“Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit”, Joe Louis.
Tourism is a key sector for people living in mountain regions and destinations. For most of them, tourism is the most important industry and the principal revenue generator. The COVID-10 outbreak has led to an exceptional situation across the world has ever seen before.
The COVID-19 crisis has presented a horizon of uncertainty. Destinations face myriad challenges, both in the short and long term. However, after the storm comes the calm and the disease will pass, and life will go on. And you must be ready when the time comes. Mountain destinations should be ready to provide their guests with the best place to be after following a long period of isolation in their houses: the Mountain outdoors.
But...what happens when an unexpected event occurs beyond your company’s control that impacts how you relate and communicate with your customers? When companies are hit with a crisis of these proportions, it can be a defining moment. And their ability to weather the storm can dictate what their future holds. In the world of marketing, it's an all-hands-on team situation. Because communication is one of the most important keys to handle a disaster. Marketers talk frequently about how important it is to be agile and flexible. But in reality, most of them are working based on a fixed marketing plan driven by a budget and strategy that was locked down months before. But that is not enough. Marketing teams must add creativity and innovation to the mix. This is the time to excel as a marketer.
5 Things to consider doing after the COVID 19 hit Ski Resorts
One of the first things to do on the crisis checklist is to suspend all advertising. Lay off the pushy stuff. Online ads, AdWords campaigns, and your marketing automation must be pulled until you recover full control over the situation. You should also take advantage of this time to reassess your approach for the next season.
LISTEN In times of crisis, it's easy to suspend all advertising, but you can't suspend social media. The growth of social media has transformed crisis communication management because it allows more interactivity and a quicker and more straight response.
Listen to your stakeholders. Listening intently will help you to build your message and find the right tone to talk with them.
CARE Marketing in a crisis can be a watershed moment for most companies. The concern for its customers and employees is revealed. It's the ultimate test of what lengths it is willing to go to resolve the crisis, regardless of the costs. Remember Customer service is also marketing. And memorable customer service means going above and beyond the call. Exceeding customer expectations can't just be a marketing tactic, it has to be the company philosophy. Destinations can't afford to spend money trying to find new customers every day. That means they have to rely on returning customers. And the best way to ensure loyalty is by exceeding customer expectations. You are not in the business of creating clients you are out to build lifelong relationships. Customer service doesn't cost money, it makes money. Customer service fuels the most powerful form of advertising: Word of mouth. Make meaningful recurrent messages like We have implemented our crisis response plan, which places the highest priority on the health and safety of our guests and staff because without guests there is no business to take care of. In the world of the Internet, mistakes are amplified like never before.
THINK It's time to think about business continuity and the next season. Take a look at what your competitors are doing. But don't stop there. Look beyond the industry. It's research time. You should look at previous crises and learn from them. But it's not an automatic process. You must rethink it and adapt it to the current times. You can find your way from the best practice and cases in how marketing can help bounce back from disaster. In 1982 Johnson & Johnson's CEO, James Burke wrote the book on crisis management when it comes to handling a crisis with the Tylenol tampering case. Take a look at how destinations like New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans, London, Paris, Toronto or Madrid bounced back from tragedy. These cities found a way to come back to business and despite every disaster is different and there is no playbook, we all can learn all a lot from their experiences.
WAIT In the world of marketing timing is everything. There are big penalties to be paid in marketing when you are behind the times but also for being too far ahead of your time.
But when you're timing is right, when you seize the moment as the moment presents itself, success will smile back to you.
In marketing, getting the right message in front of the right customer and getting that message to the customer at exactly the right time is a fine art.
Find the perfect timing for your message is the result of the analysis and a talent for recognizing opportunities.
Ski Resorts marketers will have opportunities to start marketing sooner than later.