Tourism Campaigns Alter Course To Engage Post-Pandemic Travelers

Spring has traditionally been a peak season for tourism organizations to unleash their best creative to entice visitors, but COVID-19 is forcing these groups to adjust strategies.

Tourism Santa Fe is pivoting away from its planned campaign to invite people to experience the “Margarita Trail” while they stay home. The campaign includes unique recipes and bartender how-to videos, all posted on Instagram.

AOR Vladimir Jones (VJ) intentionally made sure the videos and still images feature the same design elements, including colors and typeface, in order to align with the Uncover Your Different brand refresh that went into market last September.

Even though people can’t travel right now, they can still experience Santa Fe in a way that’s very personal, explains Meredith Vaughan, CEO, VJ. It is important for the state to remain “present and positive” in this time, which is important for tourism destinations at any time, but especially right now, she adds.



Although horse lovers are unable to experience the Kentucky Derby in person this May (it is postponed until September), Lexington’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (VisitLex) and agency Cornett are instead bringing the horses to them. Some 100 attendees are invited to attend a Zoom conference on April 9 at 1 p.m. EST to visit digitally with a real-life horse on a Kentucky farm.

“We think folks will find connecting with this horse on Zoom to not only be a nice distraction but also kind of therapeutic,” says Whit Hiler, executive creative director, Cornett. “I’ve actually sat through two Zooms with horse test runs and it was really awesome – lots of baby horses.”

This experience follows several initiatives developed by Cornett to keep VisitLex in the minds of potential travelers during the pandemic. These include a COVID-19 guide which recommends books by Kentucky authors, self-guided tours of notable murals, and the Nourish Lexington program, in which unemployed hospitality workers provide prepared meals to those who need immediate access to food.

Meanwhile, Visit Wyoming’s stopgap campaign, from Milwaukee-based agency BVK, addresses social distancing by featuring the state’s wide-open landscapes and beauty. The messaging suggests viewers use this time to embrace the silence and reflect on how they may reapproach life in the future.

“Through this time of uncertainly, we wanted to create a platform to coalesce a message of inspiration and comfort,” said Victoria Simmons, BVK’s vice president/group director of Travel & Tourism. “Even at a time of global disruption, there is opportunity for travel brands to lead through thoughtful, responsible and authentic action.”

The campaign is running on Visit Wyoming’s social and digital channels.

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