The U.S. Travel Association is launching a marketing initiative today that is the result of an industrywide collaboration of more than 75 businesses and organizations.
The brands spent months examining the question: What is the right message for potential travelers while the nation navigates the realities of a pandemic?
The campaign highlights the wellness benefits of travel planning after months of lockdown. It sends the message that it’s OK to start planning your next trip—whenever you will finally feel safe to take it, said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, whose organization is supporting the activities of the coalition.
“There is pleasure in planning travel, and when the moment is right, the industry is committed to being well-prepared for the safe return of travelers,’ Dow says in a release. “Our industry recognizes the need to pull together in this moment—as colleagues, not competitors—in a united message of welcome, preparedness, and desire to serve travelers’ needs.”
The coalition includes American Airlines, American Express, the American Resort Development Association, Chase, Delta Air Lines, Disney Parks, Expedia, Hilton, Hyatt Hotels, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Loews Hotels & Co, Marriott International, the South Dakota Department of Tourism, United Airlines, Visa, Visit California, Visit Spokane and World Cinema, Inc.
Themed “Let’s Go There,” the effort from Dentsu Mcgarrybowen and Publicis Groupe will extend into 2021. Media includes CMT, Cooking Channel, ESPN, Freeform and National Geographic Channel. Two spots will air on ESPN’s "Monday Night Football" Sept. 14.
The campaign will also be seen on online video platforms (YouTube and Hulu), will air as radio spots on the iHeartMedia network, and will appear online as digital display, social and programmatic ads. Social media content will be tagged using #LetsMakePlans.
Studies have shown that anticipating a trip might have a stronger positive effect than reflecting on one that has already happened.
That accords with a poll conducted by happiness researcher Michelle Gielan, in which 97% of respondents say that having a trip planned makes them happier, while 82% reported that it makes them “moderately” or “significantly” happier.
A whopping 95% said yes to the statement: “Simply knowing there was something to look forward to would bring me joy.” Meanwhile, 74% affirmed that "planning something would make me feel more in control amidst so much uncertainty.”
While the public's mental health is a top priority, the need to get Americans moving again as soon as safely possible is urgent for the economy, according to the USTA. Travel supported employment for one in 10 American workers pre-pandemic, but more than one-third of those jobs (34%) have been lost since March.
“We don’t know when the travel industry will fully recover, but we are confident it will recover,” said Jill Estorino, president and managing director at Disney Parks, experiences and products, in a release. “We have all been here before—this time may look different, but at the end of the day our industry is incredibly resilient, and the memories and experiences we enable cannot be replaced.
"This campaign is a first step in inspiring Americans to think about planning a vacation, and encouraging them to look forward to experiencing the wonder and joy—and even magic—that only travel can offer.”