COVID-19 Partner Update
Sunday, May 3, began National Travel and Tourism Week, which arrives at an opportune moment to unite our industry, celebrate its indomitable spirit, and elevate the role it will play in America’s economic recovery. This annual celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry spotlights resilience and hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with this year’s theme: The Spirit of Travel. The spirit of travel isn’t only found in far-off places. When residents embrace the spirit of travel by supporting local businesses and helping their neighbors, they are also playing a key role in rebuilding their community—and America.
The road map to recovery
Our organization and partner agencies have been developing strategic plans to re-enter the market, planning for recovery and beyond. Coastal Mississippi hopes to begin marketing and encouraging travel to our destination soon, but re-entry into the market will ultimately depend on the many factors influencing travel behavior. When the time is right, we will leverage our brand positioning and messaging in a post-COVID climate to welcome visitors back to Coastal Mississippi as people across the country begin to embrace travel once again.
We have developed a road map to re-entry that will guide us. This plan consists of four phases, which include:
As we enter each new phase, we will have completed a strategic process to develop an appropriate plan based on the following:
- Wait – Bracing for what the future holds
- Acclimate – Adjusting to a partially opened America (Mississippi along with several other states are entering this phase)
- Consider – Experimenting with travel planning
- Escape – Travel industry & America fully open
- Current state of the crisis and how it is impacting travel
- Traveler attitudes
- Communication objectives
- Most important point to communicate
- Call to action
Throughout each of these phases, it is critical that we continue to monitor and understand our audience. It is important to not only understand travelers’ behavior but also their psyches to target based on psychology (identifying consumers willing to and ready to travel immediately) versus audience segments. Through the data and insights, we will better understand why they seek travel, including opportunities for connection, productivity, well-being, entertainment, escape, personal improvement, and we will be able to connect with our audiences to address how Coastal Mississippi can uniquely satisfy their needs through the destination experience and emotional pillars of our brand.
As a brand, we have a solid foundation for times like this – Coastal Mississippi offers over 60 miles of attractions, towns and shorelines that are equal parts relaxing and invigorating. The region delivers open-ended experiences that delight with a welcoming spirit, and plenty of room to roam. Most importantly, now is the time to let optimism shine through and offer messaging that stays true to our brand purpose – an experience that sticks with you, reminiscent of a home – home unbound.
As we begin marketing our destination again, we will need to continuously refine our tempo, sentiment, and messaging. We must stay true to our brand and listen to what our audience is telling us. Please find more information in our latest webinar recording by clicking the button below, or view the presentation deck here.