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As of today, it is hard to find an industry that did not suffer from consequences of COVID-19, but tourism suffered most: flights are stopped, borders are closed, tours are cancelled, and many travel agencies have to stop doing business.
In this regard, there is only one question: do travel brands need to continue marketing activities or suspend promotion?
Tourists miss travelling and are ready to absorb information online. During the quarantine, the web traffic in Russia has grown by 30%. At that, the traffic in social media and messengers grew four times, and its share in the total rate grew twice up to 18%. Video traffic increased by 40%.
At the same time, many travel companies cut or deny from paid promotion at all, and it means that a cost per contact in advertising networks is going down.
Borders will be opened in the coming months, and tourists will be open to travelling again. That is why we believe that it is no good to stop advertising campaigns but travel brands need to move away from a strategy ‘visit right now’ for a while and move to a new one ‘visit later’ for promotion.
Museums, galleries, theaters, zoos and many other venues of the whole world opened their doors for visitors online. During this short period of isolation, human perception of online events is going through sort of a transformation, and it is important for travel offices to get on the same online page and attract attention of the maximum number of potential tourists to their region.
We made a selection of marketing decisions that you can use to promote tourism in quarantine. Besides, on the assumption that advertising budgets have to be cut tremendously, we see a way out in changing an approach to a content strategy:
1. Go on maintaining social media accounts. If your region is not officially represented on VK, Instagram, or Facebook, it is high time to solve this issue.
2. Expand formats of content presentation and pay special attention to streams. When people all over the world stay at home, it is much easier to convince a famous cook or a local guide to go on the air for your followers, to tell about the region, to share some secrets, and to strengthen a desire of travellers from Russia to visit your region after the borders are reopened.
We recommend NTOs to pay special attention to the presentation of your region to Russian tour operators —this can be webinars, a series of online courses, or even an online platform for travel agents to learn all peculiarities of the travel direction offered.
After the borders were closed, organized tourists found themselves in a better position than individual ones. Tour operators used every effort to get travellers who purchased their tours back home. In this regard, we believe that more tourists will consider buying vouchers via travel agencies (at least, for the first little while after the quarantine is over).
RMAA Travel, in its turn, is trying to help travel business develop in crisis. We came up with an anti-crisis service to organize and conduct online events for travel market actors (you can learn more about the service from our managers). Within the next few days, we will organize free webinars so that you could spend quality time and prepare for opening of a new tourist season.
Ready to partner with the specialists in Russian travel marketing and advertising?
About the Author
Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog