Room to experiment: Are European hotels favouring value over volume?

by | Dec 13, 2018 | News

European Travel Commission (ETC) has announced a change in its marketing strategy in 2019. An increasing number of European cities have begun to struggle with overtourism.

As the enduring charm of the old continent continues to attract tourists from all over the world, Europe’s traditionally strong hospitality market has a unique advantage: some room for experimentation. A sure sign of this trend is the European Travel Commission (ETC) announcing it will change its marketing strategy in 2019.

Quality over quantity

The body, which is responsible for promoting all that the continent has to offer visitors, will shift its focus and adapt a value-based approach rather than placing a more traditional emphasis on increasing the number of visitors to its cities and other attractions. As part of this change, there stands to be a shift in Europe from market segmentation that is primarily based on demographics, to instead focusing on the behaviors, interests, and attitudes to the hordes of guests who will without question be coming in the next 12 months. Essentially, the ETC no longer plans to organize its promotional efforts based solely around attracting certain target audiences. This may seem counterintuitive to tourism support efforts, and, to be certain, through a more traditional lens, it is.

Solution to overtourism?

The fact is, however, that an increasing number of European cities have begun to grapple with overtourism. This is, of course, a good problem to have for those in the hospitality business, and the region is addressing it by building plans to disperse crowds in order to improve quality of life for permanent residents of its popular cities. Also of note is a decision by the ETC to shift away from talking about specific places within its marketing efforts. What this will look like logistically is that the conversation will not just be about Europe, but it will instead focus on multiple destinations around the continent, ideally inspiring tourists to visit lesser-known cities and attractions that they might not have otherwise considered. “Now, instead of presenting Europe as a sum of destinations, the new brand Europe will promote the continent as a sum of passionate experiences in multiple destinations around the continent,” the ETC said in its strategy summary. To provide a little context, the ETC includes members from 32 national tourism organizations, with notable exceptions that include the United Kingdom and France.

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