April 30, 2020 – Should we be promoting tourism at this time of crisis? An alternative view from Katherine Kurelja, who joins the TCN writing team. Welcome, Number 150!
Are you dreaming of a holiday right now? Who isn’t! But, with all the uncertainty are you actually planning anything? Didn’t think so. And this applies even to those with the means and the travel itch. A friend of mine in the US getting married in the fall cannot even be bothered to think about a honeymoon right now. Listen up, tourist industry! Travel is the last thing most people are spending time truly thinking about for obvious reasons. Furthermore, many even feel like it’s torture to be taunted by your beautiful landscapes, gorgeous food and relaxed and tanned people.
It pains me to see Croatia, as well as distinct regions and towns in Croatia, putting so much effort and money into countless videos and websites sharing love “from a distance” (only to compete with the thousands already out there for every other well-known tourist destination). This type of content creates zero emotional connection with your previous visitors and certainly does little if nothing to attract new ones.
Enough criticism. Here’s what to do instead to make people think Croatia when they are ready and able to travel.
Focus on building brand
Stjepan Hauser with his recent concert from Pula arena did wonders to help brand Croatia as a beautiful, hopeful and healthy destination. Read the comments on YouTube and one can see what positive vibes the concert brought to over half a million viewers from around the world. Key takeaway – work those connections and look to those outside of tourism to promote Croatia. These brand ambassadors could be from many areas including business or even healthcare.
Lead through innovative ideas
Croatia has absolutely no shortage of people with creative and innovative ideas. According to a recent EY survey 70% of brand is client experience. Think of what you can do to show your visitors past and present that you understand them and their needs.
One move that impressed me was that of Zoran Pejovic and Maslina Resort. They are building Croatia’s attractive brand as a leading post-lockdown destination through strategic thinking. Their vision in creating a new Health and Safety Leader role for their resort shows a focus on their future client’s experience and more importantly, their emotional needs.
Think outside the box and make it personal
So much of the content that is currently being created is quite generic. Know who your desired guests are (hint: it’s not everyone) and do research on where they are mentally right now. Croatia attracts tons of tourist families. Engage them and provide them helpful content. Millions are homeschooling their children right now. Consider providing parents some fun activities to do with their kids (of different ages) that reflect Croatia’s culture. Share a tutorial on how to play briškule, share meaningful stories about (or with) our famous athletes and not about their hometowns. Target retirees who have the means to travel and want to live their lives to the fullest because of this pandemic. Tell them about how safe and careful Croatia has been during this crisis, but do so creatively. The bottom line is create a connection on their terms, not yours.
Creating a lasting connection
To make a lasting mark with your future guests it comes down to showing empathy and humanity. Entertain them, make their life easier right now, make them know you care not through platitudes, but through service. Be there for them and when they are ready, they will be there for you.
Katherine Kurelja is a brand and marketing expert and Co-Founder of Back Bay Agency. For more ideas on how to create a lasting connection with your future guests, contact Katherine at [email protected].
The views reflected in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of TCN.
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