Rate this post

As countries begin to lift restrictions, travel companies are seizing on the opportunity and looking for creative ways to make connections with potential and current customers to capture market share.

As of July 3, selected hotels in Singapore were permitted to open for staycations, with that list continuing to grow.

European attractions, such as Disneyland Paris, are reopening their doors, albeit with new COVID-19 measures firmly in place. 

I believe that social media and digital channels hold the key to unlocking the opportunity to generate future demand. 

While some travelers are starting to venture out, most people are still spending the majority of their time at home. This means they’re also spending a substantial amount of time on social media. 

More than 1.5 billion people use Facebook from their phones daily and more than 70% of users research businesses on Instagram.

This is not only an inexpensive way to reach large numbers of people, but a powerful opportunity to engage with potential customers and influence them to choose your business when the good news comes. 

Here are four ways brands can help consumers rediscover travel virtually while they dream about their next destinations. 

Build the momentum now 

While it is tempting to save marketing investments until announcements of reopening come, unfortunately by then it will likely be too late. Remember that customers are always dreaming of their next destination and are anxious to explore all that travel offers. 

Just like you, they have been isolated from the opportunity to get out, explore, and enjoy the joy of the journey. I recommend you design a reopening plan just like a grand opening. 

Marketing efforts shouldn’t start the day the doors open; those efforts often start six months prior. 

Right now, families and couples in Asia Pacific are showing great interest in domestic travel as they look to take advantage of amenities for a weekend getaway.

A recent survey found that, for the first time, 1.6 million people are planning to drive to continental Europe from the U.K. this summer instead of flying.

By using social media channels, hotels and attractions can build momentum with their marketing campaigns and scoop up customers as they explore drive market opportunities.

Move on from the old

In the midst of uncertainty it’s easy to go back to tried and true tactics. 

However, travel marketers live in a new reality, which requires innovative ideas. Unfortunately, old strategies likely will not work.

With tools like Instagram Stories, TikTok and Facebook Live, brands can engage and inspire potential guests, building future loyalty.

Chris Blaine – Sojern

For example, OTAs will be much more willing to spend marketing dollars than boutique operations, funnelling bookings through third-party offerings. 

While there’s benefit to hotels or other travel companies, reclaiming any market share captured by OTAs will be no small feat.

For hotels and attractions, focusing on direct bookings through social media channels not only offers a cost-effective option to highlight a dreamy destination, it enables brands to communicate directly with potential and current customers in an ever-changing environment. 

By curating visually inspiring and exciting content, brands can give potential travelers reprieve from the weight of the pandemic while building relationships for both now, and the future. 

Get the basics in order 

When creating a digital footprint it’s important to be consistent across all channels.

While many hotels and attractions are updating websites, Facebook profiles, and more, many are forgetting some of the other key components for driving conversions.

In addition to social media, potential travelers are turning to resources like TripAdvisor and Google My Business to see updated reviews, temporary hours, and current offerings.

By creating and continually updating a business profile, hotels and attractions can keep consumers abreast of policies and updates. 

Host virtual events and offers 

Because many hotels and attractions are unable to open – or can open with numerous restrictions – now is a good time to offer virtual experiences.

While some travellers are starting to venture out, most people are still spending the majority of their time at home. This means they’re also spending a substantial amount of time on social media.

Chris Blaine – Sojern

Sharing family recipes, hosting a wine tasting or virtual tour, or even a reopening contest are all great ways to engage with potential travelers and build a wave of demand. 

With tools like Instagram Stories, TikTok and Facebook Live, brands can engage and inspire potential guests, building future loyalty.

Many travelers are, and will be, cautious of travel for some time. To ease that apprehension, the travel and hospitality industry must work to offer reassurance. Now is the time to inspire potential travelers and encourage them to rediscover their love of travel. 

As many hotels and attractions are waiting to open, or operating in a limited capacity, social and digital channels enable them to build direct, virtual connections with both potential and current guests. 

Virtual connections also provide a great platform for managing customer expectations in real-time. Not only that, these direct connections can build consumer confidence in a brand and put customers’ minds at ease during these uncertain times.

About the author…

Chris Blaine, vice president, EMEA & APAC at Sojern 

Tech in Travel Industry

Comments

comments