This article from American Marketing Association summarized the times we are living (as marketers and brand managers) perfectly:

"There’s no denying that many businesses across many industries are suffering as a result of this latest outbreak: travel and tourism, conventions and festivals, restaurants and retail, and more. However, we need to understand—and history will remind us—that things will bounce back. As consumers, our priorities are going to shift but people are not going to stop eating, communicating or seeking solutions to their needs. People are going to continue consuming—they will just do it differently."

We decided to create a list of practical strategies that your DMO can use to stay digitally connected with your audience during these challenging times, instead of going dark.

Recovery time will come, and soon enough, and your brand needs to be rememberedor better yet, never have been forgotten. 

Caring For Your Brand Messaging

  1. Adjust your Social Media message. Instead of pausing social media posts, continue your social media strategy, with an adjusted message including inspirational user-generated posts, articles, history facts, #ThrowbackThursdays and more.

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  2. Host a Live Facebook video around the destination or in key natural open spaces.

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  3. Promote restaurants offering take-out / delivery options with a dedicated landing page on your DMO website, displaying real time social media posts with the latest information published by the restaurant.

    If you utilize our ImGoing SaaS Facebook Places module, you can easily categorize your take-out restaurant into a Custom Category, and later embed the custom category view into a "take-out" only landing page.

    For example, the Coney Island Drive Inn in Brooksville, FL is posting daily about their to-go options. Florida's Adventure Coast website integrated real-time Facebook posts from each restaurant in their community.

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  4. Promote Shops, Boutiques and Art Galleries that are offering online products for purchase. Create positive and support message with your local businesses, while allowing visitors that are wishing they could be enjoying your destination, to participate and impact the community. For shops that wish they could sell online, online payment software such as StripePayPal or PaySimple will do the job.

  5. Be the Leader on COVID-19 Resources
    Naturally, the travel industry businesses will be expecting your DMO team leadership to navigate these unforeseen challenges.

    • Be the most up to date source of information on the community - with a COVID19 dedicated page on your website, including Health Department information, Local and State Executive Orders, tips for local businesses and anything else relevant to your particular destination.
      Example: Visit New Smyrna Beach, Florida COVID-19 Resources Page

    • Show support to residents that may have lost travel industry jobs, by posting a landing page with local available jobs and potential employers that are still hiring.
      Example: Visit New Smyrna Beach, Florida Jobs Page

  6. Create a "Stay at Home" Landing Page. While visitors cannot actually visit your destination, that doesn't mean they cannot visit your website and keep your brand in mind. DMOs such as Visit Hendricks County have cleverly realized visitors a.k.a. parents, are stuck at home and need activities with their children. If that's your audience, creating a landing page with online children activities (videos, artwork templates, homework activities). 

Working Together With Local Partners 

"Rent" Hotel Rooms for Workspace

It is evident that the lodging industry has suffered the most. Across the U.S. the occupancy has drastically lowered to single digits in the start of a season where stays can reach the 80%.

To avoid closing, a few hotels are starting to offer to rent the rooms or suites for workspace. SpringHill by Marriott in Springfield, IL has created a reduced price for a single suite, with WiFi and a private (read: quiet and without your dog barking during your conference call) workspace for rent. This addresses an huge audience or residents working from home and allows the hotel to collect some revenue to remain open.

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Co-Host a Partner Webinar with ITI Digital

We are offering to co-host a FREE webinar directed to your local businesses.

Theme: From DMO to Partners - How to Stay Digitally Connected with Customers

Objectives:

  • To share ideas of social media messaging with local businesses
  • Encourage businesses to share online classes and events
  • Provide positive leadership and encouragement to local businesses with practical marketing ideas during this challenge time

Suggested Webinar Topics

  • Events Calendar
    • Review Events Calendar platform and event submission for Summer/Fall for users of the ImGoing SaaS
    • Provide suggestions and ideas for digital events - online classes, workouts, live music sessions. 
  • Facebook Places
    • The importance of Facebook to promote a business
    • The opportunity the CVB is offering - Review the Facebook Places module on the CVB website for users of ImGoing SaaS
    • Maximizing the opportunity by creating quality content
  • Instagram 
    • Using Instagram Live and Instagram TV apps
    • The value of Instagram Stories
    • Partnering with the CVB (I suggest that we work with the team to create user-generated libraries to display, for instance, food images on the restaurant page, etc.) for users of the ImGoing SaaS

If you are interested in co-hosting the webinar, please contact our Director of Digital Strategy, Aline Gill, to schedule a date and further discuss at aline@iti-digital.com