This autumn we conducted a survey targeting decision makers in the transport and tourism sector, to learn more about their marketing and PR activities. A total of 45 senior decision makers responded - including national and regional tourist boards, Managing Directors of transport groups, senior communication leaders and business owners.
Our six-question survey focused on marketing in the wake of COVID-19 and aimed to uncover insights into the following:
- Shortfalls and areas for improvement within existing PR and marketing strategies
- Frequent external purchases in relation to marketing and PR
- The importance of marketing and PR during the pandemic
- Key campaign starting periods and areas for investment
Has COVID-19 changed planning dates? How are companies preparing?
Organisations are reimagining strategies in light of the 'new normal'. The first quarter of 2021 will be an important moment for organisations to decide how to invest and forecast what their sense of purpose for commercial survival will be.
COVID-19 will have a major impact on both short term (monthly) and long term (the next 12 months) marketing / communication strategies.
In May 2020 Hong Kong suffered a third wave of Covid-19 cases - our sources in the city suggested this was due to students returning from Europe after the lockdown. A third wave may well arrive in Europe - planning to boost economic activity is essential.
Key months for campaign planning:
In our survey 57% of respondents claimed the biggest period for planning was January to April 2020. After a sluggish winter of trading for many sectors, organisations will be looking to turn 2021 into a sustainable and profitable year. Early investment in campaigns to attract customers will be essential.
The second highest period for PR and marketing campaign planning was between August and October with 28% of respondents considering late summer a good planning period.
Areas for improvement: technology, research, data and content output:
In terms of key areas for improvement, our survey indicated a need to combine data findings gained from market research with SEO and online content. The results are a clear indicator of the need to maintain a healthy competitive position online whilst boosting traffic and online engagement.
Our polls suggested the most important area for internal improvement was SEO followed closely by market research and content with clear calls-to-action. When it comes to marketing spend - Facebook was one of the biggest investment areas for respondents with over 50% of people investing heavily in the platform.
Summary - the Future of Tourism Marketing:
The need for brands to grab attention while maintaining brand awareness and familiarity has never been so important. The pandemic has altered the way humans move and behave - gaining attention from publicity and traction from online activity is increasingly challenging. This is where owned new media such as podcasts and online magazine can help.
Building a social purpose and appealing to consumer desires with beneficial ideas and content is key. It’s important to build your own online following and engage them with positive, feel good messaging.
Researching and understanding how to improve society and the world through your organisational behaviour is a core component of post-COVID marketing. Implementing technology for online commercial activity is also important. Creativity remains key, as does the need to generate publicity that can benefit SEO backlinks alongside quality online marketing content.