Tourist boards and tour operators are hitting just the right tone with T

here are two challenges for tour operators and destinations alike during the Covid-19 lockdown

and ban on travel. First, how to keep front of mind with consumers and connect with them in a way that empathises with their situation. And second, how to make the brand or destination stand out from others doing a similar thing. Steve Dunne, chief executive of marketing consultancy Digital Drums, believes travel marketers have so far hit just the right tone with their marketing messaging. Here, he reviews a selection of current campaigns.




The operator has taken a big step in turning over its social media channels to 100% user-generated content while many countries are in lockdown. Under the hashtag

#BeTogether, Intrepid is encouraging people, including agents and partners, to share “letters” to someone who has made a previous travel experience special, such as homestay hosts, fellow travellers met on group tours or their travel agent. The first letter apparently came from a blind man in Colorado and was written to his Inca Trail porter, Elias. A video has also been created to support the campaign. It’s a wonderful,

Steve Dunne 16 23 APRIL 2020

inspiring campaign that underlines subtly what travel brings to everyone.

‘Don’t travel now so that you can travel later’ South Africa’s tourist board has created and released two videos as part of a campaign to promote the importance of self-isolation and social distancing while keeping the destination front of mind for potential future visitors. The videos show

poignant shots of South Africa’s iconic landscapes, cities and people, set against a haunting music bed and a compelling narrative from a local narrator which encourages visitors to stay at home so they can travel later. Where the video wins

is that it acknowledges the situation the viewer is in while giving them hope that the destination is waiting to welcome them once the dark days have passed.


‘Open up the World’

In a similar vein to South African Tourism, Flight Centre has released a video highlighting how its staff are working remotely to continue handling travel enquiries for their customers during the coronavirus lockdown. The ‘Open up the

World’ video is set against a haunting music bed and uses captions set over inspiring travel scenes to offer inspiration for future travels while emphasising the need to stay at home during the pandemic. At over one minute

and 30 seconds, it would normally be a tad long for a viral video, but one thing people have right now is time. I found myself watching it all without my mind wondering.

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