Reshaping Marketing Strategy with Travel Oregon

How will destinations support their local communities and the industry during COVID-19? What is the best way to respond?

How will destinations support their local communities and the industry during COVID-19?  What is the best way to respond? For destinations such a Travel Oregon, they chose to restrategise, reinvest and restart.

How will destinations support their local communities and the industry during COVID-19?  What is the best way to respond? For destinations such a Travel Oregon, they chose to restrategise, reinvest and restart.

The #DTTT hosted a live chat with the team from Travel Oregon to find out about how they're working to support the industry through this period. Travel Oregon is regarded by us as a leader in industry support, so we were keen to learn how they responded.

Destinations must respond quickly and responsibly

As the COVID-19 crisis emerged, Travel Oregon was quick to respond, which in their view paid benefits. Oregon was not as badly affected as other areas, but  provided key support in many ways, for example the government of Orgeon donated ventilators to other communities that needed them. Travel Oregon’s strategy was to react quickly, respond responsibly and be a trusted source of public information for the local community and visitors.

Travel Oregon re-wrote their message, encouraging visitors not to travel and stay safe, with powerful, hard-hitting messages. They have become a steward for the state and whilst providing clear public messaging, they have also shared messages of hope and positivity. At the #DTTT, we feel that this is a great approach, as it will build trust and confidence in the destination as a safe environment to visit post COVID-19.

Restrategise, Reinvest and Restart

Prior to COVID-19, Travel Oregon was focused on the L.A market and was ready to launch their campaign. Once the impact of COVID-19 became clear, Travel Oregon changed their strategy. Their initial L.A campaign was stopped immediately, with the new strategy prioritising saving money for recovery. The timing of the crisis allowed Travel Oregon to save money on what would’ve been a huge investment.

Travel Oregon planned for an early recovery, focusing on staying flexible, measuring impact and researching consumer mindset. By restarting a new campaign, Travel Oregon is reinvesting its money into recovery and adapting its message to stay top of mind for people for when we can travel again. At the #DTTT we believe the best approach for DMOs is to restrategise, reinvest and restart, as this will put destinations in the best positon for recovery.

Focus on Real People, not Visitors

Travel Oregon’s strategy is to support the industry and the local community. Instead of promoting the destination, Travel Oregon is changing the narrative by promoting the local community. It is a tourism brand that is admiring everyday people, showing the good deeds that Oregonian’s are doing for each other during the crisis. They are essentially expanding into the local community.

By supporting the local community and showing their stories, Travel Oregon is switching the focus from its visitors to its local residents. It is generating key support for people and businesses that need it the most. These people will be at the heart of recovery when travel begins again.

At the #DTTT, we have seen how impactful local stories are in campaigns, and now it is the people who are telling the story. The local community must always be at the centre of a destination’s recovery strategy.

Create a new Content Strategy

As a result of the impact of COVID-19, Travel Oregon stopped all paid media and began talking to its audience on social media. At the #DTTT, we understand the huge value in content, as was noted by Travel Orgeon, whose engagement was up by 40%.

Travel Orgeon’s aim was to refocus people’s energy with always-on content, showing natural things that people can appreciate in the moment. By creating videos of sunsets and nature, Travel Oregon is sharing how people can enjoy Oregon from home. Travel Oregon continues to communicate responsibly through its content, and observe how people are responding. Responsibility and positivity are Travel Oregon’s key messages.

Prepare and Plan for Recovery

Travel Orgeon’s preparation and planning for recovery has already begun. They have created a spreadsheet for when things become open, so they can create the right messaging. Their recovery plan will be led with social media, followed by brand work.

The strategy is to change the narrative, keep the campaign flowing and prepared for every scenario. Destination management is the focus, as is what tourism will look like post COVID-19. The consumer mindset, which Travel Orgeon anticipate will be a combination of fear and financial impact, will be taken into account when looking at their destination’s product. They are currently re-addressing their product, to ensure it’s ready for visitors. Choosing to redesign a new programme, offer something different and ensure that the community is open for business. The core focus will be on state travel, promoting their outdoor spaces and adding value.

At the #DTTT, we believe that destinations will now need to focus energy where it's needed, which will bring with it challenges. Restructuring and re-working to adjust to the current climate is essential to aid recovery. Travel Oregon is well positioned for recovery, with its focus less on the visitor and more on businesses and the environment. Destinations must stay positive and continue to put people at the heart of their recovery plans.

Key Takeaways

Published on:
May 2020
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