When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Discover Martin team found ourselves in a very tricky position. Seemingly overnight, we had to pivot from telling travelers to come visit Martin County to encouraging people to stay home and postpone their upcoming vacations. And we certainly weren’t alone – the entire travel industry faced the same, unprecedented challenges.
A lot has changed over the past few months, but the situation isn’t any less tricky today. The tourism industry’s survival depends on some form of recovery — in other words, people traveling once again. However, encouraging travelers to behave normally during a worldwide pandemic is irresponsible, potentially compromising people’s health and safety, and causing backlash if the right amount of caution and safety measures are not made clear. Enter the “Let’s Go There” campaign.
The new campaign launched on September 8 by the U.S. Travel Association (in coalition with 75 travel-related businesses and trade organizations, such as American Airlines, Marriott, and Disney Parks) perfectly captures that tension. The campaign will extend into 2021, and encourages Americans to start planning their next trip. The robust campaign will air across national broadcast networks as well as on streaming platforms, traditional radio, and online through digital ads. Social media users are also encouraged to use the #LetsMakePlans hashtag across platforms.
The concept was a result of the coalition partners grappling with a key question: “What is the right message to potential travelers while the nation navigates the realities of a pandemic? The answer: Take advantage of the demonstrated personal benefits of travel planning, even by just thinking about a future trip—and whenever travelers are ready to actually take it, the industry will be ready to safely welcome them back.”
The campaign alludes to research which shows that there are various mental health benefits related to planning a future trip. A poll conducted by happiness researcher Michelle Gielan found that 97 percent of respondents say that having a trip planned makes them happier, while 71 percent reported feeling higher energy if they had an upcoming trip planned in the next six months.
“There is pleasure in planning travel, and when the moment is right, the industry is committed to being well-prepared for the safe return of travelers,” said U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow. “Our industry recognizes the need to pull together in this moment—as colleagues, not competitors—in a united message of welcome, preparedness, and desire to serve travelers’ needs.”
Overall, the messaging seems carefully calibrated to meet the complexity of the moment. As evidenced by plenty of re-openings over the summer, the travel industry has wanted travelers to resume taking trips safely all summer long. But if they’re not ready to do that, the campaign aims to encourage travelers to book a trip for when they decide they are.
Discover Martin will be participating in this ongoing movement to continue showcasing our beautiful destination and highlighting all of the aspects that make Martin County such a wonderful place to relax and rejuvenate. Whether your next visit is in seven days or seven months from now, we’ll continue to serve as a resource for all of your travel inspiration and trip planning needs.