In the fourth wave of its series of bi-weekly tracking surveys of North American destination professionals, MMGY Travel Intelligence reports that in the last two weeks, respondents’ outlook on their local tourism economies has started to improve.
Conducted in partnership with Destinations International Foundation, the latest tracking survey found that the percentage of destination professionals who expect their local economy to worsen fell sharply from 72% in Wave III of the survey to 41% in Wave IV, indicating expectations are starting to stabilize.
MMGY Global notes that a small, but growing percentage of respondents (14%) even expect their local tourism economy to show improvement in the next 30 days – that’s up from just two percent of respondents in Wave III.
Chris Davidson, executive vice-president, Insights & Strategy at MMGY Global, said: “Many organizations are now starting to proactively plan their shift from informational communications campaigns to promotional ones in the next 60 days.”
However, Davidson cautioned that “there won’t be one moment where it all turns back on for everyone. Cities, even within the same state, may be on totally different time tables and with differing restrictions and protocols.”
Right now, destination organizations continue to focus their current marketing activities towards prospective travellers via informational emails and social media, and through public relations efforts.
When organizations make the shift from informational campaigns to promotional ones, email campaigns will likely be at the forefront of communications.
MMGY Global said that 73% of respondents indicated they expect to employ this channel within the next two months, up from 62% in Wave III.
It also found that crisis communications remain an important effort for most in the sector, as 76% of respondents report currently investing in this area.
However, this is projected to decline rapidly in the next 60 days, with the percentage of destination organizations expecting to utilize crisis communications messaging two months from now falling to 46%.
Chief Advocacy Officer for Destinations International, Jack Johnson said of the findings: “We believe this data represents the differing positions destinations find themselves in at this stage of the crisis and the uncertainty of how the coronavirus will affect destinations in the future. The responses also show the importance of crisis communications and having a strategy that supports various challenging events.”