Communications is going to be key to attracting visitors and paying customers once more
We’ve had mini-breaks to the coast cancelled, trips to the theatre postponed and holidays abroad scrapped for the foreseeable.
I for one am itching to have a break and do something fun that doesn’t involve our home or a nearby park.
And with the announcement that some businesses in the hospitality industry can reopen from July 4th (if safety measures are in place), we’re all hopeful of some sort of normality this summer.
Brits are keen to get away to relax or to just experience something different, but operators have a job of not only reassuring and inspiring confidence in their guest’s safety, but attracting visitors and paying customers once more.
From our extensive experience within the hospitality and visitor economy sector and through our work with the likes of Continuum Attractions, The Jockey Club, QHotels, Visit Leeds and Welcome to Yorkshire, we’ve seen first-hand how creative communications is not only going to be key to capitalising on domestic visitor opportunities but also to many businesses’ survival.
How are consumer’s feeling?
As always at Aberfield you need to start by listening to and understanding your audiences. Alligator Digital & BVA BDRC Research has been monitoring consumer attitudes since the beginning of Covid-19, and has found that the number of those intending to book and take a UK holiday this year is increasing significantly, with 63% of people saying that they are planning to book accommodation.
Similar can be said for attractions, with intention to visit at its highest since tracking began, with 27% intending to do so in the next three months.
More locally, Welcome to Yorkshire has also recently revealed statistics suggesting interest in the county’s attractions has suddenly risen, with the www.yorkshire.com website seeing an increase in traffic by 47% in May compared to April. On top of this, Welcome to Yorkshire has just launched its recovery plan for the Yorkshire tourism industry, with its plan to ‘Reopen, Recover and Rebuild’.
However, understandably, there is still a lot of nervousness.
Consumers, myself included, are unclear on how venues are going to reopen safely, so changes need to be communicated in a clear and sensitive way. Now more than ever these businesses need to focus on creating a marketing and communications strategy that not only entices customers but informs them.
So how can businesses communicate effectively and reassure consumers?
Who has been successful already?
Some organisations have been successful at keeping their audiences engaged during lockdown, adapting their services and communications to reflect a ‘stay at home’ world. So, it’s worth taking a look at what they’ve done.
After a rocky start, Airbnb stands out as a success story, with its website full of well-presented and developed content, including offers for front line staff and an ‘online experiences’ section with live, interactive sessions from across the world ranging from cooking lessons to dance workshops.
Those that have continued to engage with audiences successfully have put a high emphasis on their digital content and use of social media. For example, the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds moved its Field of Cloth of Gold exhibition online and has been sharing content on Twitter using the hashtag #MuseumFromHome, alongside other museums across the UK.
The food and drink industry has also been getting creative with digital tech. From online pub quizzes from the likes of North Brewing, to Instagram live cook-alongs with Michael O’Hare’s Man Behind the Curtain, social media and video technology has been vital to engaging with audiences throughout lockdown.
Our leisure and travel sectors have a tough journey ahead of them but adopting some of the tips above will certainly be a step in the right direction.
To recover effectively and draw in audiences, communications, PR and marketing will be key. And then it’s our job as a community to support them, where we can and feel comfortable doing so.