, Cartier Global Strategies
Laura Libby, Miles Partnership
Amanda Hills, MMGY Hills Balfour
Caroline Moultrie, MMGY Hills Balfour
Nick Evans, MMGY Hills Balfour
Jo Hartley, MMGY Hills Balfour

Key points:

  • Take care of your team and prepare them for change in their roles
  • Stay top of mind with travelers during this time, share content with dreaming or visit later perspective.
  • Identify your most important stakeholders and nurture these relationships.
  • Recognize your unsung heroes, and use this opportunity to tell their stories.
  • Lay the foundation for recovery, and focus on website improvements, content, sales materials, and great comeback stories.

Destinations International Coronavirus Industry Update

Don Welsh, Destinations International
Chris Thompson, Brand USA
Amir Eylon, Longwoods International
Andreas Weissenborn, Destinations International
March 18, 2020

Key points:

  • Prediction of a 60% increase in TV consumption; opportunity to use this channel to promote domestic tourism. They encourage all DMOs to share content with Brand USA to be featured on TV.
  • Paused promotion through paid media channels.
  • Focus on content creation and curation to prepare campaigns to deploy when travel increases.

What Destinations Can Do Now

Charles Harris, Visit Anaheim
March 13, 2020

Key points:

  • Strategize and create a plan for recovery.
  • Be visible and accessible to your community.
  • Be a resource, inform your audience in a timely manner.
  • Maintain your relationship with media contacts through successful and challenging times.
  • Promote the exchange of information and best practices with regional DMO partners via custom email lists.
  • Create an opt-in email list for all partners and stakeholders.

COVID-19 Pandemic Needs Rational Leadership From Tourism Destinations

The team at Destination Think
March 13, 2020

Key points:

  • Website and social media channels have become increasingly more important.
  • Pause existing campaigns and shift focus from travel promotion to community support.
  • Be present on social media, respond to individual concerns and avoid generic messaging.
  • Identify official sources of information and encourage health and safety first.
  • Update travelers about developments in the area and encourage future travel.

About the author

Talia van Everdingen

Talia is a traveler, startup lover, and storyteller, and feels lucky to be working at the intersection of all three as CrowdRiff's Content Marketing Manager. When she’s not writing, you’ll either find her hiking up a mountain or snowboarding down it. Next travel destination: Newfoundland!

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