Prepare for Reopening Now with these Recovery Marketing Tactics

I want to share tactical actions that you can take right now. These recovery marketing tactics can be incorporated into your overall recovery plan. My team rounded up several actionable ideas that will help you be ready for the recovery.

An integrated plan is always more powerful than siloed tactics, and below are steps that you can – and should – take right now to set your destination, tourism business or attraction up for success. We recommend a holistic approach to your strategic marketing plan. Your plan should consider how to engage with your visitor at each step of the customer journey. From dreaming to planning to booking and visiting.

Our team uses a framework of Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned tactics, also known as the PESO model that was developed by Gini Dietrich. This framework ensures each touchpoint and channel work together to provide a unified, strategic message.

Paid Tactics

The digital world is what’s been keeping us all connected throughout the pandemic. So it makes sense to lean into digital as a way to communicate with your target audiences. Start thinking of a paid approach to get eyes on your content and get in front of your consumers again.

Paid media tactics that you can be executing now:

Social Media Advertising. This a cost-effective way to reach your target audience. Creating ads on Facebook or Instagram is a great place to start. Advertisers are able to compete in these digital spaces for very little investment and reach a wide variety of audiences. This is also a great place to understand customer sentiment, with quick results and often direct feedback on your products and services.

Online Platform Usage graph from Pew Research Center
Online Platform Usage, Pew Research Center

Retargeting ads. These ads work well in tandem with social media advertising, to bring repeat visitors back to your site. They have the potential to increase ROI by reaching customers at a later stage in the buyer journey and increasing the number of touchpoints your message has on a single individual.

Earned Tactics

The PR world remains active, constantly seeking out new stories and angles in the travel and tourism industry. Recent popular stories include insider insights, at-home or virtual experiences, positive community stories and feature pieces on extraordinary people and acts of kindness.

Earned media tactics that you can be executing now include:

Pitching and Proactive PR Outreach. Seek out the stories in your community and industry that will resonate now and in the next several months. Consider framing destination stories in a new light – for example, how an online experience with a history museum could double as a homeschool history lesson or the positive effects that outdoor activity has on mental well-being. Now is also a great time to conduct research on new media and outlets you want to target. Create a wish list of your top 50-100 key publications.

Reactive PR Outreach. Take the time to set up ongoing ways to monitor media trends and a process for responding to appropriate leads and opportunities. Look into subscribing to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) if you haven’t already or set up Google Alerts for trending topics you may want to keep an eye on.

Seek New Information. Set up interview-style calls with tourism partners to learn what is happening in the community. This information could benefit your outreach efforts. It could help you build a greater understanding of local businesses and their staff or foster stronger connections with potential partners down the road.

Shared Tactics

Social Media is a great way to stay engaged with your audiences and keep your destination or attraction top-of-mind, even in a time when you may not be open. Use your shared channels to focus on building a community, engaging with potential customers and establishing a more personal connection. Consider what you can give your followers in the current moment without tying it to a direct ask. Instead, encourage discovery, learning and relief from mental strain or boredom.

Shared recovery marketing tactics you can execute now are:

Re-activate your current channels. If you haven’t been posting on social media, now is the time to jump back in and re-engage with your online audiences. This can be as simple as sharing a beautiful image or video with a caption or asking a question to get your followers talking again.

Consider starting new channels. Maybe you’ve been considering jumping on Instagram or starting a destination Pinterest account. If so, this is a great time to research that channel, ensure it is a fit for your brand, consider a strategy for gaining followers, and begin to gather the assets you will need to populate the channel for the next 4-6 months.

Refine your brand voice, tone, and messaging. If you were focusing on a heavy sales message or pushing for direct conversions prior to the pandemic, it might be time to refine your online messaging. Sales can and should still be on your mind when you engage with followers but may need to take a backseat in favor of other, more passive messages and a more conversational tone. Consider first what you can give, before asking for direct action.

2020 PESO Model Graphic, Spin Sucks
2020 PESO Model Graphic, Spin Sucks

Owned Recovery Marketing Tactics

By far the easiest action to implement immediately is to take control of and rework your owned content. Unlike paid or shared tactics that can disappear, fade away over time or be changed by platform regulations, owned content is never lost and can always be accessed by you. You may have taken great care in the past to develop the copy, messaging, graphics and to craft stories exactly the way you want them to be told. But your audiences will need more from you now and upon reopening. This is the time to consider what those new streams of content are and to start preparing them.

Owned tactics that you can be working on now:

Website. Refresh content on your main pages, providing a fresh take or updated copy on current offerings. Some of this content may have changed since the pandemic and will remain changed this year. For example, annual events may no longer take place or have now turned into a virtual experience instead. Consider what changes should be made to keep your site current and remain a resource for your audience.

New Online Tools. Also, consider what new online tools would be of use on your website and support your digital efforts. If your strategy includes paid advertising, consider adding pixels, online forms and measures to track and capture visitors to your site.

Blogs and Email Newsletters. Detail out an editorial calendar of new and creative topics that would resonate with your audiences. Maybe you’re starting these channels up for the first time or think it’s time to refresh your voice and content. Retool as needed to fit your strategy and brush up on best practices, so content is easily shareable on social media. It may also be the perfect time to clean up or segment out your email lists. That way you are sure to deliver the right kind of content to the right subscribers.

Audio & Visual. Consider adding video or a podcast to your mix. Access to recording tools are readily available and the consumption of video content has continued to increase – even pre-pandemic. If you haven’t been creating regular visual or audio content, consider now how to make it fit within your current brand.

Ready – set – go! We’d love to hear how you’re inspired to take action. Even better – what recovery marketing tactics you’re using to pivot and be active right now.

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