After the shock of Covid-19 and its magnitude, quick spread and fatalities, the industry started looking into options and ways to recover.
I have seen hundreds of webinars where they all talked about how the tourism market will start, and they are right;
- Domestic Tourism
- Nearby destinations, or regional tourism
- Then International Tourism
Nearly all destinations aired videos of their amazing sites, sending out messages of solidarity. DMO’s used “visit later” or “see you soon” instead of “visit now” smartly addressing the people from the inside, helping future travellers experience the destination from home.
Messaging that makes sense, which are at the right time and match the needs of the traveller will up-lift your brand and create a personal relation with them. I believe that those messages were a normal reaction of us humans towards others, not eliminating the planning of how to deliver the message.
So when planning for recovery, you show solidarity, showcase your destination which is fine and almost all DMO’s have done this.
Yet, proper planning is still behind. You have to create this bond between you and your client, which is the TRUST.
Will travellers come to your destination if they don’t feel safe? Announcing what measures you took to contain this virus is needed to build up trust and confidence with your traveller. Protective measures you took will make all the difference. Very few DMO’s showed what they’ve done. I have personally talked about this on media several months ago, which I believe is an essential step towards recovery. UNWTO Secretary General said on May 15th that “TRUST IS THE NEW CURRENCY” adding “If people trust in governments and in the tourism sector to keep them safe from harm, they will indeed travel tomorrow”.
The next step you need to do when planning is to analyse your feeder markets and their needs, profile, average age group, etc.… to see if their needs still fits your current situation and have not changed. If it didn’t, then you look at their current status with the pandemic. According to that you decide what you want to do next.
If their needs became different, or their profile does not fit in for the time being for any reason, or if the feeder market is still suffering from the pandemic, you have to look for other source markets to attract. When doing so, there are many factors you have to take into consideration:
- Economic factor
- Policies of traveling of the feeder market travellers
- Who is travelling
- What are they looking for, what are their needs
Other factors you should consider:
- Do you have direct flights with them
- If not, is there a possibility to do joint marketing with a nearby destination to do combined packages to take advantage of their air connectivity
- Is your destination ready to receive them
- What product will you offer them
Among the products and experiences which might move first are:
- Adventure Tourism
- Luxury Tourism
- Medical & Wellness
- Educational Tourism
A few samples of markets worth looking into regardless which destination you represent:
- Czech Republic
Among other markets which are recovering.
Destinations should plan for the future, for 2021 and beyond, having multiple strategies:
- If we will have a vaccine
- I we will not have a vaccine
- If a 2nd or 3rd wave of the virus comes back
The challenge will be that all will try to attract the same traveller. Winners not only now, but for the future are those who will be able to deliver the proper message, to build trust and to offer clients safe enjoyable traveling instead of a stressful one.
Waiting for the perfect moment to come to do something is not right. That perfect moment will not come because this pandemic shuffled all cards. Do not just wait. Act now, plan now for a better future for all.
”Adel M. AminTravel & Tourism Expert // Former Deputy Managing Director - Jordan Tourism Board