Erik Newton, Milestone
"What are people asking when they call? What fears can you allay up front in writing and make them findable in search on your website."
Quote from Erik Newton, vice president of marketing at Milestone, in an article on PhocusWire this week to discuss digital marketing strategy during the coronavirus outbreak.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.
Now is the not the time to get your messaging wrong.
It's also not the time to play with the emotions of customers - the gradually dwindling number of leisure or business travelers who are still expecting to be transported from one part of the world to another and stay in some form of accommodation.
As we have seen this past week (hello, president Donald Trump), leaders of countries are getting basic details wrong just at the very moment they presumably should be reassuring their populations and industries that they have a plan of some kind.
Twitter is perhaps not the best place to hang out during moments of apparent global crisis. But it does offer a snapshot of how frustrated or scared or confused travelers are right now.
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As countries such as Italy went into lockdown earlier this week and the mainstream media reported on how Airline A or Tour Operator B was suspending operations, thousands (perhaps millions) of travelers were desperately looking for information as to the status of their trip.
One European airline was said to be axing its flight schedule until into April but, as its website appeared to buckle under the pressure of a deluge of panicked web visitors and the call center was in meltdown, its Twitter feed had failed to post anything meaningful for a few days.
Travelers will no doubt remember that an airline, just when its customers needed to know as much as possible or - at least - be pointed in the direction of an information, was silent (or was still keen to promote a weekend break away for happy couples).
Now that marketing is all over the place for a few months, communications has to be the channel that travel brands focus their efforts on.
Many are doing great work to reassure their customers, but an equal number are clearly not.
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