Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Chris Pomeroy, Founder and President Interface Tourism Spain, General Secretary ITG , and CEO Travellyze is a recognized thought-leader in the tourism communications industry and regular speaker at international destination marketing events.
Chris Pomeroy’s Workshop at PRO.PR Conference: Communications in Tourism (Terme Olimia, Podčetrtek, Slovenija, Sptember 29 – October 2).
Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world and one of the few export industries in which the product is consumed where it is produced. This affords Tourism the power to spread wealth fairly and contribute to the sustainable development of almost any country in the world. But to quote Spiderman’s uncle, “with a great power comes great responsibility”. An inadequately handled crisis can have a direct and devastating effect on the livelihood of millions and promoting the wrong type of tourism can have a devastating effect on the delicate ecology of our planet. With the excitement of a ticking bomb in a Marvel movie, this roomful of PR superheroes will have 30 precious minutes to embrace the power of Tourism communication and discover how to use it to make our fast changing and volatile world a better place to live in and to travel around.
Media Marketing: The pandemic has put the tourism industry not only in a business way, but also in a communication way, in the position of crisis. Is this a chance for all of those in the tourism sector to start thinking about a new way of communicating in order to attract guests? What are your thoughts on tourism in the ”new normal”?
Chris Pomeroy: As a child I was fascinated by the story of how dinosaurs grew in strength and size becoming unchallenged in their domination of the planet and resilient to illness and other threats. Then a single cataclysmic event wiped them out in what in terms of the planet’s history was a blink of an eye. What confused me as a kid was why, after the cataclysm had passed and the planet became hospitable again, didn’t evolution bring a new type of huge animals to dominate the planet. Instead Dinosaurs evolved into the birds of today. From huge and destructive beasts to small, agile and successful creatures at one with the planet.
Tourism has grown exponentially since the 1950s (as a result of the last global cataclysm of WWII). As an industry it has become as successful and of the same gigantic proportions as the Dinosaurs in the animal world. Tourism in 2019 accounted for 1 in 10 jobs on the planet and until now it was resilient to all manner of crisis. Our industry was as strong as a brontosaurus and we didn’t see COVID19 coming any more than the dinosaurs expected the meteor storm. The industry will definitely not face extinction but COVID will make it evolve differently as destinations, businesses and tourists adapt to a totally new set of conditions, needs and even values. As the industry evolves so too must the its communication. In the 30 years I have been working together with tourism destinations I had managed the communication for many types of crisis, I had even helped manage excessive numbers of tourist arrivals but I had never considered a “stay home and don’t travel” campaign.
Media Marketing: You are changing the tourism sector with your ideas. What should communication experts and their management know in order to position themselves again?
Chris Pomeroy: The first thing that we as tourism communicators need to know that much of what we knew from experience up until 2019 is no longer relevant or valid. The key to success is in knowing who our new travelers are (segments and audiences may have changed), what they are thinking and, more importantly in an industry that sells emotions, what they are feeling. Until 2019 tourism marketers had become increasingly proficient at using bigdata analytics to design communications strategies. I am a huge fan and heavy user of bigdata but this dynamic data, incredibly useful as it is, tells us exactly what tourists are doing but not why they are doing it. Artificial intelligence and data analytics are based on applying models to what we know has happened in the past to understand the present and predict the future. In a situation as unprecedented as a global Pandemic there are no past models to apply. In such times of uncertainty when data models based on historic data are not reliable we need to balance quantitative data with qualitative information to understand how we should be positioning our brand and to whom. Our focus for the last year has been to develop a new technological platform that allows us to profile target audiences and really understand new attitudes to travel. The result is a traveler behavior analytics tool called Travellyze (www.travellyze.com) that mixes qualitative and quantitative traveler data to help define new audiences and messages.
Media Marketing: What are your expectations for the tourism sector? Should we expect a ”tsunami” of people in air traffic, in hotels or would the tourism sector once again feel the losses?
Chris Pomeroy: I am very optimistic for the rapid recovery of the tourism sector. There is an incredible pent up demand and psychological need for mobility, change of scenery and social interaction and as soon as it is safe and convenient to do so people will seek these experiences. I don’t however expect a tsunami of travelers. The conditions of and indeed definitions of “safety and convenience” will be different from market to market and the recovery process will be gradual. Then there is the critical matter of air access. Many airlines are in a critical position and it will take several years until we reach 2019 volumes of air traffic. Indeed many would say that that volume was not sustainable and we should seek to grow value and not volume. There will also be a short to mid-term effect on the economic standing and disposable income for travel of the world’s middle classes that were driving global visitation numbers. There are some that use the example of the “ketchup bottle effect” to suggest an uncontrolled mass of tourism suddenly being released from the pent up demand and splashing messily all in one place at one time (and spoiling the delicate flavours of destination). I would prefer to think that while the top has been on the bottle we have been shaking up the industry and turning it upside down with innovation so we can have more control as to when, where and in what quantity we deliver tourism.