Covid-19 is creating a make or break moment for destination marketing. With the vital flow of tourism traffic either interrupted or slowed by the pandemic, many destinations find themselves cut off from a critical source of funding used to drive future promotion and help local communities recover. Even worse, this situation has disrupted the historic symbiotic relationship between destination organizations and local tourism businesses like hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and attractions forcing them to make tough decisions about how to stay visible to travelers during this difficult moment.
But even at a time of great difficulty for destination marketing, solutions are starting to emerge. One of the most promising strategies for destinations looking to engage travelers during this unprecedented period is a strategy called co-op marketing. Using co-op marketing, destinations pool marketing budgets and messaging with local tourism partners, helping them to more easily scale marketing campaigns, help resource-constrained tourism businesses tap into larger marketing efforts, and offer new opportunities to more easily experiment with campaign messaging, communication channels, and engagement tactics.
Best of all, today’s digital-first co-op marketing strategies represent a dramatic step forward for destinations and their partners. Even though co-op marketing has existed for many years, today’s digitally-driven co-op platforms help provide real-time performance data to partners, allow detailed customization of campaign goals for each partner, and make it easier for destinations to oversee campaign strategy to ensure consistency.
In the following report, Skift and Sojern examine how Covid-19 has impacted destination promotion and co-op marketing in 2020. Using in-depth interviews with a selection of top destination leaders from Europe, Asia Pacific and across North America, the insights in the report provide a roadmap for any destination executive looking for solutions to try and jumpstart their tourism economy as the travel industry begins to spring back to life.