As the world faces an unprecedented crisis, VTC recognizes this is a critical time for Virginia, our industry partners and local businesses. The question that we kept asking ourselves is,
When it is irresponsible to ask people to travel and dine out, what do we say as a tourism brand?
The guidelines below were put together to help VTC and our industry partners navigate their marketing and response during the current crisis.
Brand Strategy | Audiences | Timing | Phased Approach
In March 2020, VTC made the decision to pause our spring advertising campaign until the COVID-19 landscape had stabilized. In the interim, a short-term brand strategy was created to respond to the crisis. This strategy includes a Brand Response campaign which will achieve the following goals of supporting Virginia tourism partners, engaging local audiences and keeping Virginia top of mind for potential travelers.
Drive Markets – many people will be reconsidering their vacation plans and will be looking at destinations that are within driving distance to avoid flying. VTC will look at neighboring states and “drive” markets to emphasize the ease and convenience of a vacation to Virginia
In-state, Local – as the situation starts to stabilize, we will be engaging our local travelers to consider exploring their own back-yards and encouraging small getaways. The added benefit message will be to support their local businesses and communities.
Families and Couples – we will also be engaging with families and couples who are beginning to plan for future travel. As we are currently uncertain of when the coronavirus will fully dissipate in the United States, we will be mindful that travel for many older and/or immunocompromised Americans may not be advisable. We recommend that all travelers follow the most current CDC guidelines for travel.
March 2020 – Present
PHASE I: Support / Mitigation / Adaptation
In a time of uncertainty, we can reduce the information gap and help people get to the right resources and keep them safe. VTC will be a hub of information for travelers and citizens as the situation evolves.
CAMPAIGN: SPRING 2020 – We’ll Be Waiting for You
VTC will leverage the “We’ll Be Waiting” campaign to meet our travelers where they are mentally, physically, and psychologically – providing a sense of calm and comfort in a world of fear and uncertainly. By featuring beautiful, scenic visuals of our partners, we will be inspirational and invitational without being promotional or self serving.
We will remind our travelers that Virginia is – and always will be – a place for love and connection. And we will reassure them that Virginia’s incredible travel experiences will still be here whenever they are ready to travel again.
PHASE II: Engage / Reassure / Slow Re-entry into Market
When fear is being displaced with disappointment and the emotional effects of social distancing are settling in, we can provide a bit of hope for the light at the end of the tunnel.
We will remind consumers that we are all in this together and that life is still going on. We can provide a moment of relief from the immediate reality.
In addition to the overarching “We’ll Be Waiting” campaign, VTC is leveraging specific brand initiatives to keep our partners at the forefront of our ongoing message to consumers. We will continue to add engagement opportunities as they are available.
INITIATIVES: SPRING 2020
- March 30-April 3: Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers Takeout Week
- Restaurant support extended with ongoing #TakeoutTuesday social initiative.
- April 24-ongoing: LOVE Lives Here
- April 27-May 3: Love Local: Virginia Farmers’ Market Week
- May 3-9: National Travel and Tourism Week
PHASE III: Invite / Recovery
As restrictions are lifted and consumers feel comfortable beginning to travel again, we can be the easy-to-get away destination for those looking for low-cost, low-risk vacations. We will re-enter the market with promotional messaging. This will occur when it is safe to resume travel.
We will show open arms to all those ready to travel, offering a chance to disconnect from all the chaos and reconnect to what matters through real, raw and authentic experiences.
CAMPAIGNS: SUMMER 2020-PRESENT
- June 29 – Nov 15, 2020: Find What You Love – Share What You Love bridge campaign
- Content: Brand Anthem
- Audience: Out-of-state drive markets
- Channels: TV, Connected TV, Digital Banners/Video, Brand Partnership, Streaming Audio, Search, Social Media
- July 2020 – Fall 2021: WanderLove
- Content: Road Trips
- Audience: Virginia and neighboring drive markets
- Channels: In-state TV, Search, Social Media
- Spring/Summer 2021: Share What You Love
- Content: Reconnect with what you love; Family experiences
- Audience: Out-of-state markets
- Channels: TV, Connected TV, Digital Banners, Digital Video, Streaming Audio, Social Media, Search