WHAT IS THE RIGHT MESSAGE TO MARKET RIGHT NOW FOR RESORTS AND TOUR OPERATORS?

Like many other travel related organisations the US Travel Association have been grappling with what is the most effective, and responsible, message to be broadcasting to travel consumers right now? As an industry we need to stimulate consumer interest and activity in booking travel, but how do we balance the responsibility of not knowing whether or when trips can be fulfilled with so much uncertainty about regional and national lockdowns, quarantine regulations and rising cases of Covid-19 in so many areas?

Their solution is the Let’s Go There campaign launched today, which encourages dreaming, research and planning now, with the industry being ‘ready’ when consumers are ready to travel.

The campaign plays on research which demonstrates the positive mental health impacts of planning a trip now, and having something to look forward too. It’s a difficult balance to encourage that commitment now, that can only work with enough flexibility in the product offering that a booking now is ‘for a future date’ but with the consumer given enough flexibility to determine when that will be.

Can that work operationally in the mountain industry, especially for those dates when demand exceeds supply and traditionally the message is book and commit early to get what you want? Do we need to move as an industry from becoming much more comfortable with less certainty, when a booking is treated as an intention to travel demonstrated with a payment but with flexibility to confirm the exact when, where and how later? It might be the only possible operational model for the near future, are we ready to embrace it?