• Using Digital To Combat The Long-Term Impact Of Covid-19

    Using digital to combat the long-term impact of COVID-19

These are unprecedented times, and tourism has been the first off the blocks to feel the effects of COVID-19. The speed that these changes have affected our industry has operators confused and reeling about what to do next, no matter their size.

Digital is key to ensuring your tourism business survives the economic impact of COVID-19.

This is not a time for panic. For some, the knee-jerk reaction is to cut all digital activity – which will without a doubt set your tourism business up for a long-term, uphill battle to bounce back. And while there’s plenty of uncertainty around the impact of this pandemic, the one certain thing is that tourism will eventually recover.

Intelligent digital activity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is critical that your planning looks towards the future, planning for how you can be best-positioned for when this crisis eventually passes. Part of this is looking at what crucial digital activity you maintain throughout this pandemic.

Tourism businesses obviously cannot operate as usual right now, which means paid advertising should be cut – which is logical. However, SEO – the process of making your website more visible in Google – is a long game. Good quality SEO performance processes are essential for a website that’s modern and future-proofed, and which includes spending time (or agency hours) to create quality content that ranks in Google searches.

You can count on the fact that others are going to panic and underestimate the impact of an emotional decision on their tourism business’ ability to bounce back. As competitors pull the plug and lose traction, you have the opportunity to continue working on basic SEO activity – work that will put in you the best position long-term to come out on top.

If you’re considering pausing all of your organic social media activity because you’ve temporarily shut your doors, consider this: There are millions of people self-isolating at home right now, stuck to their devices for a good chunk of the day. Yes, nobody is going to be making any bookings, but they’re all dreaming of the day when they can travel again. Keep them dreaming, continue regular social media posts and ensure your offering is top of mind when travel is, once again, an option.

Keep calm & optimise on

While there is clearly a need to cut your digital spend – both budget and management fees – substantially during these times; there is still significant and important work to budget for and carry on with.

Ongoing SEO activity – even at reduced hours each month – means you are cementing and improving your Google organic rankings, ensuring your site is in the best position possible for the long-haul.

Here are some of the key SEO tasks that should be included in your approach to digital while operations are on pause:

  • Technical SEO Audit
  • Keyword research
  • Analysis of SEO gaps (the amount of traffic available to a website vs the amount of traffic the site is getting)
  • Metadata updating
  • Optimisation of internal linking
  • Reviewing your backlink profile
  • Using keyword research to create topic cluster plans of content focus areas

The Google ecosystem is very much a living, breathing, competitive space. If you’re not actively moving ahead in some way, you run the risk of falling behind.

Staying top of mind when your target audience is stuck on the couch

It doesn’t look good if all social media posts cease because your business is temporarily closed. Your audience has never been more captive than now. Instead, leverage all of that time that your target audience is devoting to Facebook scrolling and Instagram updating on the couch – and help them to dream about the travel they’ll do once this is all over.

Topics to guide your social media posts during this time:

  • Beautiful landscapes that are a part of your experience, with people in them
  • Standout shots from summer that encourage moments of reflection – sunrise, sunset, picture-perfect scenes
  • People having fun, laughing and connecting – because physical connectedness is what we’re all missing right now
  • Consider a regular hashtag to guide regular content each week; eg #throwbackthursday

Social media is the best way to stay connected with your audience, and to help brighten their day with posts that encourage hope and travel dreaming.

Focusing on the future, not going quiet and doing everything we can to prepare for recovery is the best way forward.

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