As we all reopen, we want to make the most of our marketing campaigns when our budgets are more restricted than ever.  In today’s post, I’m going to focus on a few tourism trends, and recommend a few tweaks to your reopening campaigns.

Audience 1:  Past Attendees

Organizations around the country (attractions, restaurants, bars, ‘hangouts,’ etc.) are seeing a high number of regular customers as people long to get back to how they lived before all this happened.   This is especially true in states in which restrictions have been lifted in the last 30 days.  The first tier of ‘returning to normalcy’ has been returning to the places where everybody knows your name.  I recommend everyone start with a campaign focused on your members, past attendees, email subscribers, and geographically close social media followers.

I recommend the following:

  1. Multi-Email Campaign – Featuring content, pictures, and videos related to the current exhibits with regular reminders of the hours and health procedures at the bottom of each email. I recommend getting the artists or curator(s) for current exhibitions to make quick videos discussing why they are passionate about the work.
  2. Google Customer Match campaign – Customer match allows you to get impressions with your current database and audiences similar to your database through search, Gmail, youtube, and display ads. I love customer match campaigns as a supplement to email with my core audience as they are frequently seen more often than email due to the high volume of email we all receive.  They are also a great way to pinpoint audiences similar to your core group.
  3. Pointed Social Media Campaigns – Run paid campaigns aimed at your current followers and similar audiences. I’m pairing this social media campaign with some other campaigns, which I will discuss later.

These campaigns do not need to be complex.  Simply make sure they know you are open, your hours are the same, information on your current exhibits, and the safety steps you are taking.  I recommend creating a landing page with information in these four key areas.  If admissions price changes have occurred, include this as well.  As this campaign is pointed at your core audience, make sure to include information on supporting the museum at the bottom of the landing page.

Audience 2: Regional First Time

As we all know, air travel is significantly down, hotel occupancy is down, and travel outside of 150 miles is down.  Also, people inquiring about longer trips has been down over the last few months as the economy has become shaky, and unemployment is of more significant concern.    People are visiting attractions within their current community or communities that can be reached in under three hours.  This is where your opportunity exists.  Many people are doing the ‘I’ve always wanted to see that,’ activities that they have never made time for.   To account for this reality, pull your marketing in geographically.

I recommend the following:

  1. Google Geo-Targeting: If you are not familiar with geotargeting, click on this article I wrote previously
  2. Local Media Push – Local media is actively promoting stories about area attractions reopening. Make sure you send a press release and pictures to every print, digital, television, and radio media organization in your town and other towns within 150 miles.  You may not think you have opportunities that far out, but just last week, I did a morning TV show based in a down 80 miles away.
  3. Local influencers – If you have members or supporters with a high number of local followers, ask them if they will help you promote your reopening or one of your exhibits. If you are in a larger city, I recommend having a local influencers program, but that’s a more extended topic.
  4. Local public radio – See if your local public radio will interview a curator or artist in one of your exhibits. Also, see if their website has banner ads.  They are usually reasonably low cost, and their audience matches most museum audiences.
  5. Geography pointed social media campaigns – If you have a tight budget, just run it on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to pinpoint when people are planning weekend activities.
  6. Things to do websites: Make sure all local things to do websites have updated information on your exhibits and know that you are open.
  7. Ask your local ‘raving fans’ to help you spread the word – Regardless of the number of followers they may have on social media, curated recommendations are always valuable.

Two small tips – Use pictures of people at the museum in your communications.  It creates a visual image of the experience during these times in which we all are following new health guidelines.  Also, post a video or two of people’s impressions after going through the museum.  Real visitor testimonials are a great tool to move people from considering to visiting.

If you would like to discuss your reopen strategy, contact me at

Article by Frank Bennett, originally published at

Thank you for reading! I write, consult, and speak on museum topics with the goal of impacting 10,000 museums. If you enjoyed this article, please do three things:

  1. Forward to your friends.
  2. Sign up for updates at my Facebook, Twitter, and at
  3. Implement immediately – Knowledge isn’t power; it’s potential power; make sure you implement quickly.