Tourism Marketing with Covid-19
Well it sure has been an interesting journey – Covid 19 has challenged us all to find new ways to generate revenue, and maximise our much smaller marketing budgets. So what have we learned?
Here are my top 10 tips for marketing a tourism business during Covid-19, an unprecedented global pandemic to which NZ has responded with the toughest of local lockdowns.
- Trim, but don’t turn off your advertising. If you’re going through a period where you’re receiving cancellations, you particularly want to dial down your brand advertising – let them find you via your organic listing, not your paid one. PPC advertising should mean that if you’re not getting clicks that will lead to bookings then you won’t be paying, but we all know there are times when customers are just thinking and planning about what they might do in the future but can’t book now. You still want to be found by those customers and ensure you’re in their consideration set for when the time is right. So reduce your spend and accept a lower return on your ad spend for a while if you can.
- Keep up your social media presence and regular email newsletters, it’s important your customers still feel a sense of connection with you and know that you’re there for them, come what may.
- Have a clearly stated lockdown cancellation policy and procedures for managing Covid-19 (goes without saying I’m sure). This may soon be extended to include a policy on staff and customer vaccination status.
- Be consistent and fair in your application of said policies.
- Continue to ask for reviews and share these on your channels, especially ones that highlight how reasonable you’ve been in dealing with Covid lockdowns.
- Watch out for government funding opportunities (eg. Tourism Transition Funding, Business Strategy and Mental Health Support) and make sure you apply if you are eligible. That’s what the funding is there for. It’ll take a little time and patience to go through the application process, but you are just as deserving as the next business so make sure you get your share.
- Look for partnership/package opportunities with other tourism providers, so you can enhance your offering, come up with a great price for the whole deal and leverage the power of both your databases.
- With international borders closed you’ll be relying on domestic customers who love a deal and will pressure you to reduce your prices. Be careful here, don’t start or follow an industry downward trend, or set expectations you will have to reverse when lockdown lifts. Keep your cool and once lockdown lifts, you’ll be busy again with your loyal customers back in droves at reasonable rates.
- Content is king – blog posts, web updates, newsletter material, great images and quirky videos – start getting some material in the bank now so that as borders open and life gets busier that you don’t drop the ball on your social media/eDM efforts. Ask past customers for holiday pics you can use, shoot/create some video snips and craft some nice blog posts and web pages while you can, ensuring of course that you hit the important keywords you want to be found for.
- And perhaps most important of all, take the time to really think about your point of difference, revisit (or create) your marketing plan, talk to customers about what they are looking forward to doing when lockdown lifts and what you can do to help make that happen. In other words, do the important strategic thinking that you struggle to get to when business as usual keeps you fully occupied!
Good luck…and if you need some guidance, get in touch!