This year’s National Tourism Week has a theme of Recovery, which is more meaningful than it has ever been. Personally and professionally, everyone’s focus and values have truly recalibrated. The old adage “business as usual” has evaporated, for everyone. There is a common question we find our partners asking themselves: “as tourism marketing professionals what are we going to do differently?” In a climate of constant change and new demands, and a need for diversification, “recovery” is more about evolution than it is about regaining what we had. To recover means to improve, change and thrive in a new world.
Be open to new approaches.
There are many factors that have shifted tourism forever and many other factors that will go back to what they were. Hotels and restaurants will fill back up, but people may be booking reservations on their mobile phones. People may go back to bachelor parties and business trips, but they may include more outdoor excursions, or be more local than before. All of this is happening at the same time that the industry itself is changing, as data privacy rules change and tactics and technologies evolve. No trend is certain, and the only way to understand the new world is to stay informed.
Work with trusted partners to learn about trends, from new data regulations to new consumer trends. The most successful partners ADARA works with keep their ears open and want to be educated. Even successful tactics may need to be rethought and updated to be compliant or effective in the coming months.
Plan for a reset.
As the outside world changes, so too, does the organization. The same person, resource, tool or system is likely to be very different now than it was a year ago. Some organizations have right-sized and others are growing. Processes and channels need to become flexible and may benefit from new types of data. New technologies might need to be implemented to reach people on new channels or gain necessary insights to operate efficiently. In some cases, more efficiency and support is needed, as staff and agency teams are expected to do more with less. The only way to know what needs to be reset is to investigate, discuss and ask, both internally and preferred partners. The tourism team here at ADARA has more than doubled in 2021 in support of recovery for our partners.
Accept that accountability has shifted and increased.
Responsible tourism is about sustainability and preserving product and experience while balancing education, crowd control, health, welfare and profitability. Recovery means a fortified approach to smart tourism marketing. Some of the most important work we do is with measurement and attribution to understand how your customer today is responding to your creative, your channels and your strategy. Reporting that isn’t in real time, refreshed daily and up to the minute, is much harder to action — since the market is so fluid. The most effective and responsible tourism teams are proactive, getting out in front of the issues, paying attention to trends and setting their own. Ethically sourced data, managing data strategy and understanding how and when to pivot will be paramount to a sustainable strategy.
Embrace all tourists locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.
We are all ambassadors wherever we go, whatever we do. Communicating the value of this is full time work. You just need one encounter on the freeway or at the store with an irate, unreasonable person to know that we are all either part of the solution or part of the problem.Success, as a tourism marketer, is defined by our marketing and communication strategy both internally and externally. This lasts all year long, not only one week of the year.
We have all seen great challenges, great success stories, grave missteps and amazing resilience in the past year. We have learned to “ride with the tide”, sometimes not knowing what direction the tide will go. Adapting to changing conditions has been at the heart of top tourism marketers. They test, they measure, they shift, they respond and they communicate back. Those of us that work in tourism and hospitality have travel in our DNA. We exchange personal, work-related and professional pieces of advice, encouragement and understanding. That is what makes this industry so dynamic and contributed 2.9 trillion*, yes trillion, dollars to the United States GDP in 2019.
So high five your peers, your customers, your partners, your leadership and your colleagues as they are all part of Recovery in a renewed, smarter, refreshed way. Happy National Tourism Week!
*Global tourism industry – statistics & facts / Statista published by S. Locke December 9, 2020
VP, Cruise & Leisure Sales,