How travel marketers adjust to the ups and downs of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real-life stress test on the entire travel industry, and the ups and downs of infection rates and lockdown measures have made unpredictability the only thing that is certain.
That's created unprecedented challenges for those working in travel marketing, as they juggle operational issues such as slashed budgets and reduced staff along with creative questions around how to craft message that keep their brands top of mind while not being reckless in the face of a pandemic.
Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, saw his budget drop from $101.5 million in fiscal year 2020 (ending in June 2020) to now $65 million for the current year, while the organization's staff dropped from 450 people to 95.
"We are operating very lean," Brunelle says.
"When we think how we are spending our marketing dollars, we are doing it differently than we have in the past - not being as broad in terms of the upper funnel and being more in the mid and lower funnel as we are talking to customers who are actually interested in booking travel."
To do that, Brunelle says his team has "upped the ante" on research to get a better view of who wants to travel, what content would help them feel safe and which channels consumers are using as they dream about travel.