In light of the recent flooding disasters across Australia tourist destination marketers need to avoid taking an ad hoc approach for a ‘quick fix’ solution, in which they attribute little thought to the audience’s likely response to the messages they create.
Tourism Australia has recently spent large sums of money to build a positive image of Australia through the Oprah Winfrey Show visit which was portrayed to a global audience across 145 countries.
“Our destination marketers need to quickly commence their recovery marketing efforts in an effort to preserve this positive destination image created through the Oprah Winfrey Show, but they need to keep a few post-disaster recovery messages in mind,” Dr Judith Mair from the Tourism Research Unit said.
In the wake of the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, researchers from the Tourism Research Unit were appointed to undertake a study for Gippsland’s Regional Marketing Organisation that aimed to identify the most effective post-disaster marketing communications message.
“Encouraging people to visit through celebrity endorsement can help restore confidence in visiting the destination,” Dr Mair said.
“Messages promoting community readiness are most likely to generate emotional responses among the tourism market. Promoting festivals and events immediately or soon after a disaster is not likely to encourage visitation, but may be helpful in 12 months to 2 years following the disaster.
“The study further recommends that marketing and promotional activities should continue over the course of the disaster recovery period and relationship marketing should also be the focus of the initial promotional activity.” Dr Mair said.
Given the predictions emerging from climate change research which suggest that there will be an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events in Australia, leading to potentially more frequent flooding and bushfires in future, it is vital that the tourist industry is prepared for post-disaster recovery.