An Opportunity for Destination Organizations to Be Seen as a Community Asset

By Jack Johnson, Chief Advocacy Officer at Destinations International

CBS News is reporting results from a new poll they conducted. According to the results “most Americans (57%) say the nation's efforts to combat the coronavirus are going bad right now, most call it a crisis and see a months-long process before it is contained.” The survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,190 U.S. residents interviewed between March 21-23, 2020. A few things to take away:

  • The public is pinning its hopes heavily on the nation's scientists, with eight in 10 optimistic about their ability to eventually find a cure or vaccine, and most are also optimistic that Americans themselves can take steps to slow the spread.

  • A large majority — 72% — of Americans think it will take months or longer for the virus to be contained. That includes 47% who think it will be months, another 17% say within the year and 8% even longer than that or never. Only a quarter think containment will come in the next few weeks.

  • Most respondents are optimistic about scientists' ability to find a vaccine or a cure (82%), and in their local hospitals' ability to handle an outbreak (65%), as well as in Americans' ability to do what's needed to stop the spread of the virus (59%).

  • Americans widely trust medical and healthcare professionals generally (88% trust) and in particular, the CDC (82% trust), for information on the virus and what to do. But a large number also trust friends and family (73%). All three of these ratings are higher than various government and media sources.

This last point reminds us that based on Destinations International Foundation research, destination organizations are seen as trusted sources for information by travelers and meeting planners. This crisis is an opportunity to underscore that and be seen as experts not only those two groups but the residents of your community. Posting accurate and nonpartisan information about the status of the virus in your destination or state/province as well as information from state and local authorities concerning limits on stay at home orders, closure of non-essential retail and businesses, limits on meeting sizes, hotels closures, etc. will help position you in the long run as a community asset.

Remember, a destination organization is a community asset responsible for programs promoting a community as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through destination stewardship and brand importance, we strengthen the community’s economic position and vitality which provides opportunity for all the people in the destination. That means when it comes to anything related to the community as a destination or the community’s brand, you need to be seen as the expert who works on behalf of the community.

About the Author

Jack Johnson
Chief Advocacy Officer
Destinations International
As Chief Advocacy Officer, Jack manages the overall public policy operations at Destinations International including member advocacy education and training, development of destination tools and best practices, coalition work with peer organizations, industry research and related public affairs activities. Currently, his work around positioning destination organizations as a shared value in each of their communities and speaking with a new lexicon based on the emotion driven by those values has made him one of the leading voices of the travel industry.