Marketing Strategies in the Wake of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Marketing Strategies in the Wake of the Coronavirus Outbreak
The outbreak of coronavirus in China is having a major impact on travel around the world. Following travel restrictions issued by the Chinese government, travel bans and other precautionary measures by several destinations to help contain the virus, the industry has experienced a wave of cancellations and is working hard to serve its customers’ needs.
Travel trade partners need your support to manage this difficult time but also to prepare for the inevitable recovery of the world’s biggest and most valuable outbound travel market.
Market recovery phases and next steps
Drawing from the experience with the SARS outbreak in 2003, the recovery of the travel industry in China will probably undergo the following key phases:
  • Now - late February: ongoing tight monitoring of the virus to ensure effective containment and subsequent travel cancellation for February and March.
  • Late February - end of March: stabilization of the situation and first signs of improvement. Travel companies will start to look into business plans for the next few months and beyond.
  • April - May: in an optimistic scenario, during this period we may start seeing some loosening of government's containment policies and first wave of bookings. First week of May is a public holiday in China and tourists may leverage this opportunity to travel overseas.
  • June and beyond: recovery phase for the industry. The rebound of travel was significant post SARS in 2003. There is no reason to believe that the same won’t happen again this year. Summer months are a peak booking season for many Chinese families and we expect this year it will be particularly so due to the missed opportunities for travelling during the Spring Festival.
Summer months are a peak season for Chinese Outbound Travel(Source: China Tourism Academy)
What can you do to manage the current situation and bounce back from a challenging first quarter?
In the initial period (now until end of February), we recommend a cautious approach to consumer marketing, with positive, supportive messaging and a pause on sales-oriented actions.
From a B2B point of view, Chinese travel agencies right now are busy handling cancellations. As the crisis recedes and travel agencies start to look ahead, destinations and their partners need to be ready with a plan to ramp up support, building communication, offering training and empowering sales in the recovery period and beyond.
With travel bans in place and many trade events & roadshows now cancelled, the most cost-effective channel is online.
Dragon Trail’s new B2B Recovery Strategy lays down a set of actions that travel brands can take with their trade partners to recover and grow together:
  • Keep communicating with WeChat Webinars
  • Get product ready and drive business development with WeChat Destination Workshops
  • Build sales pipeline with WeChat Pop Up Store
3-step travel trade recovery program – Bounce back after the Coronavirus
Click here to download the strategy deck. If you wish to further discuss with us and see how we can tailor the strategy to your specific case, feel free to get in touch by clicking on the button below.

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