Cupcakes, yoga and cocktails: How the tourism industry stays engaging during the COVID-19 pandemic

by: Allie Rohlfs

Tourism isn’t a thing of the past; it just got a virtual makeover!

The COVID-19 pandemic created a communications crisis for many sectors around the world, and one of the hardest hit is the tourism industry. With travel plans, events and dining out no longer an option, Verdin clients such as Visit Arroyo Grande, Visit Camarillo and Ventura County Coast completely shifted their focus on social media to accommodate the fast-paced changes and connect with their audiences.

The narrative and aesthetic of Instagram and Facebook posts quickly changed to match consumer needs. Instead of promoting local events, several accounts reached out to followers to participate in #TakeoutTuesday and post photos of their favorite to-go meals from local eateries.

As the call to action shifted from encouraging travelers to visit these destinations to keeping them informed of closures, rules and new regulations, several of Verdin’s clients found ways to creatively engage with audiences.

In Arroyo Grande, fans of the annual Strawberry Festival were encouraged to celebrate the beloved tradition from home. In an email from Visit Arroyo Grande explaining the cancellation of the festival, local favorite Eclair Bakery shared a mouthwatering strawberry cupcake recipe for readers to bake from the comfort of their own kitchens.

Visit Camarillo took to sharing more inspirational social media posts and created virtual events to foster a sense of togetherness from a distance. Despite the closure of gyms, local yogi Roniet Berci brought yoga class to people’s homes by sharing a prerecorded flow. Those who miss diving into history and visiting museums were invited on a virtual tour of the Camarillo Ranch House and gardens. And for everyone craving fine dining, Slate Bistro and Craft Bar shared a tutorial on how to cook a delicious meal and even shake up some cocktails. On the menu tonight: chicken piccata and creamy parmesan risotto!

The Ventura County Coast social media pages shifted gears to keep captions short and sweet and focus on beautiful landscape photos, images of people practicing social distancing and more inspirational content. To ensure people still felt like they were connected to the area, a 360-degree video was posted on the website, allowing viewers to imagine themselves ambling along the coast.

Finding creative ways to adapt seems to be the motto of the year! Have you seen or engaged with any creative social media content or virtual activities? Share them with us on Facebook or Instagram!

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