By Travis LeJune, Account Manager
Traveling is one of our favorite things to do. We explore, we learn, and the places we visit become a part of who we are. Of course with traveling, you always want to take precautions and travel as safely as possible, but right now, travel safety is receiving a bit more emphasis than usual. And being marketing people, we take a keen interest in how these destinations respond to dangerous travel conditions and promote safety for their destinations.
Starting with all of these hurricanes that are hitting back to back. We’ve just seen a record breaking hurricane season, and it has not been a friendly one. How does an entire state, like the state of Florida, recover from a direct hit from a category 5 hurricane and deliver the perception of safety to its citizens and tourists? Florida needs stability and assurances for the people who live there and their visitors. They do have one thing going, their experience in preparation and ability to recover. Over the last decade, since Wilma, Florida has had almost a dozen hurricanes to learn from, and hopefully they are able to make a swift recovery from this one. They will need to recover quickly and vocalize a new perception of safety for tourists to start coming back as soon as possible to maintain the state’s number one industry, generating 23% of the its total revenue. Florida can show that they are strong and prepared for these circumstances, and that they will quickly recover and be up and running for tourism to start right back up after these hurricanes run through.
There are some other travel dangers trending now that anyone should be aware of, and that is the recently heightened dangers of traveling to Mexico. With a 200% increase in the number of homicides in the last year, and the drug cartel wars at a peak, people still seem to be taking trips to Los Cabos and Cancun. So far this year, Mexico is on track to record the most murders this year than in any year in the last 20 years. The US State Department issued a travel warning for US citizens traveling to Mexico in late August. Unfortunately, this will effect Mexico’s roughly $20 billion per year tourism industry, and we want Mexico to thrive and make money, and so does Mexico! With all of these dangers lurking all throughout Mexico, how can the tourism industry their stay relevant and successful? They have managed to create small bubbles with perceptions of safety right in the middle of these dangerous places. As long as you do not leave the resort, you will be fine, right? On top of all the dangers surrounding these artifice bubbles, there is a recent danger from inside the resorts that brings up this topic. In the last couple of months, there have been dozens of reports of drink tainting and multiple deaths from poisoning. Mysterious side effects and deaths from people drinking alcohol in their hotel resorts is resulting in a burst of these safety bubbles in Mexico. It has become quite a popular topic as of recent among US travelers. But how will Mexico’s reputation, especially Mexico resorts, recover? They need to take control of this drinking poisoning immediately and work on their PR to give the perception of safety to US travelers once more. Word-of-mouth and online buzz are their strongest, maybe only marketing efforts, to combat this negative press. They should work on putting an American face in front of this press to communicate to Americans that these destinations are in fact safe and change the conversation. Make the press about how private and cheap the resorts are right now, instead of how few people are there because of the dangers. Mexico is one of the more extreme examples of a dangerous destination and the extraordinary efforts the destination must take to dissolve the public’s perception.
But travel safety, large or small, is something every destination must account for constantly in their public relations. Travel safety is a huge variable in tourism, and taking the right PR action to give the perception of safety for your destination is extremely important and something to capitalize on, especially right now, that there are so many popular destinations around experiencing dangerous conditions.