Online Tourism: How to tackle the challenges COVID caused


2020 has been a year like no other – we’re pretty sure no one saw all these coming. COVID-19 turned our World upside down, and with a lot of countries facing lockdowns (again), the uncertainty (once again) can be frustrating both as a customer and as a marketer.

While quarantine has left its mark on basically every business, and there are just a few lucky ones who can report 2020 as the best financial year yet, the most struggling industry is without doubt tourism – while shops can reduce their loss by moving online, restaurants can rely on takeaway orders, this is not really the time when people are eager to plan trips – both because of the uncertainty of the situation and because of finances. What can online tourism companies do?

However, we firmly believe that as a business operating in tourism, you should not lay back and wait for a miracle to happen – when borders open again, people will really need some time to get away and explore new destinations since they have been locked inside for so long! And when that happens, you need to be their first thought. Until then, we are sure there are some to-dos on your list that you haven’t had the time for so far – but now is the perfect chance! Luckily, there’s great potential in online tourism that you can leverage! What are some basic tasks you can do to improve your business?

Set up two-step verification! If you haven’t set up 2-step verification for every account that has access to your Facebook Business Manager or Google Ads account, then it’s the right time to quickly make sure that your account is safe & secure! Here you can find more information on how to set up 2-factor authentication in Google, and if you click here, you’ll find Facebook’s description about it. Fix already existing bugs! We know that companies are often aware of existing bugs in their measurement set up but they lack the time to fix all of these. However, numbers can always help you make business decisions, and if you have numbers, they should show real values. So, we advise you to sit down and make sure that your measurement is on point, so when people get back to travelling, you can get precise numbers from your website! Experiment with Chatbots and Facebook Messenger automation! Using chatbots and automated message flows are getting more and more popular and it is really an effective way to guide and help your customer in their buying journey. If you haven’t set up a chatbot on your website, now’s the perfect time to install one. You can use it to help your already existing customers, but it’s also possible to close a new deal with the help of a chatbot – and it’s up to you how you use it in your online tourism business. Even though as of now, there are some limitations related to Messenger campaigns in the EU, it’s a highly effective campaign type to start communication with your potential prospect instantly. Rethink and reschedule your Black Friday! Lots of travel companies are trying out new methods, and it really depends on your business what the ‘best’ solution is. We have seen companies moving ahead or postponing this year’s Black Friday deal. Another option is doing Black Friday at the regular time, but with smaller discounts, and have a larger one right before Christmas.

Experiment with your newsletter in online tourism! Newsletters are crucial tools to help you stay in touch with your customers and we really hope you are already using one. Nowadays, it’s basically the only way to communicate directly with your most loyal guests. As a business operating in online tourism, your topics nowadays could cover all the beautiful sights to see in your area after the lockdown ends. To boost sales, you could introduce an additional subscription option – those who signup will be the first one to know about your reopening, and could seal a discounted deal! Try out a coupon deal! Since we don’t know what the future holds, and how we’ll be able to travel in 2021, it’s probably the best idea to offer coupons and gift cards – it can be a nice present for Christmas, which one can even purchase last minute if running out of time. You can even offer discounts on these, e.g. value of $75 for just $60! People absolutely love discounts, and it’s also important to note that right now they really want to travel, they just simply can’t – and it might be a good idea to target them in this mindset. Leverage the potential of Q5 for online tourism! A lot of people have started using the term ‘fifth quarter’ to mark the very special time range between Christmas and New Year’s – a week when a lot of people are taking their day-offs and literally spend much more time on social media, – and on top of that the marketing noise is very little, compared to the pre-Christmas period since advertisers also go idle. During these days it’s cheaper to advertise, since CPMs and CPCs are low. You can think about running educational Awareness campaigns, or App install campaigns – or basically any campaign idea to try out these days. Less advertisers? More active user base? This is definitely worth a shot. Re-engage your customers! You must have a long list of previous customers or newsletter subscribers, and it’s highly unlikely that all of them are engaging with your promotional offers – and you can’t blame them, they must get tons of similar promotional emails. To make them re-engage with your offer, you can target them with a Messenger retention campaign! It’s a simple and effective tool to reach your email subscribers on a new channel! The open rate is much higher on Messenger than in case of a regular email sendout. You can even use the exact same message you would use in your newsletter. Only the channel is different. It’s a great A/B test among these channels, which nicely complement each other. Go behind the scenes! Your most loyal guests must be missing you a lot these days. To help them avoid forgetting your brand, and possibly to reach new potential customers, you can post updates on your social platforms – you can even use Facebook or Instagram Live to give an update on your business’ situation, and show them around! If you are operating an agency, you could show how your team deals with the lockdown, or how they are preparing for the next season. If you are operating a guest house or a hotel, you might show your followers around the hallways and tell them what you’ve been working on for the next season. Use your measurement data for retargeting! We know that nowadays every penny counts. However, when planning your campaigns, you can rely on measurement data. You can target your website visitors who have spent a specific amount of time on your website – they are probably the ones who are desperately dreaming about traveling and exploring new destinations, and chances are they are the most likely to book a deal! It costs some money but your most engaged website visitors may still be worth it already in the short run. They will be the ones who book first when restrictions ease.

Set up Facebook Conversion API! As privacy and cookie policies get even stricter, front-end event tracking gets more difficult to be properly managed, and data loss gets almost inevitable. A possible workaround as such is Facebook Conversion API through which server side event tracking can be set up. It’s a bit more tech-heavy topic to cover (you definitely need a developer with backend access), however, server side tracking will be a hot topic as less and less information can be traced on the client side. For more information about Conversion API, please visit:

We hope that the list above can help you make the best out of these difficult times, and that 2021 can be even better and more successful than you would imagine! If you are looking for digital marketing solutions, do not hesitate to contact us!

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