Updated September 21
- In Tennessee, there are currently 184,409 confirmed COVID-19 infections, and 2,233 have resulted in the loss of life from the virus.
- The state of Tennessee is currently under a state of emergency per Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 59 through September 30. This executive order:
- Allows for restaurants and retail locations to operate at full capacity with social distancing
- Limits all gatherings to groups of less than 50 where social distancing can not be achieved
- Urges people to wear face coverings when in public
Williamson County Impact
- In Williamson County, there have been 5,089 confirmed COVID-19 infections, 379 of which are currently active and 31 have resulted in the loss of life from the virus.
Local Travel & Meeting Industry Resources
- The state of Tennessee’s roadmap to the reopening of businesses in 89 of the state’s 95 counties, called the Tennessee Pledge.
- Visit Franklin conducted research on the Williamson County local sentiment regarding the wearing of masks. Click here to view those results.
- Mask signage: if you need a sign for your business saying masks are required in your business a printer-friendly one can be downloaded here.
- The Tennessee Business Relief Program will direct approximately $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds through the Department of Revenue directly to small businesses that qualify.
- Job openings for those needing to source open positions and those on the job hunt in the Middle Tennessee area can be found on Williamson Inc’s job postings page.
- Williamson Inc. has a COVID-19 page providing resources for business financial relief, applications for SBA Disaster Loans, and to report how your business has been impacted.
- The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has set up a resource page for helping business owners navigate the economic impacts of COVID-19. It has information for business owners that need assistance with the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, Unemployment claims, and others.
- Recursos e Información en Español Sobre COVID-19
National Travel & Meeting Industry Resources
- The U.S. Travel Association maintains national status updates on COVID-19 and travel industry talking points and tool kit.
- Destinations International has a COVID-19 resource page providing joint messaging from the leaders of the meetings and event industry.
- Destinations International is holding regular webinars and this is the presentation from their most recent update, including planning strategies for destinations over the next two-three business quarters, a national hotel industry outlook, and weekly national traveler sentiment surveys conducted by Longwoods International. Click here to view the most recent survey results.
- Meetings Mean Business maintains meetings industry updates and message points on its website and is actively issuing media and public messages about the importance of fact-based reporting and messaging.
- Professional Convention Management Association is providing continual COVID-19 updates and risk management resources.
- CDC Recommendations for Prevention of COVID-19 Spread in Communities.
Recommendations on Marketing & Advertising to Visitors
Stay the course with your current domestic sales and marketing efforts, with messaging still focused more on future planning and sensitivity to the current directives around social distancing statewide and Williamson County’s mask recommendations. Staying top of mind to future visitors – especially those in the regional drive market – will help the local hospitality industry recover more quickly when the current situation changes and meeting and event planners are ready to begin booking Business again.
Visit Franklin’s marketing and advertising plans to both locals and visitors will proceed in three phases. Visit Franklin’s COVID-19 recovery marketing plan was developed based on research conducted by the US Travel Association and Longwoods International to measure traveler sentiment across the nation, as well as incorporating Visit Franklin’s previous research and will continue to evolve as further research comes in.
Visit Franklin’s marketing will expand in three phases, beginning immediately with phase one and a very local focus within Williamson County. It encourages people to support the area shops, restaurants, and attractions, as well as encouraging them to consider staying in local hotels and creating their own vacations here locally.
It will then evolve into phase two, expanding to drive market destinations and highlighting Williamson County as a place to “relax.” That will highlight safe ways to escape into nature and experience local attractions. Research strongly indicates that travelers feel more comfortable driving for a vacation rather than flying in the coming months, so in phase two Visit Franklin will resume outreach to cities in a 3-5 hour drive radius we have previously seen a number of travelers from and will expand those efforts into new drive markets as well.
Finally, when the time is right, we will move into phase three and back to a state of “normal,” where we are marketing and advertising nationally again.
When Communicating With Potential Visitors
It is important to direct visitors to the resources listed above and encourage them to abide by the guidance in the Governor’s executive order and to wear a mask when out in public.
Remind visitors some non-essential businesses are still closed and that restaurants and open retail locations may have altered service options. It is best to check their websites and social media outlets for individual essential businesses and restaurants for amended operating hours and pick up procedures. It is also imperative to remind travelers of the importance to take continual proactive measures:
- Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cover nose and mouth using bent elbow when coughing and sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Wear a mask when in public and visiting any business or restaurant.