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6 Tips for Planning your Destination’s Recovery Marketing Strategy

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Positive sentiment towards travel is growing by the minute with consumers actively seeking inspiration on what destinations are open, and safe, to visit. For travel destinations still unsure on how best to market in a post-pandemic economy, here are six tips to consider.

1. Be the ‘Early Bird’.

Want the worm? Plan Ahead. If you aren’t thinking as far forward as 2022 or 2023, you should be. While some uncertainty remains, the next two years will see greatly increased reopening in the travel sector. Being the foremost destination on travelers’ minds in 2022 and 2023 requires planning now–even if you cannot yet accept visitors. Quality promotional projects often take time to organize and implement. Think about gathering imagery, honing your message, and getting partners on board. It is never too soon to start exploring what opportunities are available to you. The goal is to find the right fit AND have plans in place to initiate when ready.

2. Be thoughtful.

We know people are lusting for travel, and while keen to book as soon as possible, they also want to make sure they are welcome in your region and that they will be safe. Respect that need by presenting messaging that inspires travel while educating about how your destination may be enjoyed safely. Great content to consider is highlighting responsible travel options, strategies to keep safe when distance isn’t possible, or activities that allow people to social distance—this is a great time to promote those regions off the beaten track! This type of information is top of mind for most post-pandemic travelers so thoughtfully give them peace of mind.

3. Be sustainable.

Assume the average post-pandemic traveler is seeking to simply escape. After dealing with stresses of a pandemic, putting extra effort into making their next trip sustainable might seem overwhelming. Most recognize the importance of sustainability, but, for many, the ‘how to’ remains a mystery. It’s time to lighten their load and make sustainable options the easy choice. Showcase what sustainable options look like in your region, present low-impact adventures that give back to local communities, and consider sharing stories of the impacts of their positive choices. Your messaging should go beyond saying your region is sustainable by including the ‘how’ and ‘why’.

4. Be digital.

Embrace the old adage, ‘the future is digital’, but with the understanding that the future is NOW! If you don’t have a strong digital content strategy, or if you don’t have the ability to build out an asset library full of high-quality video and photo assets, you’re missing out. Social media ads, paid search ads, in-app banners, video ads, streaming ads, email, in-game ads, video product placement…where does it end? It doesn’t. So, let’s focus on where to start.

To begin, pinpoint your campaign goals, define your target audience, and hone your message. From there, chose the right platform best suited to your intended audience, and start experimenting. If you have little interest or confidence in managing your own digital campaign, or simply don’t want to expend the resources during the ‘experimenting phase’, you can source a digital marketing expert to help. Consider full-service providers that help build your digital asset library. They’ll know the best practices for each platform and will work with you based on your pre-established goals to reach your desired audience.

5. Be targeted.

This is a simple one. What works for YouTube won’t work for Instagram. That catchy TikTok dance doesn’t resonate the same on Facebook. Understanding the strengths, weaknesses and audience that typifies each platform will help tremendously in pinpointing the type of digital content to put out there. Here’s a simple guide to the type of content suited to the most popular online digital platforms:

  • YouTube: longer-format videos, mini-series, and more
  • Instagram: photos and short-form video content
  • Twitter: short text messages. Think of it like a ‘microblog’
  • Facebook: social networking with friends and family with flexibility to upload a mix of content, both short and long form
  • TikTok: 3-60 second long videos—targeting younger mobile phone users. TikTok is one of the most popular and downloaded apps of 2020

Keep in mind that your destination does not have to be on every platform. It’s better to identify what your target audience engages in and focus on doing one thing really well rather than trying to keep up with trends across multiple platforms.

Finally, be sure to engage with your audience, regardless of what platform you’re using. People interested in your destination are bound to have questions, so make sure you are monitoring your accounts and interacting with your posts on a daily basis.

6. Be influencing.

Influencers help create or increase brand recognition and they often grow audience engagement. They have the power to affect the decisions of others because of the authority they project. An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity or the person with the most followers, but rather a trusted source whose voice is respected within the niche community and audience you wish to reach. An influencer can also help in tailoring content to the digital platform that suits best. A partnership with an influencer may be as simple as having them post about your destination on their own channels, or do ‘take-overs’ on yours. Again, it’s all about getting the right eyes on your quality digital content.

To check out Heliconia’s video portfolio, click here.

Destinations looking for effective opportunities that align with the tips above are encouraged to reach out to Heliconia – a content creation company with a strong TV, digital, and social media distribution network. Heliconia shares inspiring, authentic stories from the world’s top destinations through a variety of adventure travel TV shows and media projects, each one hosted by an engaged industry Influencer and backed by some of today’s most popular brands. For more information on how Heliconia can help promote your destination in 2022 and beyond, visit www.heliconia.ca or email Tourism Partnership Manager, Stefanie, at [email protected].

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