Coronavirus (COVID-19)Marketing

Facing The COVID-19 Pandemic: Leisure, Visitor & Family Attractions Industry

By 17th March 2020 April 2nd, 2020 No Comments

There’s no avoiding the impact that Coronavirus is going to have on Family Attractions venues.

With quarantine measures increasing weekly, venues already seeing a downturn in revenue and some choosing to shut up shop indefinitely, it’s only a matter of time before the industry grinds to a halt. It’s becoming increasingly unlikely the Easter Holiday revenue injection is going to happen. 

As the impact of coronavirus begins to ramp up, we’ve been asked “what does Coronavirus mean for our marketing plans.” The truth is, it means a lot of change. But with all situations, there is significant opportunity nestled within the hardship. 

Where Does this Leave Marketing? 

It doesn’t make sense to market your venue when it’s closed indefinitely. Even if you do continue with your marketing efforts, customers are unlikely to be receptive, they’re not going to direct attention to something they can’t book.

But this doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon your marketing entirely, it’s time for a change in approach. There are three key things to remember: 

  1. This is temporary 
  2. This is an opportunity to plan 
  3. This is likely to correct itself with increased bookings in the summer (fingers crossed) 

We’ve created a 5 step plan to give your marketing activity a direction over the next few months. Follow these steps and you’re in the best possible position to make the most of these difficult circumstances: 

  1. Batten Down the Hatches: 

The first stage is pulling everything into line and locking it down. Reduce your marketing activity where possible. If you’re posting 7 times a week on Facebook, stop. If you’re emailing your database once per week, pull it back and create a blank slate for the future. . 

If you decide to keep a small level of activity going, make sure you’ve closed any streams that use additional budget. This is particularly important for Facebook and Youtube ads. There’s no point spending money to reach people that can’t convert.

Finally, inform your customers. Demonstrating your commitment to public health and reminding your customers that your business is run by people will go a long way. Use this opportunity to reinforce the need for customers to support your business upon its eventual reopening. 

  1. Time to Reflect: 

Next up, it’s time to review everything. As owners and managers of busy venues, we often don’t have enough time to get down into the detail, let alone the data. This is the perfect opportunity to get a real grip on what’s working and what’s not. 

Go back and revisit your marketing activity over the previous 12 months or more. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve forgotten! Consider what worked before and why, how can you use this information to inform your next steps.

Cross reference this with the data, get to know your conversion rates and cost per clicks. By understanding the numbers behind the success, things become a lot easier to replicate. 

Combine the two activities and you’ll have a rock solid understanding of how to plan your future marketing success. Don’t leave measuring success to intuition alone! 

  1. Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

It might not seem like it, but the Coronavirus pandemic will eventually end.

This is temporary.

With the harshest measures likely to phase out during the summer, expect a massive spike in bookings in the July/August months. Don’t get caught napping when this happens. You need to have a watertight activity plan in place and operational when the time comes. It could be the difference between survival and failure. 

There’s over 6000 Family Attraction venues across the UK, learn from them. Review what your competitors are doing. Explore new marketing opportunities. This can be a real phase of discovery for your venue, don’t get caught in the trap of doing what you’ve always done!  

Pull this whole process together by formulating a new marketing plan, it shouldn’t be overly complicated. Just figure out what you want to communicate and how you are going to get people to listen; take care of the detail in the next phase. 

  1. Move Your Pieces 

When you’ve settled on your plan, it’s time to start moving your pieces. Whilst we can’t predict when this will all be over, we can have our material and campaign prepared in advance. Just make sure your plans aren’t date specific.  

If you’re trying something new, or increasing your activity, chances are you’re going to need extra capacity or new skills. You’ve got two options: upskill staff or partner with an agency. 

With the reduced levels of activity in this off period, it’s a great opportunity to get your staff training and upskilling without detracting from their day to day responsibilities. If you want to take things to the next level, we’d recommend working with an agency. Remember you get what you pay for, agency costs are normally rewarded with highly profitable campaigns. 

Once you’ve got the right people on your side, you can set them to task. Oversee your plan coming to life. This is a great time to really get involved in the marketing process, the more you understand it, the better your campaigns are going to perform. 

Just don’t get too tied up in the detail, even the best plans rarely survive contact. Don’t be afraid to let your plan evolve organically. Listen to the people around you and invite their input. After all five heads are better than one! 

  1. Watch It Unfold:

Once everything is ready to go, sit back and wait for the right time to hit the big red button. You should sleep easier knowing:

  1. You’re way more prepared than your competitors
  2. You’ve done everything you can 
  3. You’re leaving nothing to chance 

We can’t guarantee your success, but we are pretty certain you’ll be in a much better position than if you’d stopped considering marketing at all. 

When your plan is active make sure you are measuring your results, compare your activity against your original strategy and understand what’s working and why. If you see something performing, don’t be afraid to go big. The next 6 months are massive for our industry and fortune favours the brave. It’s up to us to go out there and make the best of these challenging times. 

On a final note, let’s support each other where we can. At MAMA we are firm believers in positivity. Whilst this will undoubtedly test us all in ways we can’t now imagine, we will all come out the other side stronger and more determined. Until then, stay safe and look out for the elderly!

At MAMA Marketing, we have pulled our expertise into a 5 stage plan to support leisure, visitor & family attractions through this difficult time. Seriously, it could be the difference between success & failure.

In the meantime, try not to panic, and please follow official advice from NHS and WHO.

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