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Unprecedented Times Warrant an Unprecedented Response

Written by Jason Herzog on . Posted in , , .

For the first time ever, our country has a “be back soon” sign up in the window and there’s no telling when service will resume. Our ski resorts have suspended lift service, surf breaks off the coast are going untouched, and national parks across the country are no longer being explored. Virtually all of our favorite destinations (you can tell which mine are) have in some way been altered by the presence of COVID-19 and its accompanying economic downturn. 

I’m sure you’ve seen it countlessly: “We’re navigating through unprecedented times”…if that’s the case, then shouldn’t we think of an unprecedented response in return?

Our response is the “Crisis Mitigation Plan”, a multi-phased approach that will help you, your destination and community overcome the current crisis. Above all else, it answers the question: How can a DMO (or destination attractions) support their region’s local economy while also securing future visitation at a later date? An economic shift of this magnitude demands a revised marketing plan that starts with the following:

  1. Identify the extent of damage from the crisis thus far.
  2. Provide a projection of what to expect moving forward.
  3. Based on these findings, set specific goals for how the mitigation plan will effectively close the gap. The gap, referenced is the difference in KPIs (key performance indicators) with and without the crisis at hand.

Not Our First Rodeo

While the unknowns are plentiful and ambiguity is quickly becoming part of everyday routine, we’d implore our fellow tourism industry folks to recall what we do know. For those who have the advantage of time and experience on their side, you can likely recall that past events felt similar in how they affected the tourism world. Ebola in Africa, the September 11 Attacks, and the Great Recession, and SARS in China help illustrate how tourism tends to rebound, along with what demographics are expected to act first. Our approach deep-dives into how these events affected your subsequent business volume, then we pair it up along with projections based on current analytic data for further understanding.

Flatten the Curve, Then Fill the Gap?

“Flattening the curve” is priority number one, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. For our clients, “filling the gap” has become something of a second priority of focus. The gap we’re referring to represents the difference between forecasted 2020 performance with the impact of the economic downturn versus without it. Depending on what variable is most important to your organizations (e.g. annual economic impact, regional tourism spend, jobs created, or visitation) this is what we’ll set as a goal while crafting your unique mitigation plan. We take digital analytics a step further by translating the analytics into figures that reflect your direct impact on the local economy. This gives you and your stakeholders an unfiltered understanding of how the annual loss of x number of annual visitors could translate to a direct reduction in $x in local tax revenue, x amount of jobs, and $x in total travel spend in your regional economy.

Follow the Data

Sooner or later, travel restrictions will inevitably drop and consumers will again feel comfortable carrying on with their previously scheduled (or adjusted) vacations and trips… but we need to recognize that it won’t be the same market we previously knew; in fact, it’s expected to be a reduced size. A portion of these consumers will no longer have the disposable income to travel or they might be forced to travel closer to home. Data segregation and personalized marketing strategies will be increasingly valuable during these times as competition will be fierce, particularly with the first wave of early influencers. When this happens, you’ll want to know where these consumers are coming from, which strategies to deploy, and with what content. Our proprietary data segregation and email tool, Tourism Engine, plays a big part in this process from start to finish and further supports precise marketing efforts.

We’re Offering a Complimentary Virtual Consultation

We’re here to help! If you’d like to see a case study of this work in action or would prefer an overview of how our Crisis Mitigation Plan could benefit your organization, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to provide you with a (virtual) complimentary consultation. Connect with us here.