There are a lot of predictions about what post-COVID travel will look like. Most people can’t stomach the idea of being crammed on top of each other in an airplane right now (or ever again?). One consistent prediction is emerging based on extensive customer surveying – people want to get away and they are willing to drive to get there. According to Skift, two-thirds of consumers expect their first trip to be within 100 miles of their home. This is an opportunity for regional CVBs, attractions and destinations to get their message out to major feeder markets within that driving distance. 

While those are marching orders for travel brands, many marketers are wondering what is the best way to communicate the offerings while also remaining sensitive to consumers’ worries. Here are 5 ways you can get your message out there and welcome people again.

Pivot Your Native Storytelling Content

Chances are you’ve had a strong branded content plan in place that has been utterly upended at this point. Many destinations are going to have to show people how they can feel safe and yet still have fun and that’s going to require a massive shift in the way your written and visual story is told. Consumers are going to need to see photos of how you’re managing distancing, food safety, sanitation and recreation.

Center on Your Customer Service

Many consumers have either read about or personally experienced the frustrations with trying to cancel or reschedule travel in the last few months. As people approach the concept of getaways right now, the first thing on their minds might be all the “What if” questions. It’s critical that consumers are able to find answers to those questions easily and also to know that you have made efforts to reduce the friction that comes with communicating with businesses by phone, chat or email. 

Collect Data With Interactive Content

While many people might be exploring the idea of travel in the coming weeks, it may be another month or two before they are ready to take the plunge. Campaigns aimed at building your marketing database will allow you to execute those multiple touch points to keep your business top of mind when they are ready to buy. Interactive content like sweepstakes, quizzes and contests are an effective way to collect data and remarket your prospects.

Revisit Your Targeting Criteria

Knowing your customer is an evergreen marketing principle, but now is a great time to evaluate your customer profiles and either adjust for circumstances or create new profiles that might apply to the marketing tactics you’re acting on right now.

Highlight Your Self-Service Capabilities

Most consumers understand that companies are operating with leaner staff resources right now. But this is not an excuse for poor user experiences when someone is trying to spend money with you. Your website needs to have seamless and streamlined search and checkout processes and your arrival processes should have the contact-free options people are expecting like ticketing or check-in kiosks. 

Now is the time to work with the media brands in your feeder markets that reach people in meaningful ways and have experience with storytelling. A strong marketing partner will be able to bring the insights and data to support their recommendations and help you make the right business decisions. 

Source: Skift, Mintel