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How to get your tourism business back on track post COVID-19

- April 20, 2020 3 MIN READ

It came, it made its mark and soon enough, it will leave. And whilst every industry experienced the wrath of Covid-19 those in the Tourism sector felt the impact without delay and are preparing for a recovery period that will surpass its end-date.

With an overwhelming to-do-list, a need to generate income and for many family-owned businesses in this sector the weight of a heavy heart – where does one start?

Amberlea Henriques of AdSocial shares why Social Media is now more important than ever and how a strategic shift towards targeting the domestic market will be the magic to recovering bookings.

There are so many uncertainties and variables that will impact the timeline and way in which many trade but one thing we can be sure of, is that soon it will be ‘business as usual’.
Or rather, a new iteration of ‘usual’.

And whilst its rarely safe to ‘assume’, a logical thought process is that when it becomes safe to do so – households will progressively be able to travel freely within their local area, soon after within their State and later across the Country before consideration to head toward an international destination is front-of-mind. Boom! A rise of ‘staycations’ (a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad).

With that said a strong audience group for the Tourism industry to target would be the domestic market.

Businesses who intend (and will) recover, are those who place a precedence on staying connected with their audience, digitally. More specially, on social media.

Facebook’s announcement, 24 March 2020 contained valuable insight for marketers and operators to consider over the coming Quarter to prepare, execute and reap results during this ‘out-of-the-norm’ period.

Alex Schultz, VP of Analytics, and Jay Parikh, VP of Engineering shared the following:

“As the pandemic expands and more people practice physically distancing themselves from one another, this has also meant that many more people are using our apps.

  • … total messaging has increased more than 50% over the last month.
  • … voice and video calling have more than doubled on Messenger and WhatsApp.

…. Much of the increased traffic is happening on our messaging services, but we’ve also seen more people using our feed and stories products to get updates from their family and friends.

At the same time, our business is being adversely affected … we’ve seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19”

Insight we can take from this Statement and implement within marketing efforts are:

1.     Distributing content within Feeds and Stories will be seen now more so than before. Entertain, excite! Have your audience picturing themselves on holidays, in your restaurant, dancing under the stars on your local beach or exploring the region. Give them something to look forward too and a reason to book now for the future.

2.     For those with paid campaigns running, position your advertisement in Feeds, Stories and Messenger (only). Put your money where your audience is for optimisation of budget. Remember that each placement has different artwork specifications so be sure to resize creative.

3.     For those who previously couldn’t afford to run paid campaigns, with less advertisers on Facebook at the moment – now it is the cheapest it has ever been amongst your competition. To explain; Facebook/Instagram/Messenger ads deliver via a bidding/auction algorithm. Those with the highest budget, typically ‘outbid’ competitors trying to reach the same audience. Less advertisers, means less competition. Less competition results in lower bids.

EXPERT TIPS

Advertise for FREE!
Facebook also shared that in respect of Covid-19 they will be releasing small business grants and advertising credits. Register your interest here

Automate with BOTS!
Connect a chatbot to your Messenger account and attach an ‘all comments growth tool’. The bot will automatically send a private message to anyone who connects with your content introducing them to a gallery of products, a description of services or perhaps a special offer. Think of a bot as a pre-programmed sales and customer support person. Those who engage with your bot will be added to a subscription list to receive ongoing (and sometimes FREE) messages from you.

Always consult an expert, when setting up a chatbot – there are plenty of rules to abide by for best practice and you don’t want to risk having your account banned for accidental misuse.

Get creative!
Present flexed terms – book now, pay (balance) later for example. Seek reviews from former customers and reward with exclusive offers for their next booking. Add referral incentives and social sharing rewards. Do video tours, wine tastings live, cooking with a chef or virtual experiences. Push them on Facebook and add them to AirBnB’s new virtual experiences showroom.

You can and you will get through this interim operational change.

 

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