Communicating Through The COVID-19 Crisis
MARKETING BEST PRACTICES
COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS FROM VISIT CALIFORNIA
- Email Campaigns: This is a direct avenue to reaching your customers. Right now, your customers are looking for reassurance and information. If you have a new sanitation procedure in place, share it with them. If you have revised your cancellation policy, let them know. Don't ignore the climate and only promote offers. Remember to be empathetic.
- If you need help crafting an email message, below is an outline to help you get started:
- Include an empathetic opening and acknowledge COVID-19
- Let them know that you are open
- Be transparent about what your cleaning procedures are or other precautionary measures you are implementing
- Advise guests on your cancellation policy
- Thank them for their patronage
If your business has a public relations strategy in place, consider these three tips:
- Media Pitching: At this time, journalists are facing travel restrictions and many are covering new story angles (outside of their normal beats). Unless you have a relationship with a journalist, consider taking a pause on proactive media outreach. Instead, focus on gathering content to push out when the time is right. This is also a good time to look for opportunities for award submissions.
Press Trips: If you are interested in hosting media when North Lake Tahoe re-opens, please outline hosting parameters, media rates, and any unique story-lines. Email Liz Bowling with details.
Crisis Management: Organize your internal and external communication strategies before going out with any public information. As always, your internal team and employees should be the first to know.
- Imagery: Use pictures of open spaces and avoid imagery with crowds or large group gatherings. Stay in touch -- while North Lake Tahoe is currently closed for visitation, engage with your followers and post photos that evoke fond memories of our destination.
- Copy: At this time, you want to be empathetic. Keep copy to a minimum and as aspirational as possible. If your customers cannot visit now, they can dream about visiting later.
- Engagement: Now, more than ever, is a good time to be engaged with your audience. Follow comments closely and answer any questions/comments asap in a timely manner.
- Gift Cards: If you don't have a gift card program in place, now is the time to create one. The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association/Chamber of Commerce has the tools to help and we're promoting sales through our local and consumer channels. Take THIS survey and we can incorporate your business in the program.
On March 16, the North Lake Tahoe destination paused all paid media. Visit California (the state's tourism marketing organization) also paused all domestic and international media efforts. We did this to ensure our "Open for Business" message can be appropriately funded in the future.
- If you have a conservative budget, consider running Search Engine Marketing (SEM) only. SEM ads are served when individuals are actively searching for key terms. This means they are actively seeking information instead of being served targeted ads. Remember to remove any negative connotations, e.g. "Are vacations in California safe?" Any negative terms should be added to your negative (do not serve) keyword list.
- If you have a larger budget, in addition to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) consider prospecting campaigns (in drive markets, provided there is no material that may be deemed insensitive). It is important not to appear "tone deaf" in your messaging.
- Visit California -- Coronavirus Industry Update
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- Coronavirus COVID-19 Information
- US Travel Association -- Emergency Preparedness and Response: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- US Travel Association -- Travel Leaders Echo Experts: Make Fact-Based Decisions About Traveling
- World Health Organization (WHO) -- Coronavirus