COVID Recovery Research

NYC & Company, April 2020


Project Overview

The purpose of this project was to gain qualitative research insights to guide our team's product strategy for the design of the 'Welcome Back NYC' tourism campaign that will follow the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Specific Research Goals: 

  • Assess how users are thinking about travel in the aftermath of COVID-19, and get a sense of the general consumer sentiment regarding travel and tourism in NYC

  • Learn how other websites display promotions and special offerings, especially those that offer many different types of promotions


Research Tasks


User Survey - Locals

Objective: Gain a sense of how New Yorkers plan to engage with the city post COVID-19

  • How do locals see themselves exploring the city after COVID-19? Will there be any changes in their exploratory behaviors or will they behave in the way as before the pandemic? ​

  • How do locals anticipate their dining out behaviors will change in the aftermath of the COVID?​

User Survey - Domestic Travelers

Objective: Gain a sense of the American consumer sentiment towards traveling to NYC once the coronavirus outbreak has subsided

  • What are the main concerns for people to come to NYC after COVID-19? 

  • What are the main draws for people to come to NYC after COVID-19?

User Survey - International Travelers

Objective: Gain a sense of the international consumer sentiment towards traveling to NYC once the coronavirus outbreak has subsided

  • What are the main concerns for people to come to NYC after COVID-19? 

  • What are the main draws for people to come to NYC after COVID-19?

Comparative Analysis

Objective: Gather screenshots from various e-commerce websites that sell a variety of products or experiences

  • How are other organizations are displaying promotional items for sale on their websites during this global pandemic?

User Survey Methodology

Recruitment + Survey Design

We used to recruit participants for our three separate user groups and and administer the qualitative surveys. The majority of survey questions were in the form of a written response, and the participants had to type their answers. Two questions were Likert style survey questions, where participants were asked to choose one response from a selection of options.

Response Analysis

The participant responses are in the form of qualitative data, which I organized in a google sheet. I then coded the responses by creating a tally of each concept that came up.  I sorted these concepts by the number of times they were mentioned to determine the most prevalent themes mentioned by the participants.


User Survey Results

The user surveys were analyzed by user group: local, domestic, or international.  Three key themes are provided for each of the user groups. A more detailed PDF of results is linked for each user group.



Key Themes:

(1) Social reconnection, (2) Outdoor enthusiasm , (3) Yearning for bars and restaurants


  • Loss of Income:

    • 60% of participants reported they or their spouse have lost income due to COVID

    • 33% of participants reported they would “spend the same amount” on both dining and on events + activities after COVID

  • Dining:

    • ​40% estimated their spending habits on dining out would be reduced

  • Events + Activities: 

    • 50% estimated their spending habits on events and activities would be reduced

    • Would like to see museums offer free or discounted rates to locals

An interesting concept was the increased drive and inspiration to do things one does not usually do in a post COVID-19 world because the individual has experienced a change in perspective after being cooped up for so long. This might mean the new desire to attend live music shows when that was not a previously common behavior.  Even going to visit iconic NYC landmarks that locals (even native New Yorkers) had not previously taken the time to explore. One participant stated he has lived in NYC his whole life and has never been to Central Park - he plans to change that post COVID-19.

“As long as sanitary precautions are in place and a plan is in place to mitigate further outbreaks, or if there is a vaccine/medicine, then I would be fine to visit NYC. I would be excited to visit NYC, for its many cultural aspects and to see how the people of NYC come together and unite after COVID-19.”

Male, 37, Germany


“We were planning to go to New York City in August, but we will most likely not be going there until next Spring at least. We want to avoid larger cities for a while. We love doing city trips, but we do not want to risk getting sick in larger populated areas.”

Male, 31, Maryland

Image by Jon Tyson

End Result

The results of the user surveys indicated we needed to clearly show the steps the city is taking to sanitize and prevent the further spread of COVID. From this finding we designed a coronavirius info page that holds this type of information.  

A second user need was to know how the NYC Tourism and Hospitality is responding, so travelers and locals alike could know when it is safe to resume activities in the city. We designed a page where users could find this information, as well as support NYC businesses because that was a highly prevalent sentiment from the surveys as well. This is the "Show NYC Your Love" experience. 


View Live 

Coronavirus Information and Resources

It was clear from the domestic and international traveler responses that they needed to see the steps the city is taking to combat COVID in order to feel safe traveling to NYC. We created this landing page of safety concern resources to address this user need.

"Show NYC Your Love" - Support NYC

This experience was developed as a way for our users to experience NYC when they are not able to travel there, and a way for our local users to stay to connected to the city while many things are still closed due to COVID.


Experience Screenshots


NYCgo Homepage

At the top of the homepage we added a bright yellow link to COVID Info and Resources.


Site Navigation 

Added the "Important Updates" subcategory within "The City' tab in the global navigation. This way users could easily find COVID related info that are seeking.


COVID Info and Resources + Virtual NYC


Health & Safety Resources


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