Author: Greg Oates, SVP, Innovation, MMGY Next Factor
How states and countries will look from within their borders first when travel returns following the COVID-19 crisis.
Regional and national tourism organizations are presently developing comprehensive strategies to drive local resident travel as soon as it’s deemed safe.
The process begins with assessing and aligning all of the destination organization’s resources with those of the public and private sectors, regional tourism offices, and the general travel and tourism industry. From there, the regional and national organizations are examining their workforce needs, and they’re developing digital communication strategies to bring everyone together around a unified short-, medium- and long-term vision.
With all available funds and other resources defined, tourism organizations are developing specific marketing strategies for both the response and recovery phases, which presently are very fluid. Destinations are basing those strategies on an aggregate of data signaling where and when to use direct messaging. They’re also establishing new performance indicators to measure success as the return to travel scales and evolves.
Typically, regional and national tourism organizations focus on visitors outside their borders, so the move to target local residents to drive early recovery is a significant shift for some. Those organizations are now exploring how to motivate residents to travel more regionally by addressing any myths or unknowns that locals might have related to cost, logistics and the overall experience.
This is requiring all levels of tourism organizations to coordinate their efforts like never before. That collaboration itself is also providing value as marketers are pulling together a wealth of story ideas as everyone better understands their own communities and those within the region or country.
There is also a conversation within tourism organizations that the global pandemic has shown weaknesses and inefficiencies in the tourism model. Most large and small communities have not prepared in-depth resilience strategies, which COVID-19 has clearly illustrated. Therefore, as tourism organizations develop their recovery strategy, they’re also focusing on how they can develop a better plan that protects and elevates the communities within their destination.