Market Research: A Roadmap Through a Pandemic, with Amir Eylon

Episode 173

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A thirty-plus year veteran of the Travel & Tourism industry, Amir leads the entire Longwoods International team responsible for the development and execution of all facets of the organization – from program development to customer acquisition and retention. He joined Longwoods in 2015 from his previous role as Vice President, Partner Engagement with Brand USA, the public-private partnership serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the US. He led the team responsible for helping to increase Brand USA’s partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout Brand USA’s deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure, Brand USA grew its base to 475 partners, comprising destination marketing organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators. Prior to joining Brand USA, Amir served as Director of the Ohio Office of Tourism. Under his leadership, the state’s marketing programs realized a tremendous return on investment and contributed to the growth of the state’s $40 billion tourism economy. The programs he developed leveraged industry and nontraditional partnerships that generated $14 in new state and local taxes for every $1 invested and included active participation by thousands of Ohio’s tourism-related businesses. He has also served as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Assistant Director of the Ohio Tourism Division, and Sales & Marketing Manager with the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau. He has been recognized with a number of Industry honors including Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing award (2014) by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); The Ohio Tourism Industry’s Highest Honor, The Paul Sherlock Award; and The State of Ohio Distinguished Service Medal. Amir holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton. In this episode of Destination on the Left, Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International, joins us to share his story and talk about market research in travel and tourism. Amir discusses some of the trends he has seen as DMOs rush to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and he talks about the changes in traveler sentiment as the pandemic continues to unfold.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Amir’s journey into destination marketing and the travel and tourism industry
  • How Longwoods Intl. is tracking traveler sentiment
  • How Amir is seeing destinations respond to the global pandemic
  • How Longwoods Intl. is adapting their business model to meet the needs of the COVID-19 crisis
  • How destinations are using creativity to respond to the pandemic
  • How traveler sentiment has changed since the pandemic was declared a national emergency
  • Why crises produce some of the travel and tourism industry’s best work
  • The short term and long term responses we are seeing in DMOs across the country

Traveler Sentiment Amidst the COVID-Crisis

Amir Eylon is the President and CEO at Longwoods International, a respected leader in market research that helps drive destinations toward their goals. Amir and his team have been tracking traveler sentiment for years, but in the midst of this global pandemic, Longwoods International has started tracking traveler sentiment every week. Their objective is to inform and serve the travel and tourism industry as we collaborate to determine the best response to the COVID-crisis.

Researching Traveler Sentiment

Amir is a marketer who happens to run a market research company, so he speaks our language. He understands how to use research to produce robust marketing strategies and he has been in the travel and tourism industry for almost thirty-two years. In destination marketing, research not only provides us with a roadmap of where to go, it provides us with information about whether our strategy is working. It enables us to accomplish more with our ideas and resources which is especially important when the going gets rough.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Some of our industry’s best work has come out of crises. And be it 9/11, the great recession, or the COVID-crisis, the great minds of travel and tourism have continued to shine by taking creativity, collaboration, and partnerships to a new level. Traveler sentiment has changed drastically since the pandemic was declared a national emergency. The numbers are not necessarily surprising, but it’s not all bad news either. The silver lining in all of this is that Americans are still looking to travel in the next six months. Many trips have been postponed or canceled, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a beacon of hope that we will all make it through.

Nicole Mahoney: 00:26 Hi listeners, before diving into this week’s episode, I have an exciting announcement. We will be hosting our second destination on the left virtual summit featuring 15 amazing speakers that will be held on April 1st through the third. The great thing about this summit is it’s free. There is no travel cost for you and you can do it from the comfort of your own office. Go to destination on the forward slash summit for more details. The spring destination on the left virtual summit is focused on the tourism marketing revolution. With so many rapid changes in our industry, we need to stay ahead of the curve and this summit will help you do just that. We have three theme days, digital marketing, travel, trade marketing and niche markets so you can pick the topics that are most interesting to you or attend all three days and gain insight into many facets of the industry. Again, check it forward slash summit hello listeners, this is Nicole Mahoney, host of destination on the left.

Nicole Mahoney: 01:26 Welcome to this week’s episode with another interesting guest, Amir Ayllon from Longwoods international. Amir and I scheduled this interview six weeks ago when Kovac 19 was something China was dealing with and Europe was starting to experience. Little did we know that when it came time to record this interview, we would be in our second week of shelter in place and that the economy would have come to a grinding halt. However, I can’t think of a better guest to have on the show during these uncertain times. Amir and his team at Longwood’s. I’ve been tracking the sentiment of American travelers for years, but in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic. They are now tracking it weekly to help inform answer of the travel industry as we all learn together on the best response to these times. I am so excited to share this conversation with all of you.

Nicole Mahoney: 02:19 It gave me hope and helped me move my mind off of survival mode and onto the future. I hope it does the same for you. First a little more about Amir, a 30 plus year veteran of the travel and tourism industry. Amir leads the entire team responsible for the development and execution of all facets of the Longwood’s organization from program development to customer acquisition and retention. He joined Longwood’s in 2015 from his previous role as vice president partner engagement with brand USA, the public private partnerships serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the U S he led the team responsible for helping to increase brand USA partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout. Brand USA is deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure. Brand USA grew its space to 475 partners comprised of destination marketing organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators.

Nicole Mahoney: 03:28 Prior to joining brand USA, Amir served as director of the Ohio office prism. Under his leadership, the state’s marketing programs realized a tremendous return on investment and contributed to the growth of the state’s $40 billion tourism economy. The programs he developed, leveraged industry and non traditional partnerships. The generated $14 in new state and local taxes for every $1 invested and included active participation by the [inaudible] thousands of Ohio’s tourism related businesses. He has also served as executive vice president of the Ohio hotel and lodging association, assistant director of the Ohio tourism division and sales and marketing manager. With this do Ben County conference and visitors Bureau. Amir has been recognized with a number of industry honors, including top 25 extraordinary minds in sales and marketing award in 2014 by the hospitality sales and marketing association international. Oh HIO tourism industry’s highest honor, the Paul Sherlock award and the state of Ohio distinguished service metal. Amir holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the university of Dayton. Now let’s get into the conversation. Amir, thank you so much for joining us today on destination. On the left. I know our listeners are going to learn so much from you today, but before we get started, can you share your story and your journey in your own words? I find it gives us so much more context to the conversation.

Amir Eylon: 05:00 Sure. Well, thank you for having me, Nicole. It’s great to be here. Um, you know, I guess when people ask me tell my story, I say I’m a, uh, I’m a marketer who happens to run market research company. So, uh, not a market, I’m not a researcher, but I’m a, I’m a marketing guy, knows how to use her research. Um, I’ve been in the travel and tourism industry for, uh, almost 32 years now. Uh, started my first job when I was in college, took a job and evenings and weekends being the airport shuttle, van driver and bellman and for Ramada and right by the [inaudible], Dayton, Ohio air international airport. And, uh, all and after about a year of doing that, all of a sudden realized that, uh, I don’t want to be an attorney. I was a political science major pre law. I said, I don’t want that.

Amir Eylon: 05:53 I want to, I want to career in hotels and this cool tourism industry. And Mmm, kind of worked my way up the stent and lodging sector, a short sentence, Ronald Carter sector, um, back in the lodging sector. And then so in love with this thing called destination marketing. And, uh, uh, since the, uh, late nineties, uh, was working in demos, uh, pretty much for about, so 20 plus years of that career. And, uh, uh, and obviously a along the way learned the importance of market research and how, uh, all the greatest marketing efforts are built on a solid foundation of research and the importance of accountability, uh, for your efforts. Uh, not knowing, not only the research, showing you the roadmap of where you need to go, but also telling your story, what you accomplish, whether it’s working or not, fell in love with that aspect. And about almost about four and a half years ago was made the offer. I couldn’t refuse to, uh, come on board and help run this, uh, amazing company. Longwoods international.

Nicole Mahoney: 06:58 That’s a, that’s really awesome. I, I love how so many times, I’m, I guess kind of stumble into the tourism industry. So you’re on this path to be a lawyer, but you end up a bellman at a hotel.

Amir Eylon: 07:12 It took actually about 20 years post-graduation before I, uh, use my political science degree when I became the assistant state director and then the state tourism. So, so, uh, so, uh, kinda, kinda took a while, but the degree to work, but I got it in there and my professors as I rent to every now and then excited to hear that I was able to use it.

Nicole Mahoney: 07:35 Let’s see. Use. Yeah, absolutely. Well, I also do believe that I find with my guests, a lot of times, whatever degrees you have, they do become relevant at some point in our journey. So

Amir Eylon: 07:47 he did.

Nicole Mahoney: 07:48 Yeah, I think that, that’s really, really awesome. Oh, so Amir, uh, you know, this podcasts, we like to focus on creativity and collaboration and that you and I had, it’s scheduled this time to talk. Mmm. I think well over a month ago. Uh, but we find ourselves, uh, actually recording this in the midst of what is now the Corona virus pandemic that has, um, shut down travel and, uh, told many people to stay home. And so we are in all of a sudden these very uncertain times. And, um, one of the things that I always love to learn from my guests and I know you’ll, you’ll really be able to give us some good insight is, is that how do we face, you know, a challenge or adversity and kind of the creativity that comes out of being faced with that challenge. And so I thought maybe we [inaudible] take this conversation a little different direction today and really talk about what, what is it first that you know, Longwood’s, um, is doing in this time.

Amir Eylon: 08:55 And then hopefully

Amir Eylon: 08:57 once we get through that, we’ll be able to talk a little bit about what you’re seeing out there in the industry. Sure, sure. Mmm. Well, let’s see. Uh, you know, not that sounded cliche like pulling cliches out, but you know, the old saying, necessity is the mother of invention, right? Some of our industries best work, uh, happened as a result of crises. Uh, the thing is we saw coming out of nine 11 the things we saw coming out of the great recession, uh, in terms of both creativity partnerships, uh, non traditional partnerships, uh, et cetera that have emerged. Uh, you know, I, I was faced with that my career. Uh, I was an assistant state tourism director for the state of Ohio, nine 11 hit. We had, yeah, Justin deal with that whole industry. Uh, um, when I was appointed state tourism director, uh, no, the first year I was there, I was given a record, a budget level for, for Ohio tourism.

Amir Eylon: 09:52 And then, uh, uh, you know, 12 to 18 months later, uh, watched the bottom fallout, zeroed out for a period actually in our funding, scrape pennies back to buy them together and there. And that took a lot of creativity, ingenuity and, uh, but out of those types of actions, you know, uh, we took it opportunities in industry too, create and March forward with a plan for dedicated funding model for tourism, marketing and promotion, state of Ohio. He successfully got, that, took a about two and a half, three years. We got there. Never let a good crisis go, you know, go wasted. Right. But I misquoted that movie, but Christ is going to wave. So there you go. Um, you know, and, and I think we’re going to see some more things coming out out of this crisis. Um, us as a company along with international, you know, we are a market research consultancy.

Amir Eylon: 10:48 Uh, when we kind of saw the headwinds where the, it was from blowing in, uh, we, uh, fortuitously, about three and a half weeks, three, three and a half weeks ago, uh, we had already know company’s planning retreat and then we met U S headquarters here in Columbus, Ohio. And, uh, we all got together and we started, this was, we moved the sun number one item up in the agenda saying, you know, this coming up, there may be a crisis. What are we able to do to help the industry? What’s the right thing? What can we do? And for us, um, you know, we are small to mid size company. We don’t have a, uh, you know, we can’t issue grants or write out Dre checks and things like that. Uh, um, we, we, we don’t have either. You know, we’re, we’re our workforces, all 14 of us.

Amir Eylon: 11:38 We don’t have, uh, you know, a giant manpower to deploy and help, no work community relief efforts or whatever needs to happen. So for us, it was, um, let’s do what we do best or the industry. And you know, the one tools we have at our is our brains are the collective brain power of a very talented team that I’m fortunate enough to help manage, uh, as well as Mmm. The ability to tap into, uh, the American traveler and get into their mindset. So we started, uh, a couple of weeks ago, uh, started fielding what is now going to be a weekly, a study of American traveler sentiment in light of the current covert 19 crisis. Yeah. And we just every week about every Wednesday and Thursday, we go into the field and ask American travelers would do a representative sample about a thousand, uh, traveling Americans and the [inaudible] ask some questions. Mmm.

Amir Eylon: 12:38 About their intent to travel in the next six months. Uh, it’s a simple surveys just finding out what they’re thinking, where they’re going. Um, what were the reminders and giving that pulse check to the industry. Um, you know, right now it’s not a lot of good news out there, obviously. Uh, but it hopefully will give us a good bellwether of, you know, as the industry looks at, you know, when is the right time, when will people start thinking about going again so far. So this morning actually we just released the second wave, uh, the results of the second wave of this, of the survey. So, uh, last week, last week, or at least the benchmark survey, which we took two weeks ago. Um, and that benchmark survey happened literally hours before the president declared a national emergency. Uh, and so we got this week’s results in past weeks results in, uh, we just shared and boy, what a difference a week.

Amir Eylon: 13:27 Do you want me to share some of those highlights here? Yes, please. I would love that. So depending on this podcast runs, you know, we may already have the third way, but look for it every Tuesday we’ll release the results. Mmm. You know, basically what we see is that, uh, 75% of American travelers planning to travel in the next six months are changing their plans due to Corona virus a week ago. That was 58%. So, um, you know, almost a 20 point spike, um, in just one week, but in a week, again, national emergency, several States going into, you know, basically a shelter in place mode, uh, as well as, you know, the closing of Europe to travel. Right. So, so that’s impact. How are they changing their plans? Mmm. Again, that’s okay. Last Thursday, 48% of American travel traveling Americans. Uh, we’re canceling a trip completely that was up from 28% the week before 39% reduced their travel plans that actually held steady.

Amir Eylon: 14:36 Uh, then a couple of points a week over week. Mmm. We saw a dip in those changing their destination from a fly destination to you driving destination two weeks ago. That was 30%. We’re changing to a regional drive type of trip and now that’s down to 18%. And uh, of course people will continue to, uh, decline, you know, your national obviously greatly. Um, we asked people about the factors impacting their decision to travel the next six months, not just coronavirus, you know, concerns about the economy, transportation costs, et cetera, uh, there and of course, um, what we saw was that, uh, this week, 58% of American traveling Americans indicated that coronavirus would greatly impact their decision to travel in the next six months. That’s up from 35% before. So again, we saw a 23% increase in that [inaudible] now some silver lining.

Amir Eylon: 15:35 Let’s do it. [inaudible] silver lining though. For our listeners sake, how do they get these results that you’re releasing every Tuesday? Sure. Um, well the several different channels you can go to our website. Um, Longwood’s dash. Alright. so long would type in T You can also, uh, we also will put it, we put it up on our Facebook page and are national and uh, uh, Twitter feeds, et cetera. Okay. You can find on any of those channels. Terrific. Or shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to add you on the distribution list when it comes out. Terrific. Thank you very much. Yes, let’s hear the silver lining. So I’m still rolling because frankly, actually a mirror, these numbers aren’t surprising, right? Given where we are, they’re not surprising and probably going to go down a little further, more safe shelter in place. Oh.

Amir Eylon: 16:33 Ask for people to shelter in place and so forth. Um, but it will bought them out eventually and eventually we will get to upticks in the positive direction. Mmm. The silver lining is of those traveling Americans that we fold, 76% told us, but they are still planning travel in the next six months. So people are still looking at travel. They’re just looking at it with a longer view. Right. The average American is basically telling us that they’re still thinking they’re going to get a summer vacation. They still going to get it. It just, yeah. May not be may, June, maybe, you know, a July, August. I know you’ve had some conversations recently. Yeah. Folks in the data analytics world and they’re probably telling you some more things that they’re seeing bookings or being deferred to her later in the summer versus versus on the front end.

Amir Eylon: 17:25 So, so, um, you know, if there’s a silver lining, that’s it. People aren’t saying, I’m not going to travel any more. They’re saying I’m not going to travel now. And, uh, and, and that’s really important for the longterm health of our industry. Yeah. Short term, you know, have no words. You know, we’re all, we’re all kind of stunned at how quickly things have come, grinding to a halt, but, but longterm. Mmm. Very viable and, and we will get through this. And when we come out, uh, the other two, the other side, they’re there, they’re going to be a lot of pent up demand. History shows us. But when, you know, this is unproven, the magnitude of this is unprecedented, but history shows us whether it’s big recessions or nine 11 type events, but there’s always a pent up demand that comes to stuff the other side.

Amir Eylon: 18:11 Absolutely. Absolutely. And so, you know, a lot of the people that I’m talking to and uh, our clients and I, and I know our listeners are trying to figure out, once they get through survival mode, okay, what does this hap homebound economy mean and, and how do I stabilize for the short term? Yeah. What are you seeing first of all from deemos and the folks that you’re talking to, what are they doing in the short term? And then I want to talk a little bit more about no, the longterm and the recovery, but, well, what are you seeing people doing just immediately right now? I think, I think those, uh, you know, what we’ve seen and the best examples, I think the best, uh, practices right now that we’re seeing out there are those who have changed their messaging. [inaudible] one of just general aspects, operational and community support.

Amir Eylon: 19:09 Uh, you know, we’ve seen a lot of destinations, marketing organizations as, as restaurants are being shut down [inaudible] because our facility onsite dining, uh, and have to turn to Mmm, you carry out and delivery only. So you see a lot of destination marketing organizations, uh, promoting to the room presence too. Diane local order out, you know, carry on. I think some day, actually the day we’re talking to March 24th is um, national carry out national takeout day. Yes, it is. Okay. So, so you see the air station, Margaret organizations, you know, all of a sudden activating, you know, online dining guides, you know, reaching out to the restaurant community is finding out who’s open, who’s offering carry out and delivery and helping get that information into the hands. Again, primarily targeted for the locals. Right. Um, the other side of the things are, you know, a lot of the traditional paid media efforts all been paused.

Amir Eylon: 20:03 Now the great majority of them paused. Um, and, and, and the greater focus, you know, a little bit of paid search because people are still searching. They’re either searching to, uh, you know, postpone, rescheduled travel, uh, yes, et cetera. Or they’re searching just still because you know, people, and this will happen, I think more as people will talk about it more later, but a shelter in place, they’ll start looking towards the future and they’ll be some aspirational searching right now. But, but you see the social media channels really do a great job of uh, uh, for DMO is really doing a great job of uh, you know, not focusing on transactional but aspirational. Just reminding people that, you know, life goes on. No, you can’t come right now, but we’re here. [inaudible] and just kind of giving people a little bit of extra stress or anxiety relief as well as, you know, just sending a nice, friendly message job.

Amir Eylon: 20:56 Good example. That’s a business event. I had a brilliant video posted the other day or um, you know, right now Springs in the Savannah and if you’ve ever been to their historic squares and so forth, flowers blooming and everything gorgeous. Um, and no, a lot of visitors are missing that and can’t get obviously experienced that. So they send what other people out the camera basically said, well, you know, we know you can’t come to Savannah to experience the blooms, but we’re going to bring the blooms to you. So they had them running around the squares and showing, you know, some of the greatest things for insights and so forth. Basically reminding everybody that, look, you can’t see this now, but when you’re ready, flowers will still be here. Yeah, I’ll still be here. Um, you see a lot of, you know, sunsets and waterfalls from other destinations that have those assets and things like that. Uh, you know, beautiful speech, sunrises and things like that. That’s the kind of messaging, you know, people are looking, it’s a mental escape right now. A little bit. We’ll turn the news off. You know, you have the news on 24, seven right now, all you’re doing is causing stress to yourself.

Amir Eylon: 21:57 So having that kind of messaging is there, uh, is, is a good thing and the right thing to do. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s tasteful. It’s not pushing a transaction, uh, for people that right now are worried about their own livelihoods, that are worried about the safety of getting out and traveling and so forth. It’s just keeping things nice and soft.

Nicole Mahoney: 22:21 Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned Savannah, that’s where I was, is this was, um, coming at us actually. So I feel fortunate that I got to see some early spring flowers in Savannah just a week and a half ago before this avalanche really came at us. But I think that that’s a really great point. You know, I was talking with a local winery owner and she said, Mmm. With her marketing team, um, they’re talking about people want to be entertained. So w what is it that we can do to help entertain, you know, while people are, you know, sheltering in place or social distances.

Amir Eylon: 23:01 So, so yeah, you’re saying you’re seeing destinations put together like education, you know, the kids are home, right. And while they’re doing online learning, that’s not taking up the full traditional school day. Uh, I have a son as a senior in high school and I think he comes down, he comes downstairs after about two and a half, three hours online and says, says, mom, dad, I’m home from school. What do you doing the rest of the day? Right. Yeah, we’ve got, Mmm. You know, we’ve got opportunities here too, you know, educational kits, virtual scavenger hunt. Um, again, if, you know, a lot, a lot of these destination marketing teams have such creative talent, uh, on their own staff, uh, there and, and, and so, so are there things that they can do occasionally, even if they were sheltered in their own home or wherever, you know, put up a funny backdrop of some, you know, [inaudible], uh, photos on the back, on the wall behind you, have your, uh, your destination and start some, you know, kind of fun little livestreaming talk shows. Uh, no, not long, but just, you know, little bits of, maybe there’s a certain time every day for 20 minutes that, you know, you can little Q and a or have some fun things. Just all kinds of, uh, creative approaches like that. I’ve already seen some of those, uh, happening. Um, you know, one of the things that’s happening now is the phenomenon of the virtual happy hours that you participated in one of those. Yeah. Oh yeah. And actually I have a girls card group and we did virtual cards last week. [inaudible]

Amir Eylon: 24:32 there you go. So, so, you know, our company, we had a virtual happy hour last Thursday. It was so fun. We’re going to do one that every Thursday evening so we can all come back and see [inaudible]. Uh, but there’s, there’s, you know, there can be fun things like that. If your destination has a famous local beverage or, or just the piece, you know, I can see Kentucky folks, you know, it’s, you know, a little bourbon education, Columbus, Kentucky. I mean, uh, you know, things like that. There’s all kinds of fun little creative things because as you said, people are looking to be entertained. Uncle, all my friends, everybody’s, everybody’s binge watching the Netflix shows that they’ve all been, yeah, as life has been too busy for them. Well, okay, great. So people were starving for content. So you know, so many destination marketing organizations have been banking up content.

Amir Eylon: 25:23 You know, [inaudible] when hiring a content creators or curating your content, the hub for the spring summer campaigns and everything, well you got this content, start pushing it out. Just start telling the stories, you know, dictate, remove the transactional call to action. But just share the stories. People were, you know, if you’ve got great garden districts and there’s horticulturalist cultural fans looking for that kind of content to that great. You know, a family. Trappers were looking for interesting family stories. You know, there’s just all kinds of great content out there that [inaudible] every DMO, they’re telling the stories cause guess what? People are sheltering in place. They got hours to kill every day and they’re looking for something different than the routine will become monotonous after a while. Absolutely. So Amir, I think it’s just really awesome that Longwood’s is doing these sentiments studies on a weekly basis. And I think that’s just a really awesome, um, give back to the industry.

Amir Eylon: 26:25 And earlier in the conversation when I asked you to tell your story, you said you talked about research and you said that Reese research shows you the road map. So my question is, if research shows you the roadmap, should we be watching for in this research, yours, you know, and others, I know U S travel has been, um, you know, putting on a number of different research pieces together and sending that out. So what should we be watching for and how should we be ready to adjust? How do we know when to adjust based on, and the research? Okay, well, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re going to look for, first of all, you look for the number of to plateau, right? Instead of things going down hold steady, I think that will be the first one. [inaudible] when things hold steady, whether it’s travelers sentiment, uh, whether it’s, uh, search traffic, whether it’s bookings, um, advanced bookings, et cetera.

Amir Eylon: 27:25 When, when, when things kind of plateau, that’s when you know people are catching your breath. Right. Um, I, I was talking to somebody just yesterday and they said, you know what w w when that point, and I said, well, you know, I’m not, I’m not a medical expert. I can’t project, you know, when, when we’re, when this crisis is going to peak here in the U S or other places. But what I can say is that after, once everybody has sheltered in place, and right now it’s kind of haphazard amongst the various States, but when, once the great majority, if not the whole country is sheltering in place, uh, in some form or fashion, Mmm. Everybody will adjust to the temporary new normal. Right? You have your daily routine. We’ve already in our house, it’s been this way for the past week. So know I get up, I do my work, she’s doing her thing with her job and then we have all pause and have a family lunch time maybe, and then we’ll go for an afternoon walk or we’ll do whatever.

Amir Eylon: 28:20 We’ll have certain routines. So once you get used to that new routine, after a few days, does this going to start maybe feeling a little mundane and you’re going to start thinking again, what, what, what am I going to do once I get past, right now, people have been scrambling, they’ve just been trying to adjust to the new normal, adjusting the w, what am I doing here now? [inaudible] after, once they get into a new routine, then they’re going to start thinking about the future. And I think the data [inaudible] various indicators is going to start showing that. And when the people started expressing [inaudible] looking to the future again, that’s when the messaging is going to have to, it’s going to be okay to start evolving a little bit more. Mmm. You know, not call to action quite yet, but just again, a little heavier pump pump on the gas for more content about the desk.

Amir Eylon: 29:07 They should maybe start, you know, it definitely, as soon as you see it, as soon as you know, as soon as you get indications that, you know, yeah, the crisis is peaker or immediately passed post peak. Mmm. Yeah. That will be the next benchmark. Um, when, when, when, when the health officials tell us, you know, we’re kind of over the hump on this. Oh yeah, we may not be out of the woods yet or can’t speak for what the timelines will be, but, but, but as, as people see the light at the end of the tunnel with this and the anticipation of restrictions being eased down, the road travel, opening up again, so forth, that’s when, again, the next phase of the marketing will start. We’ll start off right, and it’ll come and come coming about three stages. And again, it depends on what type of destination you are, but the first phase will be just telling the locals, you know, communicating to your local close and market, you know, the terms of staycation and so forth.

Amir Eylon: 30:01 And we know what, what, what can I do here in my backyard? Uh, the next phase will be a regional drive markets. We typically have seen regional drive markets and past crises and recessions. Mmm. Fair. Better in terms of faster recovery then other destinations, uh, [inaudible] and, um, I think that pattern will probably hold true. Uh, and then the third phase, then you can start marketing your outer long haul markets. Wow. But it’s going to be kind of a stage cramp up and then talking to fellow consultants and colleagues out there. Well, we’ve all kind of reached a consensus on that. [inaudible] yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a great way to break it down and to start thinking about it. So, um, just to make sure that, yeah. And tracking with you and our listeners are our understanding at what you’re suggesting and that is, you know, we’re watching the data.

Amir Eylon: 30:54 Once you see the data plateau, that’s the time to maybe start to evolve the messaging. You’re still not suggesting maybe that they travel the transactional piece involving the inspiration. Yeah. Mostly come visit. Yeah. We’ll do that. But, but maybe again, a little harder push or content out there. Um, you know, don’t be offering deals yet. Don’t, don’t, don’t look at those types of things. Mmm. But, but definitely, Mmm. Uh, that, that’s when things plateau. That’s when I think people will start paying attention more because they’ve caught their breath right now. Right now so much is, you know, right now people were absorbing messages in bursts, really short bursts right now because you’ve got a press conference called at one o’clock by the president and then maybe your governor doing a press conference at two o’clock and then, uh, your, your, your office is doing a team, a virtual conference call, you know, talking about impact, things are on the company and then maybe you’re talking, you know, you’re dealing with the kids or whatever and it’s just so [inaudible] it’s so hard other than a quick little aspirational, Hey, how you doing?

Amir Eylon: 31:58 You know, kind of message [inaudible] thing in there kind of message. We’re there, we’re there with ya. More than that, the consumer just can’t absorb. Right? Um, when, when things plateau, that’s when the blogs, the, the stories, the travel logs that you’ve been banking up, all those kinds of great, great content that you have that [inaudible] start taking the time to. Okay, now let’s see any escape a little bit. Show me something. Um, and then again with the moment we get to that peak, you know, to just Pat, you know, around the point of peak or just past peak, um, in the light at the end of the tunnel. And then the moment the health officials start talking about, you know, uh, easing restrictions or are those things that that’s when you’re start pumping the gas a little harder and, and start talking to people about planning that whatever that window is, is it summer travel?

Amir Eylon: 32:50 Is it all travel? Is it whatever. That’s when you can start talking to people about planning. Absolutely. And then when you get to that peak, that peak, yeah, that light, you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Um, what you’re suggesting is that it’s kind of be this kind of staged approach in terms of who’s gonna, who’s going to visit the quickest. And so those staycations basically those locals are the ones that are going to get the economy moving the quickest in your media destination. And then from there, the regional drive markets out or long, huh? Yeah. You know, again, you know, again, these are unprecedented times. So this isn’t the book. The textbook has been written on it. Oh, we’re writing, we’re, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re writing it as it’s happening. Um, you know, from past indicators and what we see people are going to venture outside of their home, in their backyard, right.

Amir Eylon: 33:45 We’re going to venture when, when they say it’s safe, safe to go out and it’s okay to sure resuming aspects of daily life, then people are going to go to the zoo in my back, in my home, the park that may have been closed, they’re going to go to, um, you know, the other attraction, you know, the restaurants, bar, you know, those kinds of things, you know, entertainment venues, those things we’re going to be, the first thing is coming back online. People are going to all the flock to those, the moment [inaudible] they’re told and start feeling uncomfortable, but that’s how they’re going to test the water. Right. I’m going to go out to dinner with my wife. Yeah, that was good. Okay, so now I’m going to go do the next thing. You know, maybe I’ll go to a concert once. That’s equal to happen again.

Amir Eylon: 34:32 So, so, so, so that’s, yeah. And then, then the next stage is, you know what? Everybody in the car, we’re going, you know, we’re, you know, we’re getting away out live here in Columbus. You know, maybe, you know, maybe I’m going a little volt for the weekend and we’ll do that. Oh, and then it’s okay. Summer vacation that we were going to take good. We refer to as spring break right now, that spring break that we deferred. No, we still sell the money to travel. We’re going to do that then let’s, let’s book Florida than yeah, yeah. I mean it’s just a natural progression. Think about human nature. Think about yourself, you know, how, how, how you would phase back into that if you kind of look at that pattern now, you know, there’ll be variants to this and with different generations, slightly different behavior and so forth. But I think as a rule of thumb that, bye. Absolutely. Well, this has been fantastic and I really appreciate you letting me diverge from what we had originally planned. Well over a month ago. I had some good war stories lined up for you and everything times.

Amir Eylon: 35:49 We definitely will have you back. All right. And hopefully in, um, in a more normal question flow cause I know you have so much more to offer our audience, um, for the time that we’re in right now. I think this was perfect. I really appreciate you, uh, walking us through this and giving us so much. That’s a think about and you know how I mean we all have hope. We know, we know we’re going to come through it and we, and we need to forward thinking and keep that positive outlook. And because as you had mentioned earlier, we’d been through not this exact type of a scenario, but we’ve been through rough times before and emerged stronger because of it. Yeah. Do you have any final thoughts or final words that you’d like to share before we say goodbye? Sure. You know, again, for all the listeners out there, we will get through this.

Amir Eylon: 36:40 Like you said, we will get through this. And, and no, I have seen, uh, you know, I’m not quite an old timer yet, but I, but, but, but I’m getting there and you know, having survived [inaudible] great recessions and so forth, our industry has come out stronger than ever before. Every one of these calamities. And again, the creativity is the partnerships or messaging. Um, you know, the fact that, uh, right now on Capitol Hill, there’s a lot of debate then as these bills are being put together, economically factors and are they’re taking into consideration the travel and tourism industry. Nope. [inaudible] this great understanding of us, part of the fabric of this, uh, of our economy. Yeah. That’s, so you’re going to be a lot to build on from coming out of this and we’re good. You know, I, I think, you know, there will be a very bright future for us.

Amir Eylon: 37:29 Just have to get through this today. That’s all. That’s right. Get through today. Well, I appreciate it so much and we will definitely get you back on the show and the more and uh, and learn even more from you in the meantime, they stay safe, stay healthy, and, and thank you so much. My pleasure, Nicole. Thank you very much. Thank you for listening all the way to the end of this week’s episode. This gives me a chance to tell you about our influencer ebook. It gives you the inside look at how my agency break the ice media implements influencer marketing for our tourism clients. The book goes into detail on all of the tools that we use to find, yeah, measure influencers. You’ll find information on key follower benchmarks. How did that influence your channels? Getting your destination partners on board training, itineraries, managing influence or expectations, and measuring for ROI. Does it break the ice forward slash influencers to download the full ebook. Let’s break the ice. influencers.

Speaker 1: 38:36 It’s time to hit the road again. Visit destination on the during your travels for more podcasts, show notes and fresh ideas.

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