⚠️The #DTTT will release its response plan on Thursday⚠️
The unpredictability of today’s climate presents challenges, opportunities and questions for us all. What we do know for sure is that to stay ahead of the game we need to be agile and adaptable to the constant speed of change. Competitive advantage lies in being able to respond to what is happening in real-time and this requires a diversified business model.
As we are currently facing the impact of the Coronavirus on a global scale, in addition to our key topics mentioned, we will be providing support and guidance for DMOs to help as much as possible throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
Coronavirus - What should DMOs do?
The impact of Coronavirus on the global tourism industry continues to grow. It is a very challenging time for DMOs trying to navigate the threat to the industry. It has been a time of much uncertainty as we question how the industry can move forward. At the #DTTT, we have produced a Coronavirus blog, which tracks industry developments as they happen and is updated daily. You can access it here.
DMOs must show leadership and communicate effectively with the industry and visitors, keeping track of the situation. It is important to work with the key partners to manage the crisis. It is advisable that DMOs stay relevant and visible on social media channels, providing official guidance and correct misinformation. It is also important for DMOs to stay updated and keep all their stakeholders well-informed.
There are still people who want to travel and will take advantage of an abundance of heavily discounted airfares and travel packages. It is the best time to travel (in terms of price) and the worst time to travel to destinations. It is an opportunity for DMOs and adapting the message for these willing customers is essential. DMOs should try to stay open for business until advised otherwise.
In response to the crisis, many businesses in the industry have introduced more relaxed customer-centric cancellation policies, which are very responsible and welcomed by customers. If the industry can pull together and show resilience and compassion in a very challenging time, it has the ability to survive. The recovery period will eventually come as people's desire to travel returns and DMOs need to be ready for this.
Ready for recovery - Post Coronavirus
DMOs need to take the lessons learned from this crisis and turn them into opportunity. Preparation for circumstances beyond control must be a key part of every DMO's strategy going forward. It is essential that DMOs have a recovery plan and that they look closely at their product, and adapt it based on the current climate to reassure potential future visitors.
Immediate concerns around the outbreak must be understood and responded to directly, in all DMO messages and communication. Transparency is key here. The important thing for visitors is to feel safe, particularly in crowds and amongst other tourists. As a starting point, DMOs should aim to project a safe, clean environment. Highlighting the cleanliness of their destinations and the methods used to achieve this. Destinations should also confirm how they would respond if a visitor shows virus symptoms.
It is important to look beyond the crisis. After dozens of keynotes and workshops delivered in 2019, we recap on the top 5 topics that will be key to DMOs that are ready for recovery post Coronavirus.
Sustainability is at the centre of almost every conversation today, and sustainable tourism development is now the driving force behind future destination strategies. At #DTTTGlobal 2019, the conversation centred around how to shape a sustainable future in tourism, and we were joined by DMOs and industry partners sharing how they are navigating this new journey.
The most important thing when it comes to targeting sustainable development is that your objectives are realistic, achievable and visible. That you are doing and succeeding rather than just saying. Share your destination’s plans around sustainable development and always share the progress. Visibility is really important here. Consumers and visitors alike want to know what brands are doing to help the climate crisis.
Here is the #DTTT's Sustainability Model which we use as a principal when working with DMOs.
Do it collectively. Sustainability is a priority for everybody. Involve citizens, businesses and visitors. Encourage them to make the change. Sustainable practice is now a competitive advantage.
“We are really at a moment in time to redefine ourselves as communities and destinations” - Caroline Betata, Visit California.
The New Consumer
Sustainability is deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of our future consumer who will increasingly seek positive value over mindless consumption. Consumers expect to have conscious experiences, expect to be inspired and expect brands to stand up for something.
For this reason, visibility is so important. If you are implementing new sustainable initiatives in your destination, share them, talk to your visitors about it, get their feedback. Create an open dialogue that visitors can be a part of.
This also links closely to maintaining strong brand values. This should be the foundation of everything you do.
Technology continues to transform the experience economy. Expectations are high and if an experience doesn’t deliver, that can result in a customer being lost, an increasing challenge in such a competitive landscape.
Along with this high level of demand, there is an ever-growing ecosystem of digital touch points which for DMOs, creates unprecedented opportunities to connect with travellers at any stage throughout the visitor journey.
To stay competitive, you have to listen to your visitors and to the ever-changing digital landscape. DMOs consistently come to the #DTTT to see what other destinations are doing and to explore the latest digital trends.
Along with digital trends, you need to know the most effective ways to reach your visitors. Technology is enabling behavioural shifts and a deeper understanding of visitors, and how to successfully reach 'the right kind of visitor'. From AR, bots and voice assistants, to personalised communications, technology is instrumental in improving the customer experience.
Every DMO has a responsibility to their industry, to help them develop, connect the community and keep the destination competitive. Ultimately, this is the key to delivering the best possible visitor experience by being present at valuable touchpoints in the journey, and ensuring all digital activities are aligned to the destination’s overall goal.
We have seen many destinations developing industry programmes, realising the importance of collaboration and the emphasis on a collective effort of knowledge and skills to drive a destination forward.
Today, success is only possible through collaboration and we are huge advocates of Design Thinking to get destinations thinking differently and pulling together whether that’s teams, the whole organisation or the wider destination and its stakeholders. Here is one of our workshops with visit.brussels, where we undertook a full digital transformation.
What are your key priorities for 2020? How has your organisation been affected by Coronavirus? Have you developed a new strategy? What have been your challenges so far?
We would love to hear about your visions and objectives looking to the future, and if you would like to arrange a workshop or keynote, please get in touch with the team. To learn more about our support for DMOs, visit our /Advisory section.
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