Accept and confront reluctance: As a new normal gradually returns, there will still be large numbers of travellers that are reluctant to travel—whether due to financial instability or lingering health and hygiene worries. For those willing to travel, highlight affordability and value for money in your destination or product offering.
Create advocates among first adopters: Early adopters of return travel are probably going to be looking for budget-conscious short stays, day trips, and potentially weekends. Rather than lowering base prices (which can create complications around raising them in the future), increase value for these travelers with special packages and incentives – and thus create a network of advocates to build word-of-mouth support as travel patterns resume.
Implement constant reassurance: Returning travellers are likely to pay particular attention to what your destination is implementing to ensure their safety. Collaborate with your partners to create and communicate plans that address health and safety and ensure that this messaging runs through both your launch campaign and is visible across travel experiences as your visitors return (through signage, guidelines, hygiene measures etc.).
Shift focus along with shifting sentiments: This is a time to “read the room” – ensure you are adequately acknowledging the crisis and taking necessary measures, while gradually shifting towards general destination information rather than crisis communication.
Integrate inspiring messaging with physical distancing: Consumers will want to be inspired and encouraged by their opportunity to travel again and will be receptive to imagery and videos. However, be conscious of how this is portrayed and avoid imagery of numerous people or crowds. Inspire, while also reassuring travellers around physical distancing.
Be a storyteller: Support your network while also inspiring your visitors – tell the stories of your partners and share lists of companies offering pandemic-appropriate services such as take-out and delivery services.
Differentiate among the clamour for recovery: Create unique, shareable, or “instagrammable” experiences with partners that can even be picked up by the media. Where possible, bring these efforts to visual media like YouTube or 360 videos.
Support public health: Reinforce the messages from your public health officials and continue to share the best measures to protect individuals, along with links to official sources.