As the travel sector starts to emerge from Covid-19-induced lockdowns, travel marketers have been handed the challenge of both reassuring potential customers of the safety of their services or destinations and inspiring them to travel once again.

Here, marketing expert Steve Dunne, chief executive of Digital Drums, assesses the strengths and weaknesses of six promotional videos and advertisements

Visit Dubai

With a stirring film score opening against a typical Dubai skyline that cuts to an Emirates aircraft flying over the iconic Palm, a male voice announces: “We made you a promise that we would see you soon.”

As we fly over empty white-sand beaches and see The Atlantis Resort, the voice continues: “That time has come.”

Over the next 60 seconds we cut from familiar scene to familiar scene: camel rides and four-wheel drives in the desert; spas and wellbeing experiences; water sports and fine dining. The narrator continues: “And today we make a new promise, that our home, Dubai, is ready for you to visit once again.”

It’s the sort of highly polished, well-produced video you would expect from an upmarket destination.

Interestingly, though, the film makes no reference to the pandemic; there is little reference to the safety aspects highlighted by other destinations. Personally, I feel that’s a mistake. Consumers will look for reassurance about the steps being taken to protect their health and wellbeing. It’s a great video, but it falls short in perhaps the most important area of all – emphasising safety for visitors.


Jet2

I’ve always been an admirer of Jet2holidays’ marketing approach. It is always simple, straightforward and upbeat with a lot of personality and great branding.

And their new ‘Your Safety, Our Priority’ video for the return to travel is classic Jet2holidays.

With lots of branding throughout and Jet2’s familiar Jess Glynne soundtrack, the advert is a step-by-step guide on the precautions the airline is taking regarding hygiene and safety and what you need to do as a traveller.

It’s simple and straightforward and I found it very reassuring. Another great effort from the airline and tour operator.


Egypt Ministry of Tourism

This two-and-a-half-minute promotional video by the Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities opens like a scene from a Hollywood apocalyptic movie.

It opens, against a tense soundtrack, in the dead of night with an army of hazmat-suited officials sanitising an aircraft cabin, an empty airport terminal and its seating, luggage trolleys and carousels. Regiments of military trucks spray the roads with the iconic Sphynx in the background. It switches to hotel rooms being deep-cleaned as we catch glimpses of the Pyramids through its windows. We see the hotel kitchen being deep-cleaned as staff entering have their temperature taken, while sunbeds are sprayed with disinfectant.

And then suddenly we see the familiar sunrise, a plane landing and the screen bursts into colour with an upbeat Arabic soundtrack kicking in as two travellers emerge from the aircraft in face masks. The film emphasises social distancing as we witness the couple enjoying the sights and sounds of Egypt.

Before seeing the video, I hadn’t considered Egypt as a destination to visit so soon after lockdown, but I would consider it now – so mission accomplished by the tourist board.


London City Airport

London City Airport is informing customers of its procedures with a three-minute information video that takes the viewer through every facet of moving through the terminal and onto the aircraft.

A friendly, professional-sounding female narrator opens the video by saying “welcome back” before taking us through the various aspects of safety procedures through the terminal building.

The narrator’s voiceover is also reproduced as subtitles – a vital move in today’s social media world, where videos are often viewed on muted mobile devices.

Throughout the video we are reassured, both visually and in the commentary, that the airport’s number-one objective is to keep us, its customers, safe.

It does the job well.


Tui

Tui is kick-starting holidays post-lockdown with a typical travel advertisement that would be as equally at home after the Christmas break or during winter as it is after a near-four‑month travel ban and pandemic lockdown for British consumers.

And that’s my issue with it.

The advert itself is typically uplifting. It opens with a caption and a voiceover saying “It’s time to look forward…” followed by a series of finishes to the sentence ranging from “…to that first dip in the pool” to “…getting back to what really matters” as we see typical scenes of swimming pools and long afternoon lunches and of holidaymakers playing on the beach and hiking in wonderful hills with gorgeous scenery.

On the surface, it is a great advert, with the right pitch and tone and the high production values you would expect of the market leader.
But at no point does the advertisement seek to allay fears about health, hygiene and safety which, after Covid-19 lockdown and now with second spikes erupting across the globe, one would imagine is high on the check list of families and more-mature consumers in particular.


Go Turkey

Go Turkey, as part of its #ReTurkey and #SafeTourismTurkey campaign, has created an advert that perfectly combines health and safety messaging with inspiration to visit the country for a holiday post-lockdown.

Viewed through the eyes of a young boy in Turkey with his parents, the advertisement clearly shows face masks being worn by officials and staff at airports, restaurants and hotels, and of temperature screening at airports and hotels. It also cleverly weaves in high-tech health check systems, phone apps, hand sanitisers and social distancing markers on pavements with the traditional sights and attractions of Turkey.

The advert signs off with a voiceover saying: “We arrange all the necessities for both joy and wellness.”

It is a great promotion which I feel is completely in line with the desires and needs of its target audience. The only let-down for me was the American voices of the narrator and the young boy, which can grate on a British ear, but it’s still a very good effort.

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