How Digital Brand Engagement will Shift

In an in-depth interview, our CEO Nick and Beautiful Destinations CEO Jeremy joined forces to discuss digital brand engagement.

In an in-depth interview with over 1,300 viewers, our CEO Nick Hall and Beautiful Destinations CEO Jeremy Jauncey joined forces to discuss digital brand engagement. It is evident that what we must do now as an industry, is come together and share knowledge to get us through the challenges we are facing.

In an in-depth interview with over 1,300 viewers, our CEO Nick Hall and Beautiful Destinations CEO Jeremy Jauncey joined forces to discuss digital brand engagement. It is evident that what we must do now as an industry, is come together and share knowledge to get us through the challenges we are facing.

As an industry solution, the #DTTT and Beautiful Destinations have created a destination programme, the Recovery Alliance, and developed a new marketing playbook in the “new normal.” This initiative is about understanding future travellers, using storytelling to be relevant and reinventing the community playbook.

Now is an unprecedented moment of change for the industry. We live in a digital world with more people focused on a digital economy. This extends to tourism, and it is clear that the future of travel is going to be digital. Here are the key takeaways from the discussion.

Social audiences and digital data can provide key insights

A key insight that has been noted, is the explosion of users on digital social platforms. Tourism Leaders and destinations previously used these platforms for traditional marketing communication but now, during COVID-19, that has shifted to a deeper interaction with the audience, as destinations connect on a more emotive and personal level. Destinations are now focused on what really matters to consumers and are asking key questions to build a strong connection. DMOs can use these real-time insights to find out what is important to consumers and make essential improvements but also to involve them in destination storytelling in order to get their message out.

Create content focused on consumer sentiment and needs

The first step to recovery will be building consumer confidence. Digital and social channels can be used by DMOs to discuss with consumers how they are feeling and what actions need to be taken to motivate them to travel again. Online audiences have huge research value for destinations and can act as a valuable focus group. The focus for all destination content must be to respond to the current consumer sentiment. Many people are afraid to travel, therefore traditional marketing and discounted offers will not appeal to them. Inspirational and remote dreaming content will however.

Through their research, Beautiful destinations has confirmed that people are less interested in pure travel advertising that encourages them to book today, and more keen to see positive impact and positive storytelling that engages them.”Homemade” innovative travel content is becoming increasingly popular as people tell their stories from home.

For maximum impact, select the right digital platform

DMOs must continue to use storytelling to inspire their audiences, but they must know which stories will work best on the different digital platforms. Each platform will trigger a different reaction from the consumer depending on which format they see. To ensure that a destination creates the desired impact, it must choose its digital platforms carefully and tailor its message for those platforms. Highly impactful campaigns will be more relevant and powerful if they are placed on the right platform. For destinations it's about understanding which content will be the most relevant and engaging to the platform’s audience. DMOs creating content during the pandemic should be creative and reinvent and repurpose existing content and make it into something new, creating a brand new story.

Sustainable Tourism will change the way we travel

Post COVID-19, sustainable tourism will be at the forefront of the consumer mindset. Destinations must use this as an opportunity to reset, do things differently, and to build a more sustainable future. Every DMO should focus on values and ensure there’s a shift from mass tourism to purpose-driven travel. It’s an opportunity for destinations to rebuild the right way. Destinations must adapt and change to incorporate those new values held by people.

Businesses that don’t adapt and change to the new consumer mindset will become less relevant, therefore it is important for them to stay agile and respond to consumer’s needs. The future of tourism will be built on sustainable travel as people have seen the positive effects on the environment and changed their consumer values. Rebuilding destinations will begin around the "less is more" philosophy. Destinations will need to drive tourism to recover but do it in a sustainable way to prevent over tourism and damage to the environment.

Build a business ready Brand based on values

Brands must ensure that they are providing a clear, consistent message, especially when they are represented by brand ambassadors. It's important that DMOs show leadership, and social responsibility when they educate and communicate their messages to society. Visibility around brand values and brand positioning is essential for when travel resumes post COVID-19. Destinations will be competing against every other industry when things return to normal, so they need to ensure that their brand stands out and people are clear about the brand and its values. Destinations will need to be creative when selecting ambassadors and recovery strategies to ensure they stay top of mind. DMOs must prepare their brand for the “new normal” to give themselves a head start when travel resumes.

At the #DTTT, we believe that now is a great opportunity for destinations to provide transparent, honest information to their audiences whilst focusing their efforts on developing their destination and content strategy for travel post COVID-19. Digital Brand engagement will only continue to grow as we get closer to recovery. Therefore destinations must be creative in this digital world and shift their focus back to their audience who will be the key to their recovery.

How has digitalisation be used by your destination? Is it part of your recovery strategy?

Key Takeaways

Published on:
May 2020
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