When the governor declared a state of emergency and that travel restrictions were implemented, Travel Texas turned to us for immediate solutions. Our team had been monitoring the development of the COVID-19 crisis, and we were well-prepared to jump into action with a crisis communication road map to guide the client through the full crisis all the way to recovery. Across public relations and social media, we reallocated our existing budget and pivoted to a strategy that would generate positive media attention and social media engagement and, ultimately, encourage travel inspiration to drive conversions when the time was right.
From our research, we understood that the recovery process would take place in phases, identified as: Wait, Ready, Set, Go. We understood that in the initial phases, Americans sheltering at home needed an emotional escape – be it armchair travel, simple recipes and other types of engaging, shareable content. It was essential for us to create campaigns that would resonate during this unprecedented time and also drive forward a momentum that would keep Texas top of mind.
For the Wait and Ready phases, we identified that honing in on Texas pride was a perfect starting point to launch community-focused concepts on a national level. We created a series of campaigns to communicate the stories of Texas while bringing some much-needed inspiration and entertainment to key partners and consumers.
Gardenuity Care Packages
Our PR team sourced taco-topping gardening kits from Gardenuity (a Texas-based company), which were mailed to top-tier national and regional media. These included at-home taco recipes and quotes from local chefs. Our goal with these “surprise and delight” packages was to share the flavors of Texas while tapping into the desire for simple, hands-on activities at home.
Virtual Taco Tuesdays
On IGTV and Facebook, we took over the concept of #TacoTuesdays with a weekly taco-making video series featuring local chefs and ingredients from around the state. These videos were designed to honor Texas’ culinary heritage while supporting local businesses. To further support local communities, all posts included a CTA to the Texas Restaurant Association Relief Fund.
We amplified our social content calendar with #TexasToDoSoon, a series of virtual Texas experiences and activities. By sharing inspirational images and inviting others to join the conversation, we were able to elevate the destination’s essential moments and hidden gems.
Our crisis communications strategy was a resounding success from both a social and public relations perspective. The Taco Tuesday social media initiative resulted in over 1.2 million social impressions and 21 million media impressions. The campaign was covered positively by media in top-tier outlets such as Buzzfeed, Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine, two of which were feature articles. Our promoted #TacoTuesday post had the third most engagements of all shared content around this hashtag over the course of the month.
Additionally, we achieved our goal of raising awareness and sharing positivity to key industry influencers:
- “And rest assured, I’ll be getting to Texas the soonest I can (and I know our readers will, too)!” – Corina Quinn, City Guides Editor of Condé Nast Traveler
- “I know PR folks and DMOs are really struggling right now to figure out what to do when people can’t actually travel anywhere, and this was just really thoughtful.” – Ashlea Halpern, Freelancer at AFAR and Condé Nast Traveler
- “It was really a nice way to spend some time outside and learn a bit about gardening/the taco scene in TX.” – Celine Bossart, Freelancer at Liquor.com, Dujour, Business Insider, Delish
- 1.2 Million Impressions #TacoTuesday
- 21 Million media impressions
- 8 Organic top-tier journalist posts