Ready, Set, Not Yet: Travel Tourism, Post-Travel Ban
If you’ve engaged with any source of news, whether that be Facebook, CNN, or the traditional newspaper, you’ve heard about the disturbance that has followed the issuance of the Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which effectively suspends for 90 days entry to the U.S. from seven foreign countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Regardless of where on the political spectrum you may find yourself, we can all agree that interest and conversation surrounding this policy has truly come to a head, as search interest in immigration is the highest it’s been in over a decade. (Google Trends).
While the countries called out in the executive order may not make up the majority share of the United States incoming tourism, this “Travel Ban” has communicated to all international residents that maybe their trip to the States should be put on hold. The LA Times recently reported that even Canadians are hesitating to cross the border.
Near, Far, Wherever You Are:
Since we are seeing such a noticeable effect on international tourism this soon out of the gate, should we be worried about domestic tourism? Our travel tourism compass points to “yes.”
For example, SXSW has a visa clause in its artist contract that has reportedly been problematic for some of their international musicians. Billboard.com reported that at least 12 artists won’t be attending as planned. This certainly has been a hit to international tourism, but it’s also affecting domestic travel to the event. The New York Times reported that festival goers who would normally flock to Austin from within the States are canceling their trips either because their preferred artist is no longer headlining or out of solidarity for those individuals.
Follow Your Compass
Big brands like Starbucks have the might and capital to pledge funds and jobs to refugees. But if you’re not Starbucks, how do you respond? At Peter Mayer, when we’re confronted with an obstacle, we revisit the values of our founder, Pete.
In 1935, Peter Mayer fled Nazi Germany with his family with the dream of a better life. The United States is a country built by immigrants and for immigrants like Pete. Here’s how our company values can help you think through what’s best for your brand.
- Be Curious: Research if, how, and in what capacity your audience has been affected by this executive order by conducting a survey that follows best practices.
- Be Uniquely You: Decide if and how you should speak directly to the effects of this public policy and how it may be affecting your consumers. Depending on your brand, it may not make strategic sense to take a public stance. Maybe your target audience is, for the most part, unaffected.
- Be Honest and Fair: When you do speak, speak authentically and do not turn opportunity into opportunism, which leaves consumers with a bad taste.
- Be Generous: Creating immersive content like Virtual Reality content for travelers who can’t physically make it to your destination gives them the fullest experience possible free of charge. According to YouVisit Analytics, 13% of people who take a VR tour of a destination have their interest piqued enough to take the next step in the process of planning an actual trip. This can bridge the distance between you and your audience during this difficult time.
- Be All In: Turn your employees into brand ambassadors. Both Belgium and Sweden have in the past conducted tourism campaigns that facilitated international calls between an international would be tourist or immigrant and a citizen of the respective country. This allowed for an authentic dialogue. Though international calls can be expensive, an instant messaging chat function is an adequate substitute. Let prospective international travelers chat with real brand ambassadors.
- Be Better Together: Partner with likeminded brands to offer a unique and authentic experience to communicate that while politics has temporarily intervened, we still care about our international travelers. Brand together. Band Together. We’re stronger together.
For more Peter Mayer Travel & Tourism Insights, click here.