Summer 2020 might not be completely lost. Now is the time to start marketing again
Parts of the world are gradually beginning to open up again. In the rush to reopen economies and restart the flow of cash, international travel has suddenly become a possibility again. That means it’s time to start attracting customers again with post-lockdown marketing campaigns.
Australia and New Zealand have been talking about travel bubbles, and are negotiating with certain European countries and Singapore about broadening it beyond Oceania. It appears as if Spain could reopen its borders by the end of June, France could open to Germans, and central and Balkan European states are forming corridors, possibly with Greece. Czechs have already been reported sunbathing on Croatia’s stony beaches.
“We don’t have to face a lost summer for the European tourist industry”
“This is not going to be a normal summer, not for any of us. But when we all work together, and we all do our part […] then we don’t have to face a summer stuck at home or a complete lost summer for the European tourist industry,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president of the European commission, according to the Vienna Times.
It’s not all good news. Brits and Americans are unlikely to be welcome in the few places they’re allowed to visit, as are travellers from Brazil, Russia and anywhere else that has failed to control the pandemic.
Many people are likely to be scared of catching the virus, others will be wary of potentially spreading it further, and there will be those who are worried about spending money as the world teeters on recession. Of course, others won’t care.
Focus on domestic campaigns
Focusing on staycations should remain the major avenue for most operators despite the gradual restart of international travel. This is still the most likely route to bring results. Drive the domestic market and inspire people to see their home country in a new light and to visit places they might never have considered before.
But now you must do more than inspire. You must also reassure those who are worried about catching Covid, or spreading it, that they won’t.
You need to show the steps that have been taken to ensure the best standards of hygiene and that social distancing measures are in place and easily followed. And then provide a gentle reminder that people will save money. Sandwich the reassurance between inspiration so that people are left feeling as they want to travel by the time they’ve seen your campaign.
International travel will be tough, but possible
International travellers will have another concern: they won’t want to be trapped in a location if there is an outbreak and lockdown is reimposed. This is a significantly harder worry to overcome. However, that’s why governments are only negotiating reopening with other countries they feel are safe.
On top of that, airlines are still running at a significantly decreased capacity and IATA are warning that fares could increase by up to 54 per cent.
United Airlines plans to fly ~25% of planned capacity in July, up from just ~10% in May/June.— Edward Russell (@e_russell) May 19, 2020
Cancellations have fallen and demand has improved to a "moderate degree," United says. $UAL https://t.co/8VyQ3kdcHd
This means most people who travel cross-border will likely travel by car or public transport, and stay within reach of home. Targeting neighbouring countries with your marketing campaigns will bring better returns. More affluent demographics should be the aim for any country where flying is an option.
There’s a high chance of a price war in the skies as demand returns, but it will probably be quick. This is because of the need for airlines to enforce social distancing, which Iata says will lift fares by 43–54 per cent, and carriers’ need to gradually recoup their losses. These would make long- and medium-haul flights much less affordable for most.
Get those vouchers redeemed
Many operators have been selling vouchers for future travel to preserve cash flow. Now might be a good time to, gently, remind people who purchased one that it’s a good time to use it. Again, run separate email campaigns domestically and internationally. As above, target the people who you know can travel to your area first, and ask them to bring their friends and family.
Carry the same messages across — make sure people see just how pretty your destination is, but also reassure them.
Can summer 2020 be salvaged?
Much of this season’s revenue has been lost and there are still many challenges to come in kick starting the tours and activities industry. But, if you are able to reach your targets with your marketing campaigns and with the help provided by governments, summer 2020 might not be a total write-off.
If you missed our update on the help we’re providing operators, have a read here
If you need anything at all, feel free to reach out