Signs of Normalcy Ahead in Next 60 Days

Survey finds marketing to pick up within the next two months after firms went radio silent during COVID-19.

Signs of Normalcy Ahead in Next 60 Days

Remember the good old days of being annoyed by paid media campaigns and marketing targeting your every move? It seems like nothing compared to being stuck in the house waiting on business to pick up.

An encouraging new survey from MMGY Intelligence, in partnership with the Destinations International Foundation, suggests marketing should re-start in earnest in May or June. The survey was conducted among employees of organizations representing U.S. cities, regions and states.

This comes as many destination management organizations were forced to drop promotional efforts with many travelers under stay-at-home orders. With little tourism dollars coming in, DMOs, like many groups, reduced expenditures to help preserve as many jobs as possible. 

While many CVBs and hotels have remained active on social media, the messaging has shifted from drawing traffic to messages of hope and efforts to maintain connections.

But with the summer in the front window, travel will return to top-of-mind, especially with audiences limiting their movements from their homes to supermarkets. 

“COVID-19 has had a substantial financial impact on the tourism industry, and destination organizations have responded quickly by deferring marketing funds in a responsible manner,” says Craig Compagnone, chief operating officer at MMGY Global. “However, search data is telling us that there is still a strong desire to travel, and we believe this pent-up demand will result in a high volume of shorter booking window trips when bans are lifted and consumers believe it is safe to get out and explore again.”

More than half of the survey respondents say email marketing and advertising will resume in the next 60 days. Sponsorship activations remain unlikely, with only 20% saying they anticipate being active. 

While this is just a first step toward industry revival, it is an important one. Never again will a personalized Facebook ad look appealing.