Five Social Media Tips to Address the Pandemic in Your DestinationMarch 23, 2020 | By: Ashley Kotar
Last week, DCI analyzed the social media profiles of well-known destinations and attractions to see how they were addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and travel during this uncertain time. Here are the main takeaways we uncovered.
As you consider your own plans in the coming weeks, we recommend you keep the tips below in mind.
1. Address the Elephant in the Room
While the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges, many destinations and attractions did not openly acknowledge the pandemic initially. Instead, we saw that destinations and attractions that did address the pandemic from the start garnered the highest (and most positive) engagement compared to other social posts within the two-week timeframe. Disney Parks & Resorts, for example, was forthcoming about the park closures and utilized “see you soon” messaging that was heartwarming and generated the strongest engagement compared to other destinations’ social posts. Maintain open and honest lines of communication with your audience as you navigate through the situation together.
2. Focus on Humanity
With hotels, restaurants and attractions – the core of the travel industry – facing hardships, it is essential to share uplifting stories of communities and individuals banding together for support. As the situation continues to evolve, consumers look to the travel industry as a trusted source of information. Sharing useful and recent information about closures, cancellations and destination updates is welcomed content, which is what Visit California has done on their website, blog and social channels to help keep their audiences as informed and up-to-date as they are themselves, championing the message that we are truly in this together.
3. Showcase Virtual Attractions
Social distancing, quarantine and school closures have people, especially working parents, eagerly looking for fun and educational entertainment. Celebrate attractions that offer virtual tours or live streams, like Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific Penguin Cam and Online Learning Center. Local experts have also gone virtual, offering free online workout classes on Instagram and dining alternatives, like Newport Beach. The Jamestown Yorktown Foundation has also launched its History is Fun – At Home initiative in this spirit. Leveraging virtual offerings on social encourages people to explore and engage with the destination or attraction in a different way and helps to propel excitement about a destination.
4. Encourage People to Stay at Home
People’s safety should remain a top priority and encouraging people to stay home should replace any “travel now” call to actions at this time. Visit Estonia, for example, launched a social campaign encouraging people to #StayHome and “Visit Estonia… Later”! Visit Madeira launched a similar social campaign driving the messaging, “Stay home now. Dream online. Visit us later.” In both instances, these social campaigns have generated incredible engagement with the overwhelming majority of people sharing comments of excitement to visit both destinations in the future and applauding the genuine sentiment.
5. Re-evaluate Weekly, be Ready to Change Daily
As it stands right now, destinations should continue to post, just at a less frequent pace. However, as the crisis evolves daily, so too should the social strategy. Ensure that your strategy is malleable and monitor the crisis closely to determine how frequently to post, to match content tone with that of the media and to continue to share information that is helpful and uplifting.
DCI has been a leader in social media to help DMOs grow in both good times and trying times, If you have any questions on your current social media strategy, feel free to reach out to Susan Brake at [email protected]. Remember, we’re all in this together.