The Covid-19 pandemic makes the travel market likely more competitive. Popular destinations that used to attract many tourists may no longer be suitable, instead, there are opportunities for small, domestic, and less-crowded destinations. Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) will need to make changes in their marketing strategies to adapt to the new context.
Keep engagement with travelers
Although in the current context, most destinations cannot completely open to welcome travelers back, but destination should not stop marketing and engaging with travelers. The popular destinations before Covid-19 may no longer have advantages, instead, destinations that are more suitable reaching travelers now are more likely to become options for visiting in the future. Therefore, DMOs should develop marketing campaigns to reach and keep engaging with potential travelers, keep them dreaming to travel, and reassure them with information about these safety measures at destinations.
In the early period of the pandemic, when countries still closed borders to control the spread of the virus and they did not know when to reopen, many destinations launched campaigns on social media with the message “travel later”. Most of the campaigns were conducted in the form of videos, reminding travelers to comply with social distance measures and travel restrictions, but still inspiring them through beautiful images of the destinations. For example, Switzerland conveyed the message “Dream now – Travel later”, Portugal launched the video “Can’t skip hope”, the Madeira Islands spread the message “Stay home now – Dream online – Visit us later”, Dubai promised to visitors “Till we meet again”.
Building trust of travelers
One of the most obvious changes that can be seen in traveler insights amid Covid-19 is that safety becomes a top priority when they consider traveling. Therefore, travelers will look for destinations that can make them trust and are responsible for travelers’ health, safety and rights. Building trust of travelers is essential now to encourage them to visit in the future and thus the destination will also have a chance to recover sooner.
To build the trust of travelers, DMOs can provide information about the reopenings, safety and sanitation measures, as well as technology in the destinations to protect their health. Updating this kind of information also helps the destination’s brand image to be present more frequently and keep engaging with travelers.
Additionally, ensuring a safe destination requires DMOs to work closely with stakeholders to create end-to-end safe experiences for travelers. From transportations, accommodations to experiencing, eating, shopping, need the service providers apply appropriate hygiene standards to build confidence for travelers throughout their journey. Therefore, DMOs need to work with relevant stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to deliver consistent safety messages to travelers.
Developing products in line with new trends
As travelers’ needs and behaviors have changed, tourism products in the destinations also need to be changed. Safety is the first priority. Therefore, experiences with privacy, less interaction, short-term tours, tours for individual or small group will be more interested for travelers.
DMOs can do research and use the data to evaluate travelers’ perceptions of the safety measures implemented, as well as monitor to promptly identify changes in behavior and concern of travelers. Therefore, DMOs can capture changes in trends and preferences of travelers to develop more suitable products.