Telum Talks To... Chet Ramos, PR & Media Manager, Spain Tourism Board

Telum Talks To... Chet Ramos, PR & Media Manager, Spain Tourism Board

Global travel and tourism businesses have reopened and are building momentum in the wake of pandemic-related restrictions. Telum Media spoke with Chet Ramos from the Spain Tourism Board in Singapore to hear how her team is encouraging travel in 2023.
What role do PR professionals play in managing visitor expectations around a travel destination?
I read an article that mentioned the tourism industry is characterised by a reliance on images, so an accurate picture of the travel destination must be painted. It is true, and achieving this is no walk in the park. PR professionals have to provide clear and consistent messaging across multiple platforms, especially when managing crises like the recent pandemic.

What are some challenges you face when marketing a destination to different regions?
Different regions have different demands, interests, and priorities. This can be a challenge, particularly when you're working with multiple markets, as you're required to consider, categorise, and highlight elements that will appeal to each of them. What engages one person will often not work for another. It is vital that we continuously refresh our communications approaches with new trends, expand our tourism offers and ensure our destination is visible and adapted to our target audience's ever-changing demands.

Since we cover the Southeast Asian markets, language can be a challenge too. It's important that the message your work sends to audiences resonates with them. Each market also has distinctive factors that influence travel decision-making, from media platforms to pop culture as well as the availability of resources to cater to their requirements. All of these should be considered by PR professionals working in this sector.

Although challenges exist, I recognise them as opportunities to grow and gain an understanding of different tourism products, such as halal tourism or sustainability. As a PR professional, it also serves as a chance to immerse myself in various local cultures and keep on top of new and emerging trends. You would be surprised by how fun and enriching this job can be!

What are your tips for communicators and travel marketers to get people to their destinations in the post COVID-19 era?
We always strive to build trust and prioritise our customer's experience. One thing is to create an appealing narrative, however real business comes when the customer arrives at your destination. Why? Because as travel marketers, we don't just want consumers to have a one-time experience. We want them to keep coming back and hopefully gain them as ambassadors for our destination. It is extremely rewarding to hear people say they would like to return to our destination, but achieving that is not easy, which is why we must work with different stakeholders in the travel and hospitality sectors to align our objectives. 

I am also a firm believer that creating inspiration can result in organic engagement. When you can get your audiences engaged, reaching your targets will flow naturally. Messages are everywhere, and that is why we should be intentional, purposeful, and direct when addressing our audience - inspirational above the hard sell.

Don't just push a product, connect with your target audience and give them a reason to book that flight.

Do you think traditional media is still relevant compared to owned and paid online influencers?   
In addition to targeting older audiences with potential travel interests, "legacy media" is also highly regarded as a reliable source of information. In my opinion, this is unquestionably due to it's long-standing credibility, despite the pressures imposed by new media. For instance, in some markets, TV is still a major competitor of digital platforms.

What are some trends that will continue to shape the travel industry in 2023?
  • Revenge travel: Travel came back with a vengeance after the pandemic and will continue to grow. Inflation is not a hindrance, travel is a priority and people are ready to splurge. A virtuoso study showed that on average, travellers are booking their trips ahead more than they did pre-pandemic.
  • Digital nomadism: The pandemic has opened a way for the world to embrace remote work and allows people to explore the world long-term and set up their laptop wherever they feel inspired.
  • Sustainability and responsible travel: More than ever, travellers and the hospitality sector are doubling their efforts to embrace their roles in responsible travel and prioritise sustainable practices.
  • Off the beaten track exploration (not unplugged): While travellers still flock to popular tourist destinations, many have become flexible and are keen to enjoy unexplored places. They are searching for charming little villages, unique accommodations, hyperlocal experiences and silent nature retreats where they can enjoy and still stay virtually connected.

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