Africa Travel Week

ATW Podcast

4 lockdown marketing strategies you should employ right now

Make downtime work for you with these four simple marketing strategies.

COVID-19, Corona Virus, lockdown.

Call it what you will, the impact and effect of this unprecedented time is being felt by all. Understandably, many are in a state of continued panic. Livelihoods are on the line. Many in the tourism and hospitality space don’t only bear this pressure on behalf of their families, but also employees and their families too.

But I’m a practical chap and as much as I believe we need to take time to feel the pain of the loss we are experiencing, we also need to consider the future. And plan for it. The problem is there is no right or wrong answer to any question posed currently. Simply put – no-one knows what we should be doing.

MARKETING DURING LOCKDOWN

Continuing to market to your audience is vital during lockdown. Even though you cannot receive customers into your property/restaurant or venue right now, you must remain front-of-mind with them. They will be what drives your comeback when lockdown regulations are eased.

So herewith four marketing strategies I believe every tourism and hospitality business should be actioning right now.

STRATEGY #1 RE-THINK YOUR NEWSLETTER

The proverbial poor cousin of many a hospitality business. That continued one-thing that just never gets done, and receives at best, minimal attention.

Now’s the time to rethink this approach. With time on your hands, restrategise the layout, tone and general feel of this vital marketing tool. Check out Canva for a really easy to use design tool with many templates to inspire just about anyone. They have a great free option too.

Your revitalised newsletter is a great soft-sell method to stay front of mind and share some personal, lockdown-inspired stories with your audience. The more relatable and front of mind you remain during this period, the more likely it is that those feet will be walking through your door soon.

Take caution with regards to the frequency you issue your bomb-newsletter. Don’t become a spammer. If you were sending it out monthly, don’t start sending out every third day. Not cool. Twice a month would be a good start.

STRATEGY #2 TALK TO YOUR NICHE

As I said, everything has changed. So too will traveller demographics post Covid-19. Domestic tourism will be the driver of the #RebootTourism Revolution and you need to consider which niche your customers will be sourced from.

I see new emerging traveller classes. From Staycationers, to those looking to self-quarantine at a venue other than home, we are only now getting to grips with this shift. Identify what your operation is best suited to offer and which niche you will be serving. 

And start talking to them now. 

STRATEGY #3 LIST WITH SPECIALIST SITES

When lockdown hit here in South Africa, Di Brown aka The Roaming Giraffe and I put our heads together and came up with Virtual Bucket List.Guru. It is a platform that curates special offers in the South African tourism and hospitality industry, some at discounts of up to 50%. It is our way of working with the industry we call home, to give it the hope of a future, as we market South Africa to South Africans.

Virtual Bucket List.Guru is a win-win for both the tourism and hospitality operator as well as the consumer. Great deals aplenty and no payment is made until the experience is enjoyed at the future date. Even better, our service does not cost the operator anything until a booking is made and paid for by the consumer. Yip, no listing fees or monthly hosting fees! And we will market your offer to our combined audience of engaged accounts. Di and I are putting our money where our digital mouths are.

No date for the booking is required. It is a commitment to ‘future travel’ and hospitality services by fellow South Africans.

There are many other great specialist sites which will give you access to your niche, search them out!

STRATEGY #4 MARKET TO LOCAL TRAVELLERS

Local has never been so lekker (if you’re not South African [shame], this means ‘enjoyable’). Domestic tourism will be the driver of the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector here in South Africa. And you need to be prepared for the wave. People have been restricted to their homes and, at the appropriate time, will want to travel. It’s in our genes as South Africans.

Day Trips and Road Trips will again be the flavour of this sector. Consider your business and pivot to meet the new demand we will be experiencing. Are you a restaurant – relook at your menu to cater to authentic local cuisine, perhaps a menu redesign that speaks to the local traveller? Picnic baskets and day packs will be in high demand.

Are you a hotel, guesthouse or bed and breakfast – find out about local attractions in your area that you could suggest to local travellers staying with you. Suggest some local gems in your very neighbourhood or small town. Experience is the name of the game, get your research game on!

Of-course all these activities are listed on our new platform Virtual Bucket List.Guru – we’ve done all the work for you!

PARTING THOUGHTS

It’s as easy as that. Four simple marketing strategies you can get working on now, to make this lockdown work for your business.

Stay healthy and safe during this difficult time.

Ryan Enslin

Ryan Enslin is a Chartered Accountant by training, a writer and content creator at heart and, by day, an avid proponent of the tourism and hospitality industry. Often to be found with an assortment of cameras and lenses to hand, digital storytelling flows through his veins as he spends his days exploring and connecting with people. Using his acquired business skills, he seeks to weigh-in on relevant conversations of the day, all the while seeking to promote travel and hospitality in his beloved South Africa. Ryan writes on his platform My Lime Boots and is co-founder of the Covid-19 inspired platform Virtual Bucket List.Guru.