During a time when the majority of the globe’s citizens are staying home, destination marketers find themselves wondering how to forge on with their day-to-day operations sans visitors. Despite near-empty hotels and airports, never have we collectively experienced a greater need for destination marketers to seize their natural leadership potential and gather their community to come together for the benefit of the common good. In the wake of these unprecedented times, we’re sharing three crucial best practices for all destination marketers.
Don’t Go Dark
We know this isn’t as much a ‘do’ as it is a ‘do not,’ but many organizations’ first instinct during uncertain times is to cut as much as possible. Our advice: don’t go totally dark on your communication channels — it’s important to continue engaging with your audience. Keep in touch with your audience — after all, if you lose an audience due to shuttering communications, there’s no knowing if you can get them back. Your audience is a gift to the visitor economy for your destination. Abandoning them now is devastating to the future growth of the destination.
Focus on Your Locals
Yes, while most people are sheltered in place and may be dreaming about future travel, they certainly aren’t in a place to act on it. Pause externally-focused campaigns and focus on the audience that’s right in your own backyard: locals. Pivot to focus on what makes your destination come to life and find ways to nurture and enrich your local audience. Create connections between your destination’s residents and the indispensable independent businesses that need them the most right now. Consider community-based tip jars through platforms like Venmo to support the local gig economy and buskers which add vibrancy to your destination.
Lead the Community
Destination marketing organizations have always been active and involved in the community — but now, more than ever is the time to seize an even greater leadership stance to connect locals with local businesses. Reach out to neighborhood associations and organize community activations centered around supporting the most vulnerable right now. Host virtual meetups for locals to join and hear the origin stories behind those independent small businesses at risk. Empower your locals to become Ambassadors for the destination because we will survive and we will recover and collectively we’ll need one another more than ever to do so well.
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