Last week we published the Covid-19 DMMO Continuity Checklist, a practical resource to guide destinations everywhere on their Covid-19 response, and help them towards a sustainable recovery

When compiling the Checklist, in partnership with European Cities Marketing, we looked, as we usually do, beyond the travel and tourism sector to get the big picture. This helped us to assess some of the broader shifts and trends in the economy and society that were already occurring before storm corona hit at the beginning of this year. Sounds interesting, right? However there’s little point about observing these trends without considering what they could mean for us in practical terms, and at TOPOSOPHY we are all about turning insights into practical solutions! We’ve condensed our trend analysis into five areas:
  1. The Place
  2. Citizens’ Expectations
  3. The Industry Approach
  4. Contextual Challenges, and finally what all this means for...
  5. The Purpose and Vision of DMMOs
Let’s take a closer look at some of these trends and their implications:


If you’ve been to a busy supermarket in recent weeks, you’ll know about the feeling of being channeled into small spaces among large numbers of people. How did that make you feel? It’s likely we’ll be feeling the same way once we’re all using our streets, squares, malls and stations again. In the past, the public rarely paid much attention to the way public spaces were designed and used, but this is likely to evoke strong emotions among residents and visitors in the future.

This will spur new demand for flexible and imaginative placemaking for public spaces, and also vacant sites left by the retail sector, since this crisis is likely to further accelerate the decline of physical retail space. Meanwhile, in response to consumers’ wider interest in their health, we think that place marketing will have to take on a much wider focus, focussing on aspects such as air quality, and the health and wellbeing of local people as essential place attributes.


The Covid-19 outbreak has had a major impact on daily life that few of us will ever forget. As our citizens venture nervously out onto the streets again, how will they choose to spend their time and money? While social distancing measures will create some obvious barriers to normal life, we still think people will be determined to enjoy their favourite bars, restaurants and shops though with extra attention paid to cleaning and hygiene. They’re aware of the impact this crisis has had on livelihoods, so spending may be prioritised for supporting small businesses, as well as enjoying self-rewards through ‘micro-experiences’; in particular activities aimed at mental health and relaxation. In Gothenburg they reacted quickly, and creatively with their “För ditt Göteborg” (For Your Gothenburg) campaign.

Meanwhile, consumers have witnessed large companies showing their human side, with unprecedented transparency about the impact on their business, heartfelt messages from management, and rapid switches towards flexible booking and cancellation for customers. While it may hurt the bottom line, this is a change for the better, and a change that is likely to resonate well with consumers, especially digital-savvy, community-conscious Gen Zers.


One of the many paradoxes of the Covid-19 outbreak is that while isolated, worried citizens probably need human contact and reassurance from companies more than ever before, they’re more likely to be dealing with computers. Contactless customer service (e.g. the use of self-scan kiosks, avatars, voice activation, key apps or delivery robots) just took another giant, probably irreversible leap forward.

The events industry -which has always depended on the presence of people- will also quickly adapt to survive. This means an increase in the use of contactless ticketing, near-field communication and technology to allow virtual attendance - particularly for business events as we’ve all suddenly become much more used to remote participation.

Connected to this trend, we expect to see a rapid acceleration in the number of high-grade tours, activities and courses that are offered online. During the lockdown, these became a replacement for travel, but in the future they are likely to be an essential add-on to the trip (before, during or after), to help visitors get more from their journey.  This doesn’t just involve museums; Even clubs representing Berlin’s famous nightlife have recently established the UnitedWeStream platform, whereby streaming live DJ sets and live music they aim to raise funds and preserve the city’s club scene. In the future, attractions and venues that have attracted online visitors are likely to build on this expanded, engaged audience.


While there is a clear need for us to bring our cities back to life, many will rightly ask “what are we really aiming for, through recovery?” The global climate emergency is still an urgent reality. Vulnerable citizens could become even more so in the event of an economic downturn. Competition for public funding will become more intense. The task of DMMOs will be to show that they are meeting the city’s broader interests more than ever before. Only by doing this, can they be confident of putting cities on a stable path to sustainable recovery.


As we observed in the Continuity Checklist, the Covid-19 outbreak has accelerated change in many areas, and the process of transformation of DMMOs will be no exception. Putting residents front and centre of efforts to stimulate support for local businesses, promote civic pride and tell a broader story about the city was a process already well underway across Europe's cities, but Covid-19 has just accelerated that process faster. For example, as our case studies in the Checklist showed, cities from Poznan to Porto have built audiences on social media during the lockdown, and plan to use this captive audience in order to generate support for local businesses as restrictions are gradually lifted. Meanwhile, Marketing Manchester’s “Tourism and Hospitality Hub” and Hamburg Marketing’s platform ‘We Stand Together’ show two examples of organisations that have quickly stepped in to help businesses connect with central government support and also allow businesses to guide each other.

In conclusion, the Covid-19 epidemic is beyond any crisis we’ve had to manage so far, and it has taught city DMMOs and their stakeholders that ‘we’re all in this together’. For this reason, we believe that as people who know and care for their cities, have well-established communications channels and contacts, DMMOs are well placed to be the ‘great facilitator’ in their destinations, supporting their stakeholders to support each other.

For more information on the Checklist you can watch our dedicated webinar with European Cities Marketing
(available here:

What can we do for you

We’re supporting European cities through the coronavirus epidemic and we’re ready to support you too. Some of our Covid-19 recovery services include:
  • Consumer sentiment research
  • Business support guidance
  • Internal assessments and organisational change management
  • Destination supply and demand analysis
  • Place branding strategies
  • Recovery marketing plans
  • Advocacy planning and communications
  • Rapid destination strategy refresh, using sprint methodology
If you would like to know more, you're always welcome to get in contact with us. Just drop us a line at or send us a note through our contact page.





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