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Corona: content strategies for the summer of 2020

4 marketing strategies that give tourism experts a headstart

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Portrait von Cornelia Maier. | © punkt & komma
Cornelia Maier
Head of content marketing

In the summer of 2020, nothing will be like it was before for people who work in tourism marketing – all because of COVID-19. Priorities need to be shifted, and projects are delayed or cancelled. No question: Corona certainly thwarted everyone’s meticulously planned marketing activities for the year …

We’ve come up with four marketing strategies for all those wondering what to do now. Every one of them is effective in its own right – but combined, they’ll have a power that really packs a punch! 

Marketing strategy no. 1

It’s all about domestic tourism!

Even though there are a lot of things still up in the air, one thing’s for sure: Almost all governments around the globe have issued travel restrictions and warnings. Politicians as well as tourism boards recommend spending the summer holidays in our own countries. But let’s be honest: Few tourism specialists – whether that’s hotels, destinations, or the leisure industry – are prepared to market to guests from within the same country. Why has domestic tourism not really been attractive until now? Because these guests didn’t stay long enough? Because they didn’t spend enough money on their trip? We may never know … 

However, now’s the time for tourism experts to seriously consider marketing to domestic travellers and figure out how they can appeal to them. You don’t have to tell the Austrians how beautiful the mountains are. Or maybe you do? Do Germans know about all the cultural highlights their own country boasts? And are Swiss people aware that they have lots of different options for both city trips and holidays by the lake? One might think so! 

It’s the tourism experts’ job now to step out of their comfort zone and address “their own people”. But how do you do that? 

Content marketing measures for your own country

  • Redefine your target audience: If short-term holiday makers and day trippers previously weren’t that relevant to you – they certainly are now. So think of what you can offer this target group and maybe even create new deals and packages for them! 
     
  • Create content geared to your new target audience: It’s obvious that day trippers have different needs than people who are interested in a longer stay. Now the question is: Is your content ready for that? Does it answer all the questions your audience might have? Of course, you don’t have to rewrite all your content or toss everything in the bin. Usually, it’s enough to tweak it a little, add new topics and create special landing pages. Tip: The latter can be advertised to the right audience with targeted ads. 
     
  • Attract attention: As mentioned above, a lot of tourism marketing experts fall victim to the belief that holiday guests from the region already know everything there is to know. But that’s absolutely not the case! When you address strategy number one, you’ll find out how to appeal to your (new) target audience and what it takes to attract their attention. Give Instagram Live a try, come up with a new design for your newsletters and collaborate with influencers to boost awareness! 

As you can see: Marketing to domestic travellers requires a well-conceived strategy. If you’ve got this one down, there’s nothing stopping you from having a great summer in 2020! 

Marketing strategy no. 2

Take advantage of the low season (autumn)!

Let’s face it: It’s time to ring the curtain on spring. That goose is cooked. By the time that people from Austria, Germany and Switzerland will be allowed to – and want to – travel again, it’ll easily be summer. So go ahead and switch your online content to summer (website, social media, newsletter, campaigns, landing pages, etc.)! 

Also think of ways to take advantage of the low season – in this case, autumn! The customer journey is changing now, and so is the peak tourist season. But that’s a good thing! 

Content marketing measures for autumn

  • Create offers, deals and packages specifically for autumn: If you don’t have any (bookable!) offers yet, it’s about time you created them. By offering tangible and concrete products, your customers are more likely to make a decision on where they want to spend their holidays or day trip. The more tailored to their needs the better! 
     
  • Make sure that people know about these offers: Having them in place is one thing. But if nobody knows they exist, it doesn’t matter how great your deals and offers are. You need to get the word out! It’s all about content distribution. Make use of the options you have regarding SEA, display ads and social ads and combine them with a well-conceived strategy for organic distribution. 
     
  • Bank on regular guests: Retention measures to make low season more attractive to regulars are quite possibly the most straight-forward strategy you can adopt. You’ll probably have data that you can use to reactivate your regulars. This data makes it easy for you to figure out who’s a possible candidate for a holiday in autumn. 

You’ve already thought about autumn being the new tourist season? Great! Now, all you have to do is implement these measures … 

Marketing strategy no. 3

Make use of storytelling!

Especially now – while corona is still top of mind – tourism experts have the chance to get a headstart with their storytelling measures. Crude advertising doesn’t work right now. The destinations or regions that will come out of all this successfully are the ones that are able to connect with their target group on an emotional level. People remember stories (not advertisements!), and they’ll remember them a few weeks from now when it’s time to generate bookings. We’re convinced that tourism can draw on a multitude of options for storytelling – more than most other industries. And that’s a real bonus! 

Content marketing measures based around storytelling

  • Define your role within the hero’s journey: As usual … you’re not the hero of the story – your customer is. Always keep that in mind! As a region or hotel, you’ll take on the role of a mentor for your customer. Like Baloo in “The Jungle Book” who helps Mowgli in all his adventures. But there are several roles you could adopt – for instance, the professor, the healer or the rebel. We’d be happy to tell you more about the different roles in storytelling. Just get in touch!
     
  • Adapt your content to the story: If you focus on storytelling across your various channels, you create a 360-degree experience for the users. They’ll be curious, want to find out more, dig deeper and, eventually, book their holiday with you because they have a subconscious connection to your brand. That’s why it’s important not to look at storytelling in isolation. It needs to encompass everything from web copy and social media to photo and video

There are always stories to tell – and you can find them anywhere. Provide your audience with entertaining content that distracts them from what’s going on with COVID-19! 

Marketing strategy no. 4

Work on a clear positioning!

You already have a strong positioning that lets you stand out from other regions or hotels? Great! Then you’re doing everything right. However, if this positioning means you offer everything to everyone, you might want to keep reading. 

The more clearly you define your positioning and communicate it to the outside world, the better your business sets itself apart – throughout all stages of the customer journey. It makes it easier to attract attention, and you’ll stay top of mind when people are looking for information. You’ll stand out when it matters most: during the booking process. 

How come? As humans, we just can’t remember everything. We only remember those things that stick out and that are unique. So be a little more daring when it comes to highlighting the USPs of your region or hotel!  

Marketing measures that help you position yourself

  • Take a closer look at your USPs: Always think about what you can offer your customers and what makes your region or hotel unique. What do you have to offer that others don’t? This could be things like the most sunshine hours in the country but also smaller details such as special package deals or even people. 
     
  • Communicate them to your target groups: outspokenly or a little less outspokenly – both is important! In the online world, we only have a few seconds to get people to notice our brand. That’s when you need to be outspoken: Communicate your USPs clearly and openly – without beating around the bush. It can be a little less outspoken for web copy and social media. 

All of these four marketing strategies can be adopted individually – and they’ll be very effective on their own. But of course, you can also combine them and apply them in different areas of your business. 

Our recommendation: Strategies are important – but summer will be here before you know it. So implement what you decide on in the planning phase as soon as possible! 

We hope you’re motivated to tackle the corona summer season of 2020 now! As your external team for content and content marketing, we’re happy to help you in whichever way we can.

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