Loka Diaries is a new series where our team can share their thoughts and make sense of what’s going on. This week, Rachael Lum, Content and Marketing Lead of LokaLocal, shares what it’s been like for the team during the Movement Control Order in Malaysia.
It’s been almost a month since the start of the Movement Control Order in Malaysia, and I’ve been busier than ever. Some of my friends think it’s ironic, considering how badly hit tourism is across the globe.
‘Doesn’t that mean you have nothing much to do?’ they’d ask.
It was far from it. In the weeks leading up to MCO, our team was busy setting up our content marketing arm. As Malaysians began retreating to their homes, we were busy working out how we were going to survive for the next few months if practically no one was going to travel. Between cancelling bookings, managing costs, and working on our alternative revenue channels, we barely had time to breathe.
During this time, we watched the travel ecosystem shrink at an alarming rate. Some companies have gone dormant; some are waiting for the comeback; some are cutting costs. For a start-up like ourselves, it wasn’t an option to stop, even if our bread and butter depends on tourism.
“After all, what’s more human than the fight for survival?”– Tokyo, Money Heist
So What Has LokaLocal Been Up To?
Another question I often get is ‘So what has LokaLocal been up to?’
Although I come from an advertising background where working with limitations is the norm, this is one of the strangest things I have ever had to do in my line of work: promote travel in a time when no one can.
I have to give it to my crazy team mates. They have been wonderful, buckling down when they know we have to work twice as hard to get through this difficult period. After countless calls and coordination throughout the month, we decided to focus on 3 things during this Movement Control Order: Marketing arm, Campaign for the Comeback, Online Experiences.
# 1 Marketing arm: visual storytelling through video production
LokaLocal has a marketing arm called MY 360 Playbook. It’s a travel, lifestyle and food platform that has seen high engagement from our growing audience. Within the first 28 days, we were able to hit 1 million reach without boosting (it wasn’t easy)!
One of the reasons behind the conception of MY 360 Playbook is because we realise that there is a lot more groundwork that needed to be done to stimulate interest for tourism in Malaysia, beyond the typical tourist guidebook.
So far, we’ve been promoting local eateries and destinations like Bukit Taisho in Negeri Sembilan. We’ve also been able to help businesses tell their brand story and boost their social presence through videos and articles.
If you have a business to advertise, drop us a message at email@example.com.
# 2 Campaign for the comeback: raising awareness for Malaysia
We’ve recently launched our next campaign, which is Homesick For Malaysia. The aim is simple: it is to inspire people to visit Malaysia at a later date. As part of our campaign, we are sharing stories about her places and people.
We’re working on our social presence on multiple platforms to inform, inspire and entertain people. And we aim to encourage people to support our locals, whether it is during MCO or beyond this crisis.
If you have beautiful photos of Malaysia that you have captured in the past, you can post them on Instagram with #HomesickForMalaysia, so that both local and international travellers who are still bound at home today, can be motivated to explore Malaysia one day.
We cannot ask people to travel now. But we can’t sit back and do nothing. What we can do is prepare for better days, and that starts now.
Check out the Homesick For Malaysia campaign
# 3 Online Experiences
We have been keeping in touch with our local experts, and it’s no surprise that everyone is affected. Some have even completely lost their revenue stream, such as those from villages or indigenous communities.
Another initiative we have launched is our Online Experiences, so that people can experience Malaysia via online classes and webinars.
I won’t be able to list them all here, but here are a few examples of what to expect. You can learn to cook cuisines like nasi lemak, Indian meals, Vietnamese spring rolls, Melaka Nyonya kuih and more. You could learn how to play the kalimba or ukelele. You could get a personal health programme in an Ayurveda session, or visit Kampung Baru virtually.
If you would like to support these locals, do check out LokaLocal Online Experiences.
We are still doing what we can to move forward
We know travel will take a while to warm back up. We know that it’s going to be a bumpy ride, not just for us but for everyone. Rest assured, we are still doing what we can to move forward.
To any and all businesses affected by this pandemic and MCO. I know it’s not easy, but there will be an end to the tunnel. Let’s pivot, plan and persevere. Let’s not forget to take care of ourselves. We’ll come out from this stronger.