There is no doubt we’re in uncertain times. But as destination marketers, how we act now and prepare for the future will set us apart when this turns around.

Continuing to optimize now means you don’t have to fight for your spot back into search engine rankings in the future. Similar to the stock market, you only lose when you sell low. Knowing this situation will continue to be quite dramatic for travel and tourism for the foreseeable future, it’s in all of our best interests to re-evaluate our marketing plans today and review strategies for services such as SEO, paid media, CRO, content and other digital marketing activities.

SEO, CRO, and Content (Copy) Continuity

As services such as SEO, content (copy which feeds SEO) and CRO are a long game, what we should be doing now is focusing on optimizing for the future. Now is the time to improve the overall quality of our websites, adjust content strategies and create a better user experience. SEO particularly is a dynamic and competitive space that requires constant diligence.

Here are steps that you can take right now:

  1. Conduct a basic SEO health check-up. This includes crawl error checks, regular content updates, on-page optimization, analytics health checks and other ongoing SEO activities. With more of the workforce conducting business from home, we can estimate that workdays will become more flexible and both personal and business searches will occur throughout the day. Organic traffic is already the number one source of traffic for DMOs, making up more than 53 percent of all visitor sessions on average. The space is fiercely competitive, but with proper shepherding and nurturing, you can mitigate potential drops, making the road to recovery easier.
  2. Create a content plan that positions your DMO as the source of truth for your destination. This can come in many forms such as consistent content and regular email communication, and can be optimized for location. Alongside this, be sure to update restaurant and event landing and detail pages with notices featuring up-to-date information (including closures, takeout/delivery options, etc.). You can also provide content with social-distancing-friendly activities and attractions in your destinations, such as virtual tours of local museums.
  3. Tell positive impact stories from your destination. Experience Columbus is a great example of this. They have done a great job showcasing everything on one landing page including a round up of how people can support the community. They are also doing great work with relevant and valuable content, like resources from working from home.
  4. Start planning for your future paid media campaigns. Once this crisis has been averted most will desire to escape from being “locked up” in their hometowns so optimizing for last minute keyword queries, staycation terms and road trip terms may be a good strategy for both SEO and paid media once that switch is flipped.
  5. Test for overall user experience. Using CRO to test for what works best, especially those centered around growing your email lists, are more important now than ever. Short-term decreases in traffic mean every visitor counts even more now so optimizing user experience proactively means the system is well-oiled for the future.
  6. Prepare stakeholders for changes in 2020 KPI expectations. A great way to do this is by making sure that you are tracking all data in your system as consistently and accurately as possible, including ongoing event cancellations. This webinar is a helpful place to make sure you’re on track.

This crisis will end, and we should encourage our constituents and stakeholders to think beyond the current situation. We should approach this as a WE versus ME situation and I’m proud to say that many DMOs are already doing just that! The desire to travel will no doubt return, perhaps stronger than ever. Use this time to communicate thoughtfully and tactfully with your audiences to ensure you and your partners are prepared for the future.

To keep your team on track with optimization of your SEO and CRO efforts, download the PDF below.