Tourism

How travel marketers can remain engaged and plan for recovery

From the NSW bushfires to the global COVID-19 pandemic, travel and tourism industries have faced an uphill battle in Australia and New Zealand.

Whether it’s a natural disaster, an act of terrorism, political instability, or a change in consumer confidence, the travel and tourism industries are often the first sector to suffer.

With recent announcements of long-term border closures, airlines suspending operations and hotels closing, it might sound far-fetched to say “keep marketing”. However, it is important to stay in front of your consumer and keep your brand top of mind for when the travel industry does recover. Not going silent with your customer during these tumultuous periods is important and planning for the future could dramatically alter how your business exits this downturn.

But, you need to be smart about which customers you engage with, as well as when and how. Using this time to evaluate your marketing plans, adjust the tone of your communication and, above all, use a data-led approach to determine when to communicate is critical.

Here’s how:

Start now

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Although bookings are down significantly, we are seeing that there is a rise in interest to travel to or within Australia starting from September. At Sojern, we’ve seen a 60 per cent increase of people who searched for travel and flights to Australia between September and November this year.

Our data shows travellers are still searching, many with increased interest to book trips later this year. In today’s circumstances, it’s important to respond to real-time travel intent. For example, if someone searched to travel to Fiji later in the year, spend your marketing dollars wisely by focusing on engaging with them. Being personalised and targeted to your customer is of the same importance.

Assess which channels you are investing in

Now more than ever, consumers are online, especially during quarantine and social distancing. Time spent online by consumers has increased substantially, spending 7.3 hours each day on mobile internet – up 20 per cent since January.

Live streaming across YouTube and Facebook/Instagram and using video conferencing technology are taking centre stage – who would think a house party and workouts would move online? Subsequently, it is no surprise that subscription television services in Australia are experiencing spikes in usage.

Travellers are not using one channel when on the lookout for travel. Taking a multi-channel approach is key by leveraging websites, social media channels, connected TV, and mobile among others for travel marketing. Ultimately, whatever approach you take, it’s important to empathise and connect with travellers in a real and personalised way – demonstrate your true human side and tell real stories.

Get creative, look beyond the traditional and be ready for recovery

It is important to look beyond the traditional seasons and patterns of travel you know about and analyse the changing landscape to adjust your marketing budgets and strategies. Finding creative ways to serve the needs of customers and communities will go a long way.

Analyse what is changing and be prepared to reallocate budgets and creatives. People are spending more time at home and the out-of-home advertising industry has been affected by this, so adjust and adapt to the ever-changing landscape and invest in the right channels.

Tourism Australia is a good example of this, with their ‘With Love from Aus’ video campaign urging future holidaymakers dreaming of a visit down under to hold on and that Australia will be ready to welcome everybody once the world returns to normality.

With Love From Aus

❤️

Posted by Australia.com on Friday, 3 April 2020

 

In a report published by Sojern in late 2019, travel marketers in Australia and New Zealand believed that an area to invest in heavily for 2020 was interactive video ads and machine-learned generated audiences. With an ever-changing landscape and people working more remotely than ever before, using these can help you to keep up with the fast-paced technology.

Finally, there is no denying that the current pandemic has impacted our industry severely, unlike anything ever witnessed. It’s important to take a short- and long-term view. The one thing we know is that the industry will recover, and the data reflects travellers’ continued intent to travel. They may not be booking as quickly, but they are looking towards future travel, with increased interest later this year.

Use the time at hand to stick to the facts. Dig into the available data, understand which customers and markets are slowing down, and where you may be seeing your own unexpected increase. That way, you can streamline your focus and budgets so that you can intelligently spend while planning for foreseeable future changes.


Chris Blaine is the vice president of the EMEA and APAC regions at Sojern.

Featured image credit: iStock/HAKINMHAN

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

WATCH: Transport Workers’ Union stages ‘alternative’ Qantas AGM, complete with fake Alan Joyce

And by fake Alan Joyce, we mean an unidentified man putting on a very thick Irish accent and coming up with any excuse to say “tink” instead of “think”.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival cruise ship rescues 24 people off the coast of Florida

Just because most of the world’s cruise ships are currently out of action doesn’t mean they can’t perform a good deed every now and again.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu Tours is slinging free flights to Japan!

Who doesn’t love free airfares? Seriously though, point them out to us – we’d like to have a chat with them and find out what their problem is.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Travel DAZE 2020 is just around the corner! Have you registered?

Is your diary looking pretty empty in the first week of November? Well, consider it full now thanks to the only industry event of its scale in Australia this year: Travel DAZE 2020!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Air Canada’s longstanding president and CEO to depart, successor revealed

The changing of the guard at airlines continues apace, with Air Canada’s boss the latest to signal their exit.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AFTA’s Resilient Mind Program yields huge results

It appears alcohol-free days, cold showers and a digital detox are just what the doctor ordered for agents across Australia.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Queensland brewing company creates ‘The Big Slab’ attraction to boost state’s tourism industry

This bizarre new attraction has already drawn the likes of surfing legend Mick Fanning and his baby boy, and we have photographic evidence to prove it.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Club Med gets into the gift card game

This Christmas, your clients can treat friends and family with the gift of a much-needed holiday AND give you a tidy commission in one go!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Bombshells emerge over Western Sydney Airport land deal, as AFP investigates

The stench around the ‘Leppington Triangle’ deal, which saw taxpayers fork out 10 times what the land was valued as, is getting worse by the day.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Australia’s incoming passenger cards to get the chop

Are you one of those people who never seems to have a pen handy to fill out the incoming passenger card post-flight? Rejoice here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline embroiled in website scam duping travellers with fake tickets

Have you purchased some too-good-to-be-true-airfares for your clients recently? You might want to read this.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Fiji’s CEO to exit

After four-and-a-half years at the helm, Matt Stoeckel is saying ‘ni sa moce’ to Tourism Fiji.

Share

CommentComments