While the novel Covid 19 has taken a great toll on the majority of sectors across the globe, perhaps few other sectors were impacted so quickly as tourism and hospitality when the travel and social distancing restrictions were implemented, and risk aversion behaviors became the new normal.
Several months into the pandemic and business leaders across Mexico are recognizing the need for destinations to improve their capacity and willingness to provide accurate and timely information particularly as leading destinations eventually shift from mitigating the immediate impact of Covid to planning for their future recovery and eventually reopening. To do so successfully, tourism brands are developing communication strategies that consider the needs and capabilities of multiple stakeholders and partners while assuaging the concerns of their guests.
To this end, we at Mijo! Brands are happy to share a concise communication check-list based on our conversation with our tourism and hospitality clients across North America, that have helped us adapt their communication strategies and related tactics to allow them to successfully transition from mitigating the crisis to returning to (the new) “normal” of activities.
1.Know your mission
While it’s unlikely that brand strategy and service offer will not be in some way affected by the pandemic, it’s important to ensure that whatever change your brand need undertake, that the changes are implemented thoughtfully and carefully. Remember that the new normal will change over time and that your brand strategy need be coherent and consistent over the from the short to long term in order to engage and ensure the trust of your customers.
2. Define what your post-Covid 19 customer looks like
The reality is that not all your consumers will return, at least not immediately. Some segments will be impacted economically while others may not be able to visit due to prolonged travel restrictions in their communities. While California will always be Los Cabos’ natural audience, their current situation means that the destination will need to court and grow secondary markets in order to make up for any shortfall.
3. Understand stakeholders needs
All of our tourism and hospitality brands recognize that their success is based on community and collaboration. Now more than ever, tourism boards and professional organizations must band together with hoteliers and other service providers to ensure a coordinated community response to safety, hygiene and related communication strategy. “Stronger together” has never been more relevant.
4. Redefine your service offer
The new normal requires that we respond to our customers’ needs and fears. When travel restrictions are lifted, travelers will be hungry for both new experiences, improved services and safety assurances. The glut of offers from the travel industry will create a buyer’s market, so be prepared to innovate, differentiate and communicate to ensure you stand above the fray.
5. Prioritize and measure channels of communication
Experts across the industry predict a surge in advertising spend as destinations prepare to come back online. Digital provides more cost-effective solutions over print, but even then, brands must assess which channels to invest in. Social media advertising, YouTube, Google ads and remarketing along with email marketing will figure large in advertising budgets.
6. Provide timely updates
Communication is key, particularly as the situation continues to evolve and distancing measures take effect.
7. Audit your strategy and promotions
Be flexible, be authentic and be realistic. While people will be anxious to get back to travel, they will need assurances that their money will be well spent, and their safety guaranteed. Be uplifting and promote your values and be sure your audience is ready prior to emphasizing sales messaging.
8. Define messaging
While it’s tempting to try to respond to so much uncertainty to lure customers back, it’s important to develop a concise messaging matrix that resolves only what customers need from your brand. Stray too far, and you may end up confusing more than assuring, play to your strengths and let other experts fill in the blanks.
9. Tell a story
Weave an engaging brand narrative, the narrative may be as much about your community than it is about your brand. Your brand is a community effort, shine light on the people and organizations that are contributing to the well-being of your destination to communicate why your destination is still the best place to visit.
10. Celebrate your relaunch
Once you take the final decision to open, be prepared to celebrate your return. Instill confidence by celebrating your staff, your offer and your customers.
At Mijo! Brands, a leading creative agency in digital marketing, with a presence in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, we have a team of multidisciplinary professionals who will help your brand find areas of opportunity in different settings and circumstances.
Daniel Gómez is Brand Strategist and Director of Mijo! Brands in Mexico City. In 2007, he received his MBA from the LSBU in London, England where he specialized in innovation. That same year, Daniel returned to Mexico to put into practice what he learned abroad in combination with his love for Mexico to create a new model of creative digital agency. He highlights his ability to maintain a wide frame of vision to connect different phases of any process and deliver innovative solutions for brands in multiple sectors. Passionate about travel and food, he understands that changing your environment from time to time gives you another set of eyes and widens your senses to pick up subtle differences, which is the key to uniqueness. His free time is split between being spent with his boxer, “Sofi”, and training to finish the CDMX marathon in less than 4.5 hours.