Roxana Nicolescu, the VP of Brand Marketing at Wego, has built a fascinating career spanning two decades in marketing, social media, and corporate communication. With her guidance, Wego, the premier travel app in the Middle East and North Africa, has experienced impressive yearly growth. In this recent ‘consumer connections’ podcast, Roxana shared valuable insights into the company’s journey, discussing the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent changes in marketing strategies.
Pre-COVID vs. COVID Era
Roxana reflects on the stark differences in consumer behaviour between the pre-COVID era and the present. Previously, travel was often leisure-oriented, but it has now become more intentional, focused on family visits, medical reasons, and education. This shift prompted Wego to adapt its marketing strategies accordingly.
Adapting to Unforeseen Challenges
The outbreak of COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges for the travel industry, catching businesses off guard. Wego had to find innovative ways to stay connected with their audience. They launched a loyalty program and extended their marketplace to include non-travel products, providing users with reasons to engage with the platform despite travel restrictions.
Staying Engaged and Inspiring Hope
To maintain a connection with their audience during the pandemic, Wego continued providing relevant content and launched a travel advisory section on their platforms. They collaborated with tourism boards to inspire people to dream about future travels and shared the latest travel restrictions and regulations. Despite travel restrictions, Wego’s platforms continued to receive consistent traffic, showcasing the effectiveness of their engagement strategies during challenging times.
Understanding the New Normal
To prepare for the post-COVID era, Wego conducted comprehensive market research. This research helped them identify the changing expectations and pain points of their customers. Notably, customers now preferred booking directly with airlines and hotels for faster cancellations, refunds, and rescheduling processes. Wego integrated this knowledge into their marketing messaging to assure customers that they could still enjoy the benefits of booking through the Wego marketplace.
The Rise of Social Media
Roxana emphasised the significant role of social media platforms in the post-COVID world. With traditional channels like TV becoming less influential, social media became the primary source of information and inspiration for travellers. Wego recognized the varying preferences across different countries in the MENA region and tailored their media strategy to suit each market, utilising platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, Meta, WhatsApp, and Twitter.
- Adaptability is essential: As marketers, adapting to changing realities is crucial. Being open to new strategies and approaches allows businesses to thrive even during challenging times.
- Market research informs effective strategies: Conducting market research helps understand customers’ changing needs, preferences, and behaviours. This knowledge enables businesses to tailor their marketing campaigns and messaging accordingly.
- Engagement is crucial during crises: Maintaining communication and engagement with the audience is vital, even in times of crisis. Offering relevant content and inspiring hope can keep customers connected and loyal to a brand.
- Embrace the power of social media: In the digital age, social media platforms have become vital for marketing success. Understanding the preferences and behaviours of target audiences on these platforms helps businesses optimise their marketing efforts.
In a rapidly evolving world, marketers like Roxana Nicolescu and companies like Wego provide valuable lessons on navigating uncertainties, adapting to change, and leveraging new opportunities. By embracing these key takeaways, businesses can position themselves for success in the post-COVID era and beyond.
Grab your headphones and tune in to our episode on your favorite podcast platform.
You can also watch the full recording on our Youtube account below.