Communication in the tourism sector in times of pandemic

Communication in the tourism sector in times of pandemic

Overall, tourism communication must be flexible and adaptable to a changing and complex environment.

Plans for recovery, promotion and destination reputation must be designed in the short and medium term, without losing sight of the long term, in order to be prepared for the new social scenario that will have various effects on consumption and travel. In this sense, it is important to work in co-ordination with the entire tourism communication ecosystem, especially with the media, because this crisis gives us the opportunity to redefine the formats of marketing campaigns and contribute to the recovery of publications which are fundamental channels for the tourism value chain.

  • From call to action and call to inspiration: due to travel restrictions, an important part of the communication strategies and messages have had to be rethought in order to continue inspiring future travellers based on cultural aspects and the stories of their inhabitants, focusing on the fundamental reasons that motivate a trip, i.e. to immerse oneself in the culture of the country. The idea is to create a “bucket list” effect, that is, to inspire more about what we would like to do when we can travel again, before encouraging booking, which is not possible now.

Brands are focusing on the fundamental reasons that motivate a trip

  • Encouraging closeness in the age of social distancing: the impossibility of holding large-scale events or face-to-face leisure activities sharpens the creativity to achieve closeness through virtual environments. To avoid the depletion of virtual events and to create emotional relationships it is necessary to build bridges between these environments and the real world, proposing activities that encourage interaction on an individual level which can be shared in these virtual meetings, such as interactive gifts, simultaneous activities (e.g. home catering), competitions, etc. 
  • Empathy, trust and security: the importance of messages and content to project, in the background, an empathic and human tone, which gives security and reinforces the trust of travellers in the process of travelling, underlining that tourism is not only leisure, but also the way of life of many communities and countries, including a source of employment and wealth.

Emphaty gives security and reinforces the trust

  • Digital, mobile and omni-channel: Considering that consumers and travellers will have movements limited, displacements, including consumption in physical environments, it is important to design communication actions and messages that can be consumed, shared and go viral through social platforms, counting on the increase in online consumption and the use of mobile devices experienced during stricter phases of confinement, trends that have come to stay. 
  • Balance between consuming for purpose and for fun: messages have evolved from encouraging consumption for purpose (such as contributing to recovery, being supportive and helping to improve the community, helping local businesses, encouraging responsible consumption and sustainability) to considering fun, avoidance and indulgence as part of those positive and constructive purposes. We believe that the positive impact of consumption and tourism should also be reflected in emotions and self-satisfaction, after sacrificing months of confinement and limitations in social and family life, but without losing sight of the responsibility we have to our fellow human beings. 


María Sánchez-Grela


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