Tourist Destination COVID Marketing

Goals

To understand how tourist destinations have marketed themselves on social media amid the lockdowns of COVID 19, including tactics, messages, tools, methods of interaction, advertising, personality, and repositioning, etc, along with any metrics of a positive or successful response. This information will be used in order to help with strategies for marketing other destinations, as well as for helpful content on a company website.

Early Findings

  • The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is using Instagram for their "Message in the Sand" campaign in hopes of boosting the economy of the island post-virus, and “spreading kindness and encouraging travelers to keep Antigua in mind for a future trips.”
  • These video and photographic messages in the sand will be posted weekly, written into one of Antigua’s 365 beaches, with the first message "Stay Safe" written in the sand of Fort James Beach in Antigua. The first Instagram post stated: "Spread words of love, encouragement, and kindness around the world by replying to this post with a message you would like us to share.. Be sure to come back every Monday to check our channels and see if your message was written in the sand from which of our 365 beaches we will send your message from.. Be Safe and Be Well.." along with the hashtags "#messagesinthesand, #loveantiguabarbuda, #stayhome, and #staysafe."
  • This article from Revenue Hub shares tourism brands that have used social media effectively to market during the pandemic, including airlines, hotels, and museums, providing specific examples of social media posts and pages.
  • The Revenue Hub article shares how hotels are now focused on "spreading positivity... posting about wellness, self-care, outdoors and even at-home tips." Silverado Resorts & Spa for example are educating consumers about plants that build immune system, while The Don Ce Sar launched a #ThinkPink campaign spreading positivity to all their customers and followers.
  • An article from Hospitalitynet.com states that popular hotel destinations must focus on brand awareness at this time, with "tasteful messaging that drives traffic to valuable content." Hotel brands must stay connected to prior guests, sharing content that people value and enjoy on their social media pages. They state that "all messaging should be empathetic, positive, and overall uplifting," and that during a crisis like this one, "people will remember how your brand made them feel, and providing the right content can strengthen the brand relationship long-term."
  • Hospitality.net also states that there is "no better time for the hotel to be focused on the greater good and giving back to the community." They state that popular hotel brands and destinations should consider the little ways they can give, such as a charity allowing loyalty members to donate to the cause in exchange for points and rewards for future stays, or even complimentary rooms or an exclusive rate to healthcare workers and first responders.
  • This article from Later.com focuses on how brands should communicate through social media during this crisis, including listening and acknowledging to customers, continuing to post consistently, being empathetic, and also posting original organic content, among others.
  • An interesting marketing option for popular destinations has been to campaign for people to stay home and not visit the destinations, all the while keeping their brands in people's minds and sending positive and funny messages that will keep people coming back to them after the crisis has subsided.
  • “In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address your goals.”

Summary

  • Initial research revealed a specific case study of how certain island destinations are using social media to market during COVID19, as well as other tourism brands and hotels that are also successfully doing the same. We also uncovered articles on how to use social media marketing best practices specifically for hotels during this time, as well as in general for all brands, and also a unique stay at home marketing campaign being used by many popular destinations.

Proposed next steps:

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