The Marianas Update
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Blue 46 Associates
Blue 46 Associates, much like every other tourism-based company, was forced to step back and rethink its way of business in March 2020. Exactly one year ago our firm was witness to one of the most debilitating worldwide economic disasters that struck each sector of our economies. We saw our clients either scale back costs or completely shut down. In both cases we stood by them and advised on worldwide market reactions so that the impact of the pandemic wouldn’t sting as much. Prior to the events of early 2020 Blue 46 was very active in digital and alternative marketing strategies that weren’t just limited to social media posts and nice slow-motion tourism videos of people laughing and drone shots. Although the previous mentioned digital marketing strategies are still powerful marketing tools, marketers around the world have had to learn to evolve with what exists and what’s new. According to a McKinsey & Company Report, the world has accelerated its adoption and usage of digitization by more than 50% with the largest leap in digitization and acceptance of the use of technology in the Asia-Pacific region. This means that when borders eventually open up our destinations must have offerings and value and most especially the reassurance that their safety and our community’s safety and health concerns have been addressed as well as recognizing that travelers most likely consume and study the same information as our local tourism industries.
The industry and its components such as hotels, tours, leisure, transportation, etc. depend on the physical experience and there is nothing that can replace this interaction. Thus, it is difficult for tourism marketers to transform this experience and offer digitized content. High resolution video of our paradise still lacks the smell of salt in the air and the rush of warm clean wind embracing you. What we can do as marketers is to continuously remind the markets that we exist. This can be done through the usual social media, graphic and beautiful slow-motion videos, but one must add in e-commerce, content marketing, mobile marketing, influencer marketing and my favorite method of marketing that reminds people of our destination: virtual-augmented-digital space marketing. The future of marketing. Although it does require some hardware to engage, I have been a strong fan of this technology since 2016 when the Oculus Rift first came out. The ability for someone to digitally see your beaches, walk through your gardens and see what hotel room and optional tours would be best for them is, to me, the pinnacle of reaching out to a customer and showing them what we have until the time they can board a plane and come to us.
Who knows when we’ll return to the precedented times, but until then keep your destinations fresh and constantly remind your markets that you are still here for them.
Ed Arriola Jr. is the President of Blue 46 Associates. A full-service consulting firm that specializes in media and public relations strategies and tech solutions for brands and businesses. One of the services we offer is tourism analytics and marketing throughout the CNMI, Guam and the Philippines. For more information visit https://www.blueforty6.com/