Digitalisation and Sustainability Solutions for Recovery

As part of our efforts to react and support the industry, the #DTTT began hosting our popular Tourism Impact calls 2 months ago.

As part of our efforts to react and support the industry, the #DTTT began hosting our popular Tourism Impact calls 2 months ago. Now going into the ninth consecutive week, we reflect on what has been an interesting and insightful journey so far.

As part of our efforts to react and support the industry, the #DTTT began hosting our popular Tourism Impact calls 2 months ago. Now going into the ninth consecutive week, we reflect on what has been an interesting and insightful journey so far. In many lively discussions, we’ve shared perspectives about COVID-19 impact, destination strategy and recovery, with a huge range of destinations around the world. We are truly grateful for all the industry contributors who join us in keeping the industry motivated each week.

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This week we welcomed contributions from Birka Valentin, Jeanine Pires and Letitia Stevenson who shared their views on the impact, sustainability and data. The strategy for many destinations now is to look beyond COVID-19 and prepare for the changes and challenges that lie ahead. Destinations need to prepare for every scenario and stay one step ahead in their recovery plans. Here are the key takeaways.

Tourism Recovery will be built on Trust

It has been a difficult time for the industry and recovery may take longer than predicted. The negative impacts of COVID-19 have made people fearful, particularly when it comes to travel. Post COVID-19, many people will need a strong motivation to travel and assurances from the industry that it is responding to people’s questions and concerns. There will be a noticeable change in consumer behaviour, as people will want firm guarantees that they will be safe, not only physically but financially.

In order to gain trust, the industry must demonstrate the highest standards of health, safety and cleanliness. Everything depends on its actions as noted by our expert contributor Jeanine Pires. The industry must support measures that will allow people to travel with confidence. Much of this will depend on leadership, from a government level and a DMO level. In the short-term, a destination focusing on domestic tourism, must first get the trust of its domestic market before regaining the trust of its neighbouring countries. Trust is vital throughout all stages of recovery.

Emotion is a Destination’s Key Differentiator

It is important that DMOs maintain a strong relationship between themselves and their stakeholders. At a time when the world and its narrative has changed, destinations must apply a more human approach when they communicate and create an emotional connection between themselves, tourists and stakeholders. It is particularly important for industry businesses to adapt to the consumer’s mindset and be ready to have answers for them. An emotional connection to a destination will ensure it stays top of mind for visitors.

Travel post COVID-19 will be about value, experiences and more emotive than ever before. A destination’s communications must respond to visitors' emotions and well-being, in order to build the emotional attachment that will motivate them to travel. Emotion is a destination’s key differentiator.

Sustainability will remain a Top Priority post COVID-19

Sustainability was always a key topic for the industry and now more so than ever. Post COVID-19, the industry should not return to business as usual. As our expert contributor Birka Valentin explains, the industry must look at sustainable solutions as part of recovery.

In the short-term, destinations must reorganise, focus on traveller safety and supporting local businesses. In the medium term, destinations must design strategies for the future, but also focus on past problems that now need to be solved. Post COVID-19, destination sustainability will be reliant on understanding a destination’s capacity and implementing changes for good.

Destinations must identify their busiest spaces and develop a strategy to control them. The current situation has temporarily solved some of the past issues, but going forward, spatial distancing and sustainability will be hugely important to visitors, and also the improvement and reputation of a destination.

This is an Opportunity for Destinations to Grow Differently

Destinations can use the pandemic as an opportunity to do things differently. This can mean changing the approach to marketing, adapting the product offering and reinventing experiences. It is a chance to restart, redesign and rebuild. Destinations can grow by adding value, because value is what matters right now. DMOs can create a product that people are looking for, such as a good socially spaced experience when they travel.

The pandemic has brought attention to what really matters, and if destinations can incorporate this into their recovery strategy, then they will see the results. It is a time for innovation and using new tools, ideas and strategies to grow and thrive like never before.

Using Data to Design a New Future

As priorities for destinations have now changed, data is strongly needed. As a response to COVID-19, the industry has become more digital in its approach and data is now a key part of recovery. By making the switch from traditional data to Big Data, destinations can optimise and improve their operations, communications and product.

Data can be used as a solution in real-time, to monitor the pandemic, airport capacity, the source market, booking trends, impacts of programmes, jobs, and sentiment analysis. Data will give destinations a greater human understanding and allow them to see trends and make predictions. Now is a great opportunity to use data for the future development of destinations and to map out the way forward.

At the #DTTT, we view digital technology as part of the solution for destination recovery. There is an important role for technology to bring a consistent coordinated message to a destination’s stakeholders and visitors, in order to determine recovery. Digitalisation and sustainability are key solutions to ensure the future of tourism and are essential for its recovery.

Key Takeaways

Published on:
May 2020
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