How to stay ahead of competing destinations during recovery

Elena Isasi

Dubai Skyline

Originally published in PhocusWire

Due to ongoing travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the pandemic, it is a time of great uncertainty for many destination marketing organizations (DMOs).

So, what can DMOs do to stay ahead of competitors and nurture traveler interest during recovery?

From what we have seen throughout 2020, those DMOs who understood their potential visitors and ran campaigns to keep them front of mind were able to successfully increase their market share, once travel became possible again.

Use data and AI to identify and understand the demand

In June 2020, the Amadeus travel audience team launched a campaign with Marketing Greece aimed at attracting travelers from Germany and Austria.

Given the changing travel restrictions, demand shifted on an almost daily basis. So, with the help of data and AI, Marketing Greece was able to identify and understand demand. As a result, they delivered impactful content to the right travelers at the right time.

It’s a strategy that paid off and helped them stay ahead of the competition.

Their first campaign ‘Greece From Home’ – a project for Greek National Tourism Organization – shared travel updates and encouraged safe travels, against imagery of striking Greek scenery. It helped them achieve key campaign goals of inspiring confidence in travelers before restrictions eased.

It also helped Greece reach a market share of 25% by the end of July 2020, compared with other Southern European destinations – and higher than the same time in 2019, when Greece’s share was less than 20%. All in all, it was a big success.

Understanding the stages of the booking journey – from inspiration to booking

Strategies usually start with the inspiration phase, showing potential visitors relevant advertising. It keeps interests high and notifies them of changes in restrictions and availability.

Reviewing campaign data regularly helps DMOs pick the optimal time to move to the next phase. Furthermore, also to optimize campaigns based on best-performing assets, like videos or banners. It also helps ‘feed’ AI algorithms, resulting in even more precise and relevant targeting.

For example, Marketing Greece’s ‘Greece From Home’ campaign evolved into ‘Until the Time is Right’. Its goal was to reassure visitors that the country would soon be open for tourism. It culminated with the ‘Endless Greek Summer’ campaign, inspiring visitors to travel outside of peak periods.

As our latest data shows, travelers are still searching for their next destination and demand is high:

  • Greece received more attention in autumn and winter than in past years (October 2020)
  • Searches for the Canary Islands, previously part of a safe travel corridor from the UK, grew by 256% during October 2020 and were 129% higher in November.

To conclude, DMOs that plan ahead and keep tourists informed and inspired via compelling campaigns, powered by technology and based on insightful data, will be well-positioned for recovery.