How is Brand USA planning to reopen inbound tourism to America?
Hearing about successful marketing campaigns in this morning’s virtual board meeting by Brand USA sounded like hearing from a different world in a different time. Just in January, Brand USA marketing campaigns were seen as one of the best in its class.
Of course, board members were proud of such achievements, and the material shown was by all means impressive.
After hearing such achievements it became clear that in today’s world, the only real activity is about keeping the lights on.
Keeping the lights on at Brand USA includes providing education for overseas trade, entertainment, and inspiration for future travelers and to keep the US Travel Brand on everyone’s mind.
Brand USA is to provide guidance, information, and insight, as well as continue with SMART Marketing Tools ready to go when the country is ready to re-start the travel market.
In today’s world, Brand USA provides services that include:
1) Giving insightful guidance
2) Depository of Information on its COVID website
3) Trying to relate hope at a time of uncertainty
Brand USA stopped their media campaigns and events but is not backing down with “boots on the ground” in overseas markets in order to “keep the lights for American Tourism really on.” This includes training.
Webinars on educating, entertaining, and inspiring the travel trade had 21,500 instead of the usual 3,400 agents registered in overseas key markets for the U.S.
The Go USA TV platform is keeping its drumbeat of inspiration alive, including through Instagram and other social media.
Brand USA will not be determining when is the best time to reopen, said Chris Thompson, President & CEO, but the 2019 numbers covering their fiscal year from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019 speaks for Brand USA’s achievements prior to the outbreak of this epidemic. Here’s the evidence:
- America’s Musical Journey received 2.4 million views.
- Airline/Inflight Agreements for airline entertainment was successful. Brand USA teamed with United Airlines, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, and China Southern Airlines, United Airlines, AVirgin Atlantic, China Southern Airlines.
Currently, all paid media outreach is on hold.
Listening to the report was like listening to a good history story. Reports covered:
- Annual ROI study
- 901,000 incremental visitors
- $3.2 billion in direct spending
- $6.8 billion in total direct and indirect sales
- $913 million in federal, state, and local taxes
- 42,524 incremental jobs
- 24:1 marketing ROI
- 21: 1 organizational ROI
Hearing about a successful US-China Tourism Leadership Summit building a high profile of travel and tourism in these 2 large global economies sounded very different from the nasty language used by US top leaders these days.
Brand USA had conducted webinars with as many as 300+ partners online. Webinars included the Status of COVID-19 to the US travel and tourism industry including projection of the economic impact according to Oxford Economics.
Chris Thompson said: “We continue to [operate] the world. Offices in Canada, Mexico, Europe including Britain, China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia are active and part of the ‘boots on the ground’ approach.
Brand USA is preparing its storytelling and its virtual road trips on marketing to track back from featuring crowded places, nightlife, and city content. The focus now is on the great outdoors and well-being.
Such campaigns received 9 million views and featured 500 US destinations. Popular was the Lucky in Love Trailer.
Brand USA is working on developing an 18-month recovery plan focusing on overseas markets on a priority basis.
Once markets open, the priority is most likely to be:
- Canada, Mexico, UK, Europe
- Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Japan
- China, India, and Brazil
The focus may be helping future travelers through and beyond primary and traditional gateways.
Without naming dates, Brand USA is targeting a sense of normalcy again for the end of 2021.
The opening of the German outbound market was singled out as a positive indication in today’s Brand USA board meeting, making Germany a possible first priority test market.