How destinations can use data to navigate recovery

Weronika Czekaj

How destinations can use data to navigate recovery

Article originally published in Travel Weekly

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) traditionally rely on data to collect, analyze and understand visitor trends.

With COVID-19 restrictions bringing travel to a halt in many countries, data has become even more instrumental to help build traveler confidence and rethink travel for the future. All of that while navigating recovery – as a number of DMOs have successfully done.

Freddy Friedman, Managing Director of Amadeus travel audience, shares his key takeaways for destinations:

Understand and act fast on traveler insights throughout different recovery stages

While travelers have not stopped searching for their next trip, they now prioritize flexibility and simplicity. This means that any pre-pandemic data points, from booking to arrival dates, need to be reassessed. Moreover, visitor data will differ from week to week, depending on the perceived safety and convenience of travel.

So, the first step for DMOs to capitalize on demand during this period of recovery is to analyze how preferences and behaviors have changed. Only then can they plan effective campaigns to communicate the right messages to the right audience, at the right time.

Case Study: Marketing Greece campaigns powered by data

One-quarter of the Greek economy is based on tourism, so it was crucial to understand the shift in tourist demand by identifying patterns in user searches.

In 2020 Marketing Greece – a non-profit organization established to promote tourism in the country – launched a series of strategic campaigns across multiple recovery stages, powered by data that showed when and how to relaunch campaigns:

  1. ‘Greece From Home’: The inspiration phase focused on keeping travelers’ interest. notifying them about changes in restrictions. By regularly reviewing campaign effectiveness, the DMO picked the optimal time to move to the next phase.
  2. ‘Until the Time is Right’ campaign launched in mid-April. Its aim was to reassure travelers that the country would soon be open for tourists.
  3. ‘Endless Greek Summer’ encouraged travelers to take advantage of the warm weather, off-season, or at the end of summer. The hopeful messaging built on the positive reputation Greece gained during its successful handling of the first wave of the pandemic.

Understand demand to minimize risk and promote safer travel

Many destinations, especially long-haul, have difficulty understanding travelers’ origins due to indirect flights. But air connectivity poses even more of a problem in the recovery period. The visitors may take higher-risk routes involving stopovers in countries with high infection rates.

With the right data analysis, DMOs can pinpoint demand, invest resources wisely, and negotiate the opening of new routes – thus, minimizing risk.

Backed by data, innovation, and technology, they can communicate more effectively to reassure visitors, encourage demand, and forge the pathway to recovery.