We’re starting to see some indicators that people are beginning to research travel a bit more—with a shift in destination marketing organization (DMO) traffic bouncing back 16 percent week over week.

So this week on The Layover Live, we decided to chat with Justin Bresler, VP of marketing and business development at Visit Denver, to talk about how they’re preparing for the recovery and what they have done to be a valuable part of their community and support their local partners.

“Hopeful but cautious,” is the balance that they’re aiming to strike, with an eye toward the best practices, local guidance and the public feedback that’s coming through.

One immediate tangible step that Visit Denver took in the face of the crisis was to create the To Go Denver site, which has already driven a couple thousand page views, primarily within the local Denver community.

These kinds of efforts may be maintained, or they may shift as the recovery continues. DMOs are quickly learning to evolve to become not just marketers for their destination to the rest of the world, but also marketers of their destination to locals.

“Before we even talk about travel, we’ve gotta convince someone that it’s OK to leave their house and go dine at a restaurant,” said Bresler.

As he mentioned, we will have to innovate and be flexible in ways that we never have before. For instance, having a strong record of cleanliness, safety and responsibility will play a huge role both in the short-term and long-term. Also, the creative that DMOs use will likely need to shift from crowded concerts to more appropriate imagery, like wide open natural spaces, or restaurants with tables following social distancing guidelines.

When people do start to travel, he added, people will likely still be dining a bit differently. Maybe they’ll be doing take-out and delivery still. All of these trends, habits and findings will feed public confidence and help destinations to re-invent themselves and how they welcome potential incoming travelers down the road.

“I would love to see some of our frontline hospitality workers be the face of our recovery,” Bresler said.

We couldn't agree more.