10 Tourism Marketing Campaigns that Work Despite Difficult Times

The Covid-19 outbreak continues to affect the tourism sector while causing long-lasting hardships experienced by thousands of businesses around the world. As the crisis has unfolded, consumer behavior has changed dramatically in terms of search, planning, and demand. This impacted a number of common industry practices that would have otherwise been successful. Among them, principles of conventional marketing are still being challenged in a struggle to adapt to the new trends. 

In spite of the disturbances, some tourism pros actually came up with fantastic strategies that performed beyond expectations. 

To inspire your next creative move, we are sharing our top 10 tourism marketing campaigns that work despite coronavirus. Have a look through to explore some inventive and compelling ways to adopt in your own strategy.

1. Visit Britain lockdown initiative – showing love for GB

Love Great Britain: Official British Tourist Board

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovegreatbritain/

Tag: #LoveGreatBritain

The exciting Instagram account of Visit Britain shares user-generated content featuring the beauty and uniqueness of Great Britain. During the coronavirus pandemic, they come up with an inventive approach aiming to bring a little bit of Britain to international visitors facing travel bans and a life under lockdown. The current campaign is exclusively promoting every aspect of British pop culture and national heritage. From beautiful landscapes, gardens, and architecture to literature, film, and music, they were all under the spotlight on social media feeds.

In addition to the inspirational content, Love Great Britain offers even more ways to engage people staying at home. They feature local recipes, pub quizzes, playlists, complemented with the appropriate call to action and hashtag for each post.

2. Visit Portugal – it’s time to stop

Visit Portugal: Official resource for travel and tourism in Portugal

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/visitportugal/

Tag: #CantSkipHope

Visit Portugal demonstrated support while still engaging with the local culture and values. 

To do that, the DMO changed its usual marketing message from #CantSkipPortugal to #CantSkipHope. This was further strengthened by a video they released along with the campaign saying: It’s time to stop. It’s time to take a break, for the good of the world. In the meantime, we can dream for the great days to come. We’re in this together.

While calling all people to continue dreaming for the amazing days to come, they implied that now is a time to stop and take a break. The video attracted over 590K viewers in less than 3 months and continues to gain traction. Through a mixture of rural landscapes and cheering crowds, it clearly narrates the idea of appreciating privacy while dreaming for togetherness. 

3. Discover Puerto Rico – virtual gateway 

Discover Puerto Rico: Official resource for travel and tourism in Puerto Rico

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/discoverpuertorico/

Tag: #dreamingofpuertorico

To demonstrate empathy in tough times, Discover Puerto Rico shifted their online message from visit now to visit later. Still, by utilizing a novel marketing approach and offering virtual getaways, classes, and experiences they managed to keep the destination top of visitors’ minds. 

The DMO was regularly inviting people to one of a kind virtual classes and weekend escapes to Puerto Rico. The above examples showcase a tour in the country’s famous tropical rainforest, as well as an energizing Pilates class. Hosted on Instagram Live and Zoom, they allowed people to engage without leaving their homes. Furthermore, by featuring local guides, instructors, cooks, and dancers, they totally nailed the concept. 

4. Visit Maldives – keep dreaming but postpone trips

Visit Maldives: The official Instagram account of Maldives tourism

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/visitmaldives/

Tag: #VisitMaldivesLater

Visit Maldives encouraged travelers to postpone their trips until it’s safe. Like others, they adopted a new hashtag saying #VisitMaldivesLater. The word later was invariably a part of all their posts following the Covid-19 outbreak. 

To remain true to themselves, Visit Maldives continued sharing outstanding visuals featuring the outstanding pristine beaches and adorable spots around the islands in the Maldives archipelago. They even engaged the Instagram audience with an “all things Maldives” crossword puzzle competition. People were invited to like the page and DM the answers for the chance of winning a surprise from Visit Maldives.

5. Visit Abu Dhabi – a tribute to the capital

Visit Abu Dhabi: Your extraordinary story, captured #InAbuDhabi.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/visitabudhabi/

Tag: #StayHome, #StaySafe but #StayCurious

The UAE’s capital appreciated the silence in their own way, beautifully captured by Visit Abu Dhabi’s Instagram account. Taking viewers through the highlights and outstanding landmarks, the DMO paid tribute to the capital while making a promise – it is ready to welcome visitors when the right time comes. Until then, it is all about appreciation and reflection.

Throughout the months of self-isolation, the message of Visit Abu Dhabi remained Stay home, stay safe but stay curious. Therefore their campaign successfully kept people engaged while demonstrating the appropriate level of responsibility and care.

 

6. Visit Saudi – thrilling adventures are timeless

Visit Saudi: The official tourism page of Saudi Arabia

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/visitsaudi/

Tag: #WelcomeToArabia

Even though Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to foreign tourism just lately, they had to go through yet another episode of isolation. To keep the Arabian Nights spirit live, their Instagram posts were complemented with beautiful tale-like captions. Among them, ‘Our thrilling adventures are timeless. They’re not going anywhere’, ‘Our heritage has been centuries in the making. It’s not going anywhere’.

Visit Saudi kept showcasing the cultural and historical heritage from around the kingdom. They called potential visitors to keep dreaming while staying at home and protecting others. From the very beginning of the outbreak in mid-March, they committed to spreading the message #StaySafe and #StayHome.

7. Switzerland – dream now, travel later

My Switzerland: Switzerland Tourism #inLOVEwithSWITZERLAND

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/myswitzerland/

Tag: #neverstopdreaming

This outstanding campaign by My Switzerland quickly became viral with its heartwarming message: Dream now, travel later. To further strengthen this message, My Switzerland released a short video inspiring people to dream and plan. The same was later projected on Matterhorn mountain, symbolizing that light is hope.

Similarly to Visit Britain, they undertook the approach to celebrate local culture as one of their greatest assets. Their social media feeds aimed to bring Switzerland to people’s homes through beautiful pictures, emotional videos, and entertaining stories. 

8. Thai Airlines – Stay home miles exchange

Now moving away from DMO creative endeavors, there are some more campaigns that caught our attention. 

Although being at the heart of a lockdown and travel bans, some airlines managed to make the most out of the time. A great example are Thai Airlines who came up with a very wise and generous approach to stay close to their customers. They encourage their members to stay at home by giving away a reward of 3 million free air miles

How does this work? Firstly, members need to own an active frequent flyer membership (Royal Orchid Plus) with Thai Airways. Then they need to download the Stay Home Miles Exchange app and register their home to allow the airline to track their location. Finally, every 4 hours spent at home are subsequently awarded 1 mile worth of travel redeemed through the app.

This way, Thai Airlines encourage government guidelines while promoting their membership program.

9. Lonely Planet – Keep dreaming

Lonely Planet: For 45 years we’ve been helping travelers to explore every day.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lonelyplanet/

Tag: #lonelyplanet

Remaining true to their vision of the piece, Lonely Planet committed to helping people feel better during isolation. They continuously engaged their extensive audience with beautiful landscapes from around the world. 

While suggesting nature is the best remedy for the soul, they invited people to embrace its beauties and richness. The Lonely Planet even supported the practice of hugging a tree for 5 minutes, popular in Iceland. Their Instagram account promoted it as a great way to feel better and less lonely during the months of lockdown.

10. Special mention: The Wild Detectives

This truly outstanding idea by a Dallas book shop called The Wild Detectives is one of our favorites for a reason. They became a travel agent by launching Book a trip – an online platform offering “holidays” to a range of destinations worldwide. You might be wondering what’s so special about this idea so here’s the answer. 

Book a trip is a remarkable campaign aiming to help the shop keep going during the pandemic. The holidays they offer are actually books that could transport people to different countries and worlds. And the mission – to inspire people to keep reading and exploring the world through the magic of books. 

Wrapping Up

Taking an inspirational approach that breaks the stereotypes has proven to be the key to success in tough times. And the memorable campaigns we shared with you once again demonstrate that. 

In conclusion, it is never too late to share your special cause and inspire others about it. After all, bold ideas and clear mission are what creates value that will last beyond any crisis and future uncertainty.

About Angela Bolchinova
All posts by Angela Bolchinova