So, Your Media Is Paused. Now What?
- Posted by Kate Hinson
- On April 14, 2020
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, each day can seem more uncertain than the last. With each passing day in this new reality, many marketers are scratching their heads and asking “what now?”
From those with reductions in media budgets – to media budgets put on a complete pause – one thing is certain across the travel industry: the recovery from COVID-19 is imminent, and rather than waiting for it to come, you need to be planning for it now.
Below are three things hoteliers should take action on right now in regards to their marketing efforts, even before recovery arrives.
Monitor Your Data & Gather Insights
Now is the perfect time to reevaluate your target audience. Having a strong pulse on your primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences will avoid wasting media budgets on users who aren’t likely to purchase and allows for smarter campaign strategies and messaging.
- Using Google Analytics, you can uncover your top online converting regions, device types, ages, and genders. You can also better know affinity categories and in-market segments using current user behavior, OTA insights, and building audience personas.
- Review real-time audience data and couple that with past guest data to ask yourself these questions:
- What region are users coming from? This will help solidify top drive and fly markets.
- How many guests are typically on each reservation? Ages? Understanding if reservations are mostly families, groups of friends, or couples will help make sure you have the right messaging and targeting in place.
- How far in advance did guests book? Identifying various booking windows will help ensure your targeting and messaging syncs up with the timeframe for when people are most likely to book their stays.
- What other lines of business did guests purchase? This can help uncover package and promotion ideas. For example, did a significant percentage of people play golf? Do you have a drive and fly market golf package available?
- With recovery likely on the horizon, use this time to analyze the audiences you expect to engage with first, most likely the local/drive market audience. Use this time to get a firm grasp on who is staying at your property to ensure you are serving the right messaging to the right people at the right time.
Plan Your Revised Marketing Messaging
Have examples of recovery messaging ready to go across channels for search, display, social, and email campaigns, as well as corresponding landing pages on your website with the same content.
If you wait until the data indicates demand is on the rise and users are ready to book again, the competitive landscape will already be too crowded. You need your marketing materials ready for when that time comes (because it will come soon), and if you aren’t prepared, you risk missing out on revenue from potential guests while you scramble to generate messaging.
- Be Sensitive – Even once recovery comes, things will not be what they once were. There is a new reality, and it must be acknowledged. Avoid phrases that don’t take the situation into account. For example, a sentence like, Who can resist a getaway to (destination)? in an ad ignores the fact that even in recovery, many people will not be comfortable or ready to travel even if others are. Don’t gaslight. Acknowledge people’s fears and concerns on travel and provide a supportive, realistic solution.
- Personalize – This is arguably more important now than ever before. The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all of your consumers, and they need to be spoken to differently because of it. Consider your audiences from the data you gathered per the above and ask yourself:
- What does my drive market need to hear versus my fly market given the current state of things?
- Are you talking to parents who may still be wary of traveling too far with their families?
- Are you speaking to business travelers who will have trips scheduled and need certain accommodations?
Plan your messaging accordingly for your audiences. You should also create lists for each of your segments to organize the corresponding messaging.
Engage Your Customers
Even if your paid marketing is paused, you should still be communicating with your audiences. While you may not necessarily be selling to your customers at the present moment, they are all human, and people are looking for connection now more than ever.
Get creative and think about ways you can provide that connection, whether it be via organic social media or personalized newsletters. Furthermore, the way you communicate with past, future, and potential guests on behalf of your brand right now will impact their current and future buying behaviors. Take the following into account to help guide your engagement.
- Be Present – Don’t use a challenging situation as an excuse to go dark for fear of saying the wrong thing. Your audiences are looking for connection. Think about how you prefer to be communicated with and do so thoughtfully – with timeliness across brand touchpoints despite, and also in light of, the current landscape. Remind consumers that you are there for them. Be a comfort and a constant in an uncertain time.
- Address Concerns – Think back to your audiences and who they are. What do they need, and what have you done or what can you do as a brand to help fulfill those needs? Make sure your website content, reputation management channels, calls, email addresses, and every brand touchpoint you have informs users how your brand has adapted to the current scenario and how these adaptations can help them.
- Offer Support – What can you give your audience that serves them? Who are your consumer segments? Do you have spa enthusiasts that you could give tips on how to recreate these services at home during this stressful time? If your location inspires people to dream about destinations, how can you continue to offer that inspiration as a sense of light and wonder in a difficult time? Does your brand stand for family experiences? What content could you produce that could be fun for a family to do together in their own house?
Here is a list of creative content we’ve gathered for inspiration.
Above all, you should not have to navigate any of this alone. Turn to your partners for ideas, guidance, and collaboration.
At Screen Pilot, we’re here to navigate this time together.
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