Originally, I wanted to write a series of blogs called The Post-Pandemic Marketing Series, but it’s obvious we’re still very much in the throes of the disease. We have no real certainty about what's going to happen in the autumn, at Christmas, or next year, for that matter – except that things are just as likely to change on a sixpence as they are not.
Riding the rollercoaster
But what is certain is that the pandemic has forced almost every travel and tourism business to rethink and redesign how it goes about not only operating, but also marketing itself. And what I’ve found especially encouraging is how many have done it so swiftly, smoothly and successfully over the last 12-18 months.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say this steepest of learning curves has taught our industry to become more creative, more resilient, more responsive, and, infinitely, more nimble than it’s ever been. I believe it’s given us a glimpse into what the future of travel and tourism will look like post-pandemic. And from my particular point of view, how businesses in our industry will communicate with audiences and encourage them to interact with their brands.
Catching sight of the future
The reason I feel confident about this is because last summer, when the industry temporarily opened up between lockdowns, we had a brief, but revealing, look into how people reacted to their new-found freedom.
During four short weeks over July and August 2020, Digital Visitor campaigns were responsible for £7m worth of ticket sales. I say that not to brag, but to highlight the depth and breadth of the rebound. We expected a bounce-back of sorts and worked hard to prepare for one, but this blew our clients’ expectations and our own out of the water.
And while this time around people might be a bit more cautious, we are once again seeing a similar growth spike for our clients as travel and commerce open up across the country and, indeed, across some parts of continental Europe.
As I’ve argued before in various blogs, and in my whitepaper An Industry Renewed: how travel and tourism businesses can thrive in 2021 and beyond, the way travel and tourism businesses communicate with their audiences has changed forever. For all the havoc the pandemic wreaked on our industry, it strong-armed it into getting creative and experimenting with new ways of doing things. Remember the apps to order drinks in the pub? The museums creating digital tours? Online-ticketing sales only. Conferences and events going entirely online?
There will be no going back for many of these innovations as customers have accepted them as their preferred way of doing things – and the end of the pandemic, whenever that will be, won’t change that fact.
The “old ways” were good… while they lasted
Necessity really has been the mother of invention for many travel and tourism businesses – not only in how they do things, but also in how they talk to their passengers, their visitors, their guests, or their customers. And to such an extent that going back to the ”old ways” makes neither operational nor financial nor marketing sense.
And it’s in this backdrop, that I’d like to address the major challenges of marketing a travel and tourism business, so that when opportunity presents itself, you can make the most of it – even if it only lasts a few short weeks.
In part two…
For my second next article in this series, I’ll be looking at “Seasonal marketing”, why it’s become a bit of a millstone around the neck of our industry, and how – with a change in mindset and a bit of creativity – we can flatten the peaks and troughs that run so many travel and tourism businesses ragged.
See you next time…
For a more in-depth read…download An Industry Renewed: how travel and tourism businesses can thrive in 2021 and beyond.