Destinations around the country are learning a new way to navigate during this current age of quarantine. We’ve been watching, talking, and Zoom-ing with people in the tourism industry and our favorite Facebook group, Tourism Industry COVID-19 Resource Group, has been a wonderful community to keep abreast of the current tourism industry situation (go join if you haven’t already!). We’ve already shared some content creation ideas pertaining to social media, and now we have collected some great ideas shared by DMOs. Plus some new ones we thought could be useful—a way for you and your stakeholders to maintain an appropriate presence and stay relevant, so you’re top of mind when the time comes for travel again.
Destinations all over have been sharing branded “stay at home” messages via social media, outdoor, and more. Create your own flavor of these messages to show you support social distancing (with a subtle undertone that you are here and ready for them when the time comes).
Encourage Visitor Interaction
Support your stakeholders and attractions with a “gamified” or fun list of things residents can do to safely support their community businesses.
Create your own branded bingo template. Feature things that people can:
- Drive by in their cars (if residents are allowed out to drive around)
- Do to support your stakeholders (restaurant curbside/gift cards, etc.)
- Like or follow from your social channels
- Promote to others in their networks to invite future visitors, etc.
Start a virtual survey voting bracket to interact with followers about their favorite items from your destination. Think COVID madness instead of March Madness. One example is Troy University’s unofficial stadium Twitter account looking for the best appetizers in Troy, AL.
Encourage your oh-so-important local food scene to think of ways to remain active which will help them stay ready for the visitors that will come back.
Create your own scavenger hunt with a downloadable game board. Include things like finding sidewalk chalk art, squirrels, historic markers, local landmarks, etc. Have them upload a grid of photos of their “treasure”—this would make for fun, non-salesy user-generated content.
Create an outdoor attraction “Seldom Seen” photo contest on your social media and give prizes for the most unique point of view. You could select your own panel of judges or open it to voting by likes.
Find a local illustrator you could partner with to provide coloring pages based on your destination like Alabama 200 did. (Or share them in new posts if you already have these.)
Right now, many of us attend meetings and gatherings (even church or the gym) via Zoom, Facebook Live events and other sharing platforms. Think about how you can turn live group events into virtual events.
Missing your town’s after hours scene? Invite a bar/restaurant to sponsor a virtual happy hour via Facebook Live or Zoom that combines a mixology lesson with a musical performance. If they’re offering ToGo food, promote in advance and encourage pick up during the event. You could even create 1080 x 1350 pixel recipe “cards” to share.
Use Facebook Live, web cams, etc. to generate branded content. Great examples include Big Cat Rescue (yes, from Netflix’ Tiger King) and Panama City Beach’s live beach cam (because who wouldn’t prefer to stare at something other than their house right now?!). Check out these virtual escapes that Puerto Rico is doing. You can also see what people are looking forward to doing once they are out of the house again, like Travel Marquette. They kicked it off with what their employees want to do, and asked fans to comment with their plans. Those comments could be turned into future social posts.
And here’s a pretty easy one…create a custom Zoom background for all of those video conferences we are participating in daily. They can be photos or looped videos that a user uploads to their Zoom account. Check out these examples from Survivor and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Give Your Stakeholders Ideas
Encourage attractions like museums and science centers to join together to make a Facebook group for their followers with children at home. Parents are seeking activities to enhance their online schooling or provide weekend activities. This page can be used to broadcast Facebook Live crafts and experiments you can do at home with common household items like soda or vinegar. Gardens and zoos could teach the same way. They could talk about how they take care of certain plants and animals, show behind the scenes animal feedings, and more. The bonus for attractions—expose new audiences to their offerings, creating a new community of visitors.
You could also encourage other attractions to create short, simple videos or posts on a regular basis like Charleston’s Bulldog Tours doing a daily walking tour through Facebook Live. We’ve mentioned Tim the Security Guy at the National Cowboy Museum in recent posts for doing a spectacular job at this, too. Some areas are doing Trivia Tuesdays where they feature fun and/or rare facts about their city and use visitor generated photos and video to support them.
In a time when physical distance is cautiously measured in feet, encourage your stakeholders and staff to remain engaged. Their efforts and creativity will pay off with future visitors both minutes and miles away.