Data Informed Marketing Strategies for Recovery

Kash Bhattacharya-bandeau
Travel influencers can play a critical role in the recovery. We just need to think differently about them
May 22, 2020

Data Informed Marketing Strategies for Recovery

Cara Frank, Chief of Staff / VP of Marketing, Simpleview

Cara Frank, Chief of Staff / VP of Marketing, Simpleview

#ANEWTOMORROW BLOG
by Cara Frank, Chief of Staff / VP of Marketing, Simpleview

Through close monitoring of customer sentiment, destinations can plan and target their marketing efforts in the recovery process to match both local needs and travel demand. Breaking down the recovery process in four phases, Simpleview offers the data to support destinations in developing the right strategy at the right time of recovery.

At Simpleview, we work with destinations around the world who are now beginning to plan for recovery in the wake of COVID-19. One of the greatest strengths that our team has realized amid all of the uncertainty is the power of data applied at scale, all of which will be fundamental to developing smart recovery strategies going forward.

 

A Matter of Having the Right Metrics

All of the metrics that we are tracking from a sample set of over 200 destinations are being dynamically pulled into this insights and data hub. Within the tourism and leisure marketing industry —including metrics from lodging searches, booking windows and organic web traffic— there are several indicators of consumer interest returning as compared to many of the initial declines in February 2020:

  • On the search front, while May still shows a 64 percent decrease in searches year-over-year, it has increased by 276 percent since bottoming out in early April.
  • As searches and therefore referrals have been impacted, so has the booking window, but we are seeing steady improvements here. In fact, May shows comparable booking windows to 2019 where people are currently looking at trips 68 days out, targeting the middle to end of July.
  • While organic website traffic decreased by nearly 60 percent in late March, we’ve seen a steady increase with the year-to-date difference down by about 23 percent by mid-May.

 

Data-Informed Decision Making in the Four Phases of Recovery

Taking all of this information together, we can begin to draw some better, data-informed decisions about how destinations can move forward amid this global pandemic. It is clear that recovery will unfold in waves regionally around the world, so we’ve created an estimated timeline where we’ve broken down the recovery process into four phases.

 

The Maintain Phase: Local partners and Regional Market Messaging

Currently, many destinations are in the maintain phase, where relationship development with local partners will be key, and marketing efforts should help bring business to those partners while search optimizing web content to prime potential new queries from regional markets. It’s also a great time to clean up email lists, tell stories on social media and conduct A/B testing on social and email to learn information about the best messaging to start the next phase on a strong foot.

 

The Rebound Phase: Rethinking Marketing Towards Sustained Growth

In other destinations, we are entering the rebound phase of recovery, which is about rethinking marketing within the new normal. During this phase, we advise destination marketers to implement the learnings from the crisis phase to build toward sustained growth. Because flight travel will be limited, it will be wise to engineer thoughtful VFR, drive market and regional campaigns to leverage pent-up demand, and use paid media to amplify messaging tailored to safety.

 

Adapting Messages for Customer Comfort and Health Guidelines

Now is a great time to be monitoring consumer sentiments both globally and locally, keeping a close eye on local guidelines, and making sure that your messaging and imagery aligns with what people are comfortable with amid recommendations for social distancing. It’s not a bad idea to audit all of your marketing materials as you build resilience and engagement in your community.

 

No matter where you happen to be in your recovery process, using these resources as well as your own testing and analysis will provide you with the confidence to develop a strategy for the weeks and months ahead. We also welcome you to watch the recording from our recent webinar focused on recovery, or view the slides to learn more.

 

There is no doubt a long road ahead for destination marketers, but we are emboldened by the progress so far and by keeping our eyes on this data we grow more hopeful each day.

 

We are emboldened by the progress so far and by keeping our eyes on this data we grow more hopeful each day..

 

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Since 2001, Simpleview has empowered more than 900 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) with customized tools, knowledge and creativity to help tell these destinations’ unique stories. We believe the world’s top cities and smallest towns each have a role to play in promoting travel and tourism, and we’re here to provide solutions that are built for the way your destination marketing works.