Last Updated : 2020-06-01 16:08:01
One of the industries for which the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the hardest will be for tourism and all its associated sectors. The disease has completely stopped the activity and has also done so in the final stretch of one of its highlights in the travel calendar, that of the Easter holidays (whatever happens are already a lost business window).
The losses will be millions, with closed hotels and planes on the ground and, not least, a certain fear that will remain when all this happens. From the sector, it is already commented that the coup will be worse than 9/11 and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers together and, in Spain alone, losses of more than 60,000 million euros are expected. The daily layoff figures are already staggering. Therefore, in this context, thinking about tourism marketing seems almost unthinkable. Should companies continue to campaign? Or is it not very wise to send email marketing campaigns selling airline tickets and talking about vacations when your consumers are terrified? The truth is that the situation is complicated and does not have an instruction manual, but the marketers cannot be paralyzed by fear. Some are doing good tourist marketing, without appearing to be 'profiteers'.
This is the case of tourism of Portugal, which has just launched a campaign for people to stay at home, which is moving while working as an invitation to visit the country when all this is over. It is time to stop, repeats the voiceover that narrates the advertising (voiceover that makes it clear that it was recorded by phone and not in a studio). The narrator insists that it is the perfect time not to visit any place. There are many dream places, but they will be there when we can enjoy them.
The campaign, therefore, works as what is traditional in tourism marketing, a cover letter from the destination, but as a transmitter of the key message these days. And, also, the campaign plays with the usual slogan they use in their messages, turning it into one with a message. Finland has done something similar, which in its latest media communication campaign in Spain has been used not to sell the country as a tourist destination but to review traditional Finnish practices to make staying at home happier. It is still a VisitFinland communication and tourism information about the country, but with a prism connected to what citizens should do, stay at home. Tips for Finnish calm at home involve reading, listening to the soothing sounds of Finnish Lapland forests, or making yourself a cinnamon bun at home.
In a way, you could say that you can continue to do tourism marketing these days, as long as you are very aware of what is being counted and how consumers are going to receive it. Messages cannot minimize the moment and seem to be inviting you to move right now. And that is exactly what is difficult for marketers in the tourism industry. As indicated in the analysis of Skift at the beginning of the crisis, the industry is standing and waiting. As a marketing manager explained to them, everything they should do right now is against the DNA of tourism marketers, but it is exactly what they should do.
Campaigns invite you to stay home, even using colloquial language and connecting on social media with what consumers are saying. When staythehome became a trend, Visit Estonia used it, even though fuck is not an acceptable word in corporate communication (at least in the official tourism service of a country).
Marketers must do the complicated job of maintaining the idea of the destination as a dream space, thus recovering travelers after the crisis, but also taking care of what they say right now so that it does not seem insensitive.
About Author : Sazid is a freelance writer and editor passionate about writing on the realm of business tech. He currently works with SMEs through North America and Europe.
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