By Josep Maria Palau, Inmedia Solutions CEO
Many destinations, nearby or exotic, have been silent these days. They have stopped talking to us, inspiring us. They might think: people are not buying trips, why should we inspire anyone? Well, the answer is very easy: so as not to disappear.
The travel and tourism sector faces an unprecedented crisis. This time it is not a specific problem caused by a storm or the explosion of a volcano. This time, the phenomenon affects the entire planet at once, and it is this uniqueness that has left destinations perplexed, frightened and withdrawn. They will invest again in advertising activities when all this has happened. But by then, perhaps they will have disappeared from the collective imagination. Instead, the large companies in the sector, the most organized destinations with sufficient resources, will continue to make a regular investment in communication. It is already happening, for example, with the #BarcelonaVisitsYou campaign; a successful initiative from Barcelona city council to keep interest in the city despite the lockdown. Those who fail to do so will be lost in oblivion, forcing them to practically start from scratch.
Besides, it is known that consumers tend to be more faithful to those references that accompanied them in the worst moments or that had at least a regular presence. Insecurity is a bad counselor when it comes to investing in promotion, but in the 21st century, there are many ways to stay visible effectively and at a very low cost. There are no real excuses, just uncertainty and excess caution.
Although global travel is largely blocked, there is still room to publish inspiring content, proposals that will make the future tourist keep that destination in mind, even if they do not want to or cannot book it now. Only then, when all this happens, you will be sure that the place you planned to visit is still there to satisfy your demand. Destination marketing is often thought-provoking, and in tough times it can even inspire hope for the future and a mental balancing factor against anxiety.
But when will each destination recover? It will depend a lot on several factors, such as the type of activity that takes place there, the re-establishment of transport networks, etc. However, what is clear is that rise will come due to accumulated demand. And the destination that is still present in the traveler’s mind will be the one that harvests it.