With COVID-19 Forcing All Of Us To Pivot, Now Is A Good Time To Evaluate & Adjust
With the current COVID-19 situation most meetings marketing campaigns have been adjusted to focus on relationship building messaging vs. a strong book now, call to action. This temporary approach provides an opportunity for destinations to evaluate their meetings campaigns and ensure they are fresh and updated for when the time is right to resume meetings marketing at previous levels.
Evaluate Current Campaign
The pandemic provides CVB’s with the opportunity to take a step back, which we all know, never seems likely when things are normal, to evaluate the current campaign and give it a thorough review to identify new opportunities.
So, where do you get started?
We suggest pulling the most recent campaign materials into a document so each asset can be seen individually. This should include print ads, digital ads, social ads, email templates, sales collateral, sales presentations, meetings brand imagery and proposal documents.
When reviewing the materials evaluate as a package looking at the imagery, messaging, brand elements such as colors, fonts, etc. and develop a list of opportunities where the campaign materials can be improved or updated.
One of the positives of COVID-19 is the unprecedented access to free research. Almost every publisher and industry organization is conducting research that is freely available to help the industry identify trends, themes and insights to aid in the recovery. Take advantage of this rare opportunity and review as much meetings focused research as possible to identify where your meetings campaign can be updated and adjusted. What insights and messages are planners looking for now that needs to be woven into your meetings materials?
Identify Opportunity for Your Own Research
While most CVB’s are facing serious budgetary challenges, identify if there is a way of conducting research for the meetings campaign. Even if that means conducting qualitative research over the phone with a subset of planners, something is better than nothing. Don’t wait to engage planners as getting timely feedback on concepts provides the opportunity to refine and adapt.
If your CVB has a customer advisory board, engage them or have your sales team pull a list of planners who have booked your destination, those that have chosen not to book and new planner contacts. This is a great way to get a variety of planners input and feedback. Use the time to gain their input on your messaging, SWOT, imagery selections and CTA’s. Then refine the meetings campaign based on what is learned.
Articulate Your Meetings Package
Don’t let your CVB get lost in marketing speak and forget to clearly articulate what your meetings package is so planners can easily identify if your destination is an option or not. Planners are the opposite of leisure travelers in that they want the logistics first (space, costs, access and dates) then they are interested in learning about the experiential components. Lead with your meeting package facts and stop making planners comb through your website and marketing materials to see the basic information they need to engage.
Identify Key Post COVID-19 Messages
After COVID-19 meeting planners are going to need more information to make decisions and this will require your sales team to incorporate some services best practices and your marketing to provide more information.
For one, planners will need to understand how your facilities have adapted to ensure their groups will be safe when choosing your destination. How have your facilities changed their floor plans, room capacities, food and beverage delivery and sanitation options. CVB’s have the opportunity to be leaders in their communities by providing guidance, facts and information your partners can use to adapt the way they deliver and host groups. In addition, CVB’s can provide quick and easy information for planners to access such as web copy, listing information, sales sheets, attendee messaging and more to help planners understand how your destination has adapted and will work to keep their groups safe.
Update Meetings Marketing Materials
Now that your CVB has evaluated your campaign assets, researched meeting trends, conducted your own research, identified key messages post COVID-19, you are ready to develop a serious list of what meetings marketing assets need updating. Use this list to organize your project management tasks and prioritize what meetings marketing items to update and refresh first.
Most likely your CVB will need more meetings marketing materials than you have in the past as arming your sales team with assets is going to be important. Prioritize your sales team’s needs first and work your way down the list to ensure the sales team has what they need to book groups in this climate.
Don’t forget to build testing into your process as your team can learn quite a lot from simple A/B testing. Testing should focus on one item to evaluate at a time. Don’t set up a test that is two completely different pieces of creative. Focus on testing one main image over another or one headline over another or one call to action over another. This will ensure the test provides concrete data that can be applied to other materials and provide real measurable results.
Digital Edge utilizes our more than 100+ combined years of tourism marketing and group sales experience to provide meetings marketing that stands out from the rest. Don’t go it alone if you don’t have to. Contact us today to ensure your meetings marketing campaign is set up for success & drives the results that will matter most to your stakeholders and community.
with 10 years of DMO experience as an Interim President & CEO, Deputy Director and Vice President of Marketing for various DMO’s, Mya uses her expertise to shape marketing strategies & solutions for the agency’s roster of clients. Oh and by the way, she likes to share those meetings marketing strategies while presenting at industry conferences. Look her up!