“What messages should communication contain” by María Eugenia Sirito, EM Comms Manager”.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the early 2020s, communication strategies and narratives around the tourism industry have gone through different stages, adapting to the conditions imposed by the global context.
Even when 90% of the destinations were closed, their communication efforts were not attenuated, but had to be intensified and developed 100% through digital channels. The most popular platforms and formats to communicate with travelers were, and continue to be, videos and the different tools constantly offered by social networks.
According to a qualitative analysis of ads and videos on official YouTube channels of the world’s top 40 most-visited countries, done by Eran Ketter and Eli Avraham, at the peak of the crisis the most popular messages were based on hope and inspiration (“The perfect time to visit nothing”, “Stay at home”). At the same time, other campaigns appealed to yearning and nostalgia (“When you’re ready, we’ll be ready”, “Dream for later”).
As confinement was released but still under tight restrictions, welcoming messages (“Welcome back, we miss you”), focusing on safety from Covid-19 (“There is something bigger… That something is you and your safety”) and offering “healing” experiences (“You need more than a holiday, you need to go to Switzerland”) sprouted up.
Today, with 84% of the countries with no Covid-19 related restrictions for travelers, the redefinition of post-Covid tourism marketing must analyze the aftermath and what has been learned in recent years. We can identify the characteristics of messages that could positively influence international travel intentions and which are key to charting new destination communication strategies and narratives.
Building trust, reducing uncertainty and prioritizing the provision of clear, solid and up-to-date information. This is as important as managing travelers’ perceptions.
Managing the impact of the pandemic
To report that the impact of the pandemic has been successfully managed and the destination has recovered and is ready to welcome visitors. In this sense, marketing messages should also highlight authentic local experiences and clear, open-air spaces. Is worth noticing the need to balance the perception of safety with the perception of freedom.
It is a fact that one of the biggest demands in the post-pandemic is shifting consumption towards sustainability. Many customers are willing to pay more for destinations with strong sustainable policies and to punish those that do not show a genuine commitment to the environment.
Tourism marketing is definitely facing a new challenge and must find the right message, channel and way to reach a new, completely global pandemic transformed traveler.