Mother nature has not been kind in 2017. From earthquakes to hurricanes to forest fires and more—communities and industries, including tourism, have been deeply impacted by these devastating events. As the GM of Tourism at Sojern, I’ve been deeply enmeshed in the travel industry for over a decade because I love this industry and the people in it. Seeing the devastation that these events have on friends, colleagues, and communities I knew we had to step up and give back.
A DMO’s role is to drive visitation for the greater good of whatever patch of the world that might be. Tourism means people are shopping in local stores, eating in local restaurants, and seeing the local attractions/sights. Tourism means jobs and when it is lost, the economic impact is devastating. I think about the single mom who counts on a second job waiting tables to provide the best lift for her two kids. If nobody is eating in the restaurant, she is not working.
In addition to individual Sojernistas around the world volunteering—from packaging food for earthquake relief in Mexico to collecting and delivering donations for those in Northern California—we also, as a company, instituted a number of programs to help our tourism clients get back on their feet because we know that getting past the storms and opening for business is vital to the industry, as well as to the individuals who work and live in the industry and the communities impacted.
Helping Tourism Clients Get Back to Business
We did a few things to help our tourism partners and the feedback has been incredibly strong. Off the bat we proactively added 10% in added value impressions for any of our paused campaigns due to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria for when we pushed them live again. We also provided those destinations that needed to promote a huge break by providing a 50% added value boost on any spend from our minimum up to any budget that is used between now and the end of the year.
At this time we have enrolled multiple destinations in the Hurricane Recovery Program. Amelia Island CVB, Space Center Houston, Bermuda Tourism (to target and accommodate displaced guests), Citrus County CVB, Experience Kissimmee, Discover the Palm Beaches, and several others. We anticipate more traction as we move forward over the next few weeks.
The personal responses back from clients on our offer in this program have been extremely positive and actually a bit heartwarming. In this difficult situation, Sojern has been well positioned as a real and valued partner to the tourism industry. It has been an honor to play some small part in helping the industry and people that we love recover from these difficult events.