ETC: Advisors To Play Key Role In Attracting The "Right Visitor" To Europe

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Every destination has strategies to increase its sheer volume of tourism arrivals, but as Open Jaw heard at a recent event, the European Travel Commission (ETC) has come to the conclusion that tourism is more than just a game of numbers. 

 L-R: Pascal Prinz, Vice-Chair ETC Canada Chapter and Canada Director for Switzerland Tourism;
Miguel Gallego, Head of Marketing and Communications, ETC; and Dana Welch, Chair ETC Canada Chapter and Canada Manager for Tourism Ireland.

Miguel Gallego, Head of Marketing and Communications with the ETC, was in Toronto to share the organization's new vision for promoting Europe as part of its Horizon 2022 strategy, a five-year marketing plan that kicked off in 2018. 

Travel advisors, carriers, tour operators and ETC partners came out to hear the change in direction and what it means when it comes to marketing Europe in Canada. 

ETC members with offices in Canada. L-R: Julia Dywelski, Director Marketing & Sales, German National Tourist Office; Mauro Giacobe, Marketing and Promotion, Italian National Tourist Board; Prinz; Gallego; Welch; and Barbara Couto, Consul for Tourism Affairs, Embassy of Spain in Canada. 

"We are changing the way that we have been marketing Europe so far in reaction to the current trends in the market and the challenges that Europe is facing when it comes to travelling abroad," Gallego told Open Jaw. 

What the ETC realized is that it has been too generic in the way it has been communicating Europe to overseas markets, explained Gallego.

"We have so many different experiences and destinations that in order to be able to fit everyone under the same umbrella, we always ended up with a very generic message," he said. "This was particularly true among long-haul and first time visitors. When they come to Europe, they go to the must-sees, very well-known destinations that probably don't need the support of the ETC. So the question was how the ETC can bring more value to a destination, to the industry and to the local residents."

L-R: Christine Wendland, Manager of Marketing Communications, Lufthansa Group; Dywelski;
and Peter Daniel, Senior Manager, Sales Products & Programs, Lufthansa Group.

The solution, the ETC realized, required a change in its marketing approach, going from basing it on demographics to focusing on psychoanalytics – the interests, passions and behaviours of visitors.

"In a very globalized world where, thanks to the internet and new technology, everyone is so connected, can we really continue defining our markets just based on age or gender or where our consumers live? We believe that a more modern approach is to also look at psychographic profiles," says Gallego.

The ETC has defined four main "passion communities," as Gallego explains, that hold the strongest appeal for visitors to Europe: gastronomy; immersive explorers; city life; and culture.  

According to ETC research, these four passion communities are more likely to go to "off-the-beaten-path" destinations, travel in a sustainable way, travel off-season and revisit their favourite destinations. They are also more loyal to their favourite European destinations and less sensitive to price. 

L-R: Naomi Schwarzberg, Senior Travel Consultant, Peerless; Yonit Grinberg,
Corporate Account Executive, YYZ Travel Group; and Hanja Vujcuf, President, Design Travel.

Canada is in the Top 5 markets for these passion communities, which means that "the ETC, under this new strategy, will continue to be present in the Canadian market and Canada will remain a very important market for us, but not in a generic way -- with a more specific and targeted message," Gallego said. 

Future marketing material through 2022 will feed into growing the market share of these four passion communities that will, in turn, attract this "right visitor" to Europe. 

Advisors will have an important role to play in light of this shift, says Gallego.

"That's why we have the agents here [at the Toronto event]. They can help us reach out to these specific niches of consumers," he said. "The agent plays a very important role in actually pointing the consumer that has specific interests to the right place. Agents are a big intermediary in our work and we believe we need them along with us in order to succeed."

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry

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