“Here are some of the things we are doing as a destination marketing organization.” – Charles Harris, CMO, Visit Anaheim via LinkedIn
Update: March 2, 2020 — Skift Research reports nearly 90% of U.S. travelers have yet to cancel plans due to Coronavirus. Read more here.
Update: March 3, 2020 — The Leading Travel Trends Index from U.S. Travel Association now projects a 6% drop in international inbound travel over the next three months.
This week, we spoke with Matt Grayson, President, Americas and Sienna Parulis-Cook, Associate Director of Communications at Dragon Trail Interactive, the industry experts in Chinese outbound tourism and digital marketing.
Tracking the Response
Parulis-Cook said, “In the past month, the coronavirus crisis has had profound impacts on Chinese tourism, and on travel destinations and businesses all around the world. In addition to key information about travel restrictions from both within and outside of China, flight suspensions, and travel cancellations, Dragon Trail Interactive has been tracking how tourism brands have responded to the crisis on Chinese social media platforms—and what has resonated best with Chinese consumers and the travel trade.”
Travel Restrictions Within China
Best Practice by DMOs
Dragon Trail Interactive recommends that DMOs “Pause tactical campaigns and consider how to adjust branding so that you stay relevant to your Chinese audience.” Furthermore, WeChat and Weibo are important. “With Chinese travel agents and tour operators working from home (and many roadshows and trade shows being canceled or deferred), the best way to engage with and support partners now is online.”
Prospects for Recovery
Dragon Trail Interactive reports, “We cautiously predict market recovery
to start in Q2, 2020. China’s May Labor Day holiday was extended to five days for 2020, from Friday, May 1-Tuesday, May 5. This is the first opportunity for outbound tourism to rebound, with potential for both short-haul and long-haul travel.”
In 2019, 2.35 million Chinese visited the US, of which 1.55 million were visiting for the purposes of leisure. Losing one-quarter of these visitors
would be a 388k reduction in tourist arrivals. With Chinese tourists spending an average of $6,700 per trip, this leads to a loss of $2.6 billion.
According to data from the NTTO, it took two years for Chinese arrivals to the US to recover after SARS.
“Although there is much about COVID-19 and its global impact that remains unknown, we do encourage tourism brands and businesses to think ahead and prepare a recovery plan for when the situation—as it is sure to—begins to improve,” Parulis-Cook said.
Dragon Trail Interactive is conducting online training for the Chinese travel industry. Since the start of February, around 10,000 additional Chinese travel agents have signed up for Dragon Trail’s China Tourism Academy WeChat-based training program, growing that database of verified agents to more than 50,000.
TwoSix Digital asks the question and provides the answers. Their blog “What is the Future of TikTok and Tourism?” caught our eye.
Dave Serino and Brian Matson have kindly agreed to share their article which offers some practical tips for the remainder of 2020.
- What do we need to know about TikTok?
- Should our DMO be on TikTok?
- Does TikTok matter?
Hint: Familiarization comes first. Begin by surfacing other DMO and CVB TikTok content and watch Explore Alaska TikTok videos.
Check out the TwoSix Digital guest post here.
Meet Jarrod Lyman. He’s the senior communications specialist for Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory.
“That title is government-speak for the guy who handles social strategy and web content,” he says. Jarrod has been in the DMO world for nearly two decades and likes to joke (we hear you…it’s no joke at all) that he’s been doing digital marketing for so long that he actually made a Myspace page for his first DMO.
Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory encompasses the western half of Mt. Hood over to some suburbs of Portland and down to communities in the Willamette Valley. A haven for outdoor recreation, the region encompasses a rich heritage as the official end of the Oregon Trail plus a thriving agritourism scene.
We were following Jarrod as leader of a recent Twitter-based #TourismChat and asked him to expand his 2020 thoughts and challenges regarding “the cookie crumbles” for The Travel Vertical.
My Biggest Concern for 2020: The Loss of Targeting
I recently hosted a #TourismChat were many of my fellow “tourism geeks” discussed what we think will be the biggest trends for 2020.
There were some things that are easy to predict, like continued importance of video and ephemeral content. The one thing that has been the biggest conversation in my office the past week though came thanks to a pair of announcements by Google and Facebook.
As companies have been dealing with frequent revelations about mishandling our data, they’ve made mostly symbolic changes that haven’t caused us too much of an issue. We’ve lost a few options we could use when targeting our ads, but I haven’t felt like any of these changes have adversely affected our numbers. If anything, we’re seeing even better traffic from more engaged users as we continually monitor and adjust our targeting.
There’s concern in my office, however, that this is about to change.
The first bombshell came from Google, which stated that it will stop allowing third-party cookies in Chrome. Facebook has also just announced that it will now grant users the ability to clear their off-platform data that the social network tracks. As a consumer I was excited, but as a digital marketer, I’m terrified. Quality over quantity is a mantra at my office, and the targeting options are what allow us to focus on smaller numbers of more engaged users.
There’s less concern about Facebook; it’s likely that most users will not take advantage of this new feature, limiting the impact of targeting effectiveness. Google’s announcement, however, has much more potential to send ripples through our industry. The vast majority of traffic comes through Chrome. And while more privacy for consumers is always a good thing, our strategies may have to go through some rapid adaptations in the coming months. We don’t have answers yet, but as usual, the most nimble marketers will be the ones to reap the rewards from the latest in a long line of constant changes in our industry.
For related coverage in The Travel Vertical, click here.
What does your team think about these pending changes? Are you interested in DMOs sharing best practices for overcoming the challenge?
Honestly. Super Bowl ads now run up to $5.6 million for a 30-second spot.
Adweek reports that Fox Sports sold out of inventory for advertising’s biggest day back in November, netting a record-breaking $400 million.
Who dished out the cash? There were snacks like Snickers and Cheetos, big-name beers (Anheuser-Busch was the big spender at $41 million) and food that starts with a “P”: Pringles, Planters Peanuts, Pop-Tarts Pretzel and Pepsi (a $31 million spend). Plus Porsche and Hummer, Trump and Bloomberg, Facebook, Google and Amazon Alexa.
But destinations? Not so much. Until…
The Unexpected Opportunity
Look how tiny Winona, MN (population 27,000) scored for the win without the big bucks. A priceless opportunity, except that, “The portrayal of Winona wasn’t exactly helpful to us in a tourism sense,” writes Visit Winona.
The 30-second Squarespace ad featured native Winona Ryder building a webpage about herself and her namesake city, turning that into a (real-life) limited edition autographed photobook to benefit American Indian College Fund.
Filmed just last month, there are artistic, gritty snapshots but none of the city’s beautiful landmarks. “As art, it is a compelling display. As a marketing tool, not so much,” said the DMO.
So, how to grab onto the coattails, add to the narrative in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that demonstrates gratitude for the exposure while generating a more positive perspective of the town?
Act fast. Super Bowl digital assets for the Squarespace ad were released last Tuesday morning and by Thursday, Visit Winona had its strategy and response in play.
Visit Winona also spearheaded its own photobook, inviting social media followers to post true Winona #WelcometoWinona shots, some of which will be featured in a book released later this month with proceeds donated to community initiatives.
“Winona Ryder is a beloved figure in Winona and we appreciate being part of her story,” said Pat Mutter, executive director of Visit Winona. “The beauty of this campaign is that everyone will have their own version of what True Winona is, and we are looking forward to sharing those with the world too.”
Related: Visit Winona is featured in “Desperately Seeking Vermonters” in DMO Storytelling: Five Clever New Campaigns Tackle the Off-Season in The Travel Vertical.