. Outlook on Pandemic Recovery Improving for Convention and Visitor Bureaus | Northstar Meetings Group

Outlook on Pandemic Recovery Improving for Convention and Visitor Bureaus

Destination marketers also are shifting from informational to promotional messaging.

Meetings and Coronavirus
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While convention and visitor bureaus have been hit hard by the shutdown of travel and events to slow the spread of COVID-19, recent data finds that their outlook about the future is improving. 

The latest installment of MMGY Travel Intelligence and Destinations International Foundation's bi-weekly tracking surveys of North American destination professionals, which drew on insights from more than 160 respondents from April 17 to 23, found that 41 percent expect their local tourism economy to worsen in the next 30 days -- a significant drop compared with the 72 percent of respondents who said the same two weeks before.

Fourteen percent of those surveyed also said they expect the economy to be somewhat better in the next 30 days, compared with just 2 percent in the previous survey. Forty-five percent expect their economy to remain about the same, compared with 26 percent previously.

CVBs continue to face substantial difficulties, with a growing number of organizations reporting significant staff reductions and budget cuts. But these findings reflect a shift from responding to the immediate fallout of the COVID-19 crisis to a focus on longer-term recovery. 

While crisis communications continue to be a dominant focus for most CVBs, with 76 percent reporting that they are investing in this area, less than half of respondents (46 percent) said they expect to still be using crisis communications messaging in two months' time. In another shift in focuse, 73 percent of respondents said they expect to invest in promotional messaging in the next 60 days -- an increase from 62 percent compared with the previous survey. Just 15 percent of respondents reported receiving 20 or more inquiries a day related to COVID-19, compared with 26 percent two weeks ago. 

"Many organizations are now starting to proactively plan their shift from informational communication campaigns to promotional ones in the next 60 days," said Chris Davidson, executive vice president of insights and strategy at MMGY Global. "But there won't be one moment where it all turns back on for everyone. Cities, even within the same state, may be on totally different timetables and with differing restrictions and protocols."