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This new series from SkiftX, Skift’s in-house content studio, highlights the work we’re doing and our vision for the future.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the global travel industry to its core. Borders have closed, local businesses have shuttered, and company revenues, along with consumer spending, have diminished. With health and safety concerns top of mind and fears of financial collapse stoking the perma-anxiety fire, we’re finding truth — like personal protective equipment — in high demand, but dwindling in supply.
What’s left for travel brands to say to customers when travel is at a standstill?
Some brands have figured out how to best position themselves during this moment of uncertainty. Others have decided to pause marketing and wait and see how the crisis develops.
Our email salutations have shifted from “Hope all is well” to “Hope you’re staying safe” — because we know that while we’re doing everything we can to keep business moving along, “all” is not “well.”
The SkiftX team, Skift’s in-house content studio, understands that it’s difficult to know what messaging makes sense from a business perspective when things feel so uncertain. However, we also know that this moment provides an unparalleled opportunity for brands to lead the industry through this crisis, refresh their way of thinking, understand consumer sentiments, and come out stronger on the other side.
Our recommendation: Do not go into hiding.
There’s a tendency for brands to want to retrench when things get bad. But acknowledging reality head on is not a sign of weakness. There’s fear everywhere: fear of associating with the wrong message, fear of providing insights today that are null and void tomorrow, fear of alienating customers.
We, the SkiftX team, wanted to take a moment to remind you that we’re here for you and we understand those fears. And while we may not have all of the answers, we do have solutions that will help point your brand in the right direction.
Since 2014, SkiftX has told stories and created experiences that connect our partners — the most innovative brands in travel — with Skift’s influential audience of industry decision makers. We’re motivated by two ambitious goals: to create content that matters and to elevate the purpose and meaning of the brands we work with.
The work our team of editors, strategists, researchers, and designers produce in collaboration with our partners spans a broad range of formats. But our most popular campaigns have included articles, trend reports, insight decks, webinars, videos, and live event activations, including thought leading brand talks at Skift’s forums and virtual summits.
In the past year alone, we’ve worked with brand leaders such as Accenture, Accor Group, Airbnb, American Airlines, Brand USA, Club Med, Cvent, Deloitte, Expedia, Hilton, Hyatt, IBM, IHG, Japan National Tourism Organization, Microsoft, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Sabre, Salesforce, Singapore Airlines, TripActions, The Venetian, and Visa, to name a few.
In this moment, we’ve become laser-focused on helping brands navigate through, and stay top of mind during, the coronavirus pandemic. We recently produced a thought leadership article in collaboration with Publicis Sapient, “Preparing for a Post COVID-19 World: 4 Ways Travel Brands Can Learn from Past Events.” Engagement eclipsed our standard traffic benchmarks in a matter of days, showcasing that Skift readers are hungry for actionable takeaways and industry leadership that will help them understand this new normal.
We’ve also been working behind the scenes with destination organizations and tourism businesses to conduct custom research and provide strategic and consulting services to help them define their role in the larger global travel landscape.
We know that recovery – whatever that might look like – may seem far away, but there’s no doubt that it will arrive. In the meantime, we’re excited to continue to create thought provoking content that addresses challenges, defines opportunities, and elevates our partners across the global travel industry.
Let’s define the path forward, together.
Katherine Townsend is Vice President of SkiftX.