The end of tourism as we know it. That’s the tagline for Copenhagen’s 4 year strategic plan regarding tourism and destination marketing. To not look at tourists as tourists anymore, but to respect them like they are temporary residents. A different approach. As Wonderful Copenhagen writes, the current traveler isn’t interested in glossy advertisements and recommendations by a travel agency but wants to bring home a personal experience that is based on his or her interests, relations and, there we have it again: authenticity. They aim for one thing in their new strategy: “Localhood for Everyone”.
5 Key Pillars
- Shareability is King
- Once Attracted, Twice Valued
- Tomorrow’s Business Today
- Co-Innovation at Heart
- People-based Growth
Shareability is King
Copenhagen aims to create a destination, “where locals and visitors not only co-exist, but interact around shared experiences of localhood.” (Wonderful Copenhagen, 2016). These experiences should be ‘shareable’, which means Copenhagen is going to share relevant data with partners so they can optimize their services and products for the new ‘temporary locals’. A smart move if you ask me: both the city and the brands within the city benefit from this.
Besides creating intelligent businesses and building strong partnerships, Wonderful Copenhagen intends to work together with the right people (probably influencers) to spread the word and share experiences. The goal is to let travelers and locals alike interact with the brand’s message. I think that, by working together with influencers and setting up the right partnerships, Wonderful Copenhagen is taking a great first step.
Photos from Wonderful Copenhagen
Once Attracted, Twice Valued
“We identify the weak points of our destination and its products, remove these roadblocks and generate more value from the visitors already attracted.”
Through the development of relevant experiences and products, based on consumer insights, Wonderful Copenhagen tries to create an easier pathway to purchase for travelers. They look at their customers, identify barriers and then figure out a way to get rid of those. It shouldn’t be hard for a traveler to make a decision: it should be effortless. Easy. A no-brainer. This, combined with the idea to set up initiatives for increased customer loyalty should then lead to longer stays and more revisits.
Tomorrow's Business Today
“We need to increase familiarity with our destination, ensure direct air accessibility and improve the availability of relevant products and experiences.”
The travel industry is on the rise. Tourism as an industry seems to be growing in all destinations. Cities can highly benefit from this if they manage to not only attract travelers, but also know how to serve them a great experience. Because a one-time-visitor that’s not satisfied won’t bring in new visitors tomorrow. In order to satisfy these new travelers (more and more coming from Asia!), it’s important to host a wide variety of businesses and brands within the city. Wonderful Copenhagen tries to support brands and businesses that have the biggest chance in being relevant and attractive to travelers over a longer period of time. In attempt to beat other global brand destinations.
Co-Innovation at Heart
One of the most interesting things, to me, said in Wonderful Copenhagen’s strategy is that “in today’s fast-paced world of change and transition, digital revolution and consumer empowerment, the big fish no longer eat the small: instead, the fast fish eat the slow.” With this knowledge in mind Wonderful Copenhagen wants to enhance existing and new relationships and networks. How? By setting up a platform for co-innovation where they try to come up with solutions in collaboration with their partners. And by crowdsourcing ideas from a variety of partners. Success is then measured by the amount of ideas that are actually being realized.
This last thing is interesting to me. Brands often struggle with ‘how to measure our results’. I think this concept of measuring the ideas-that-have-been-realized is a tremendous metric that I’d love to start using myself. Of course you’d have to determine beforehand what a good number would be, and why that’d be a good number. But it does sound like an interesting thing to test out.
Regarding co-innovation, I did expect a little more information from Wonderful Copenhagen in their strategy. Are they going to include small business owners? Foreigners? “Normal” locals? What’s the idea? This unfortunately isn’t explained in their strategy. However, they do mention the creation of a ‘corps of trendspotters’, which will exist out of locals and super-travelers. This small team will then keep Wonderful Copenhagen informed about trends and such. That’s a cool idea. They’re sort of like an explore-team for the brand. Which is something every brand should have really.
If you are the owner or manager of a hotel, hostel, restaurant, café or any other business that has to do with destination marketing, here’s an idea for you: recruit a few Millennials and ask them to report monthly back to you about what has been happening within their network regarding cool new initiatives, trends and buzz-words. You can reward them by simply giving a free meal, free drinks or something alike. Recruitment is easy: go onto social media, set up an advertisement for this ‘position’, put in €10 or $10, and off you go.
This last part of Wonderful Copenhagen’s destination marketing strategy emphasizes the importance of interactions between locals and travelers. They don’t just look at the traveler’s perspective but also at the sentiments of the locals regarding visitors. I think this is something many travel brands completely forget to do, while it’s ever so important. If your locals don’t have a positive attitude regarding travelers, then how will travelers experience those interactions with the community that they value so much?
Wonderful Copenhagen mentions how they want both locals and visitors to become active advocates of their city. Locals need to see the value travelers whereas the travelers need to be given the opportunity to integrate in ‘a unique local experience’.
- Create an easy path-of-purchase: remove any barriers a traveler might have regarding visiting your destination.
- Discover these barriers by doing customer research and creating buyer personas. If you don’t know how to do this, check out my 100% free guide. I made this for restaurants and cafés but it’s equally useful for hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts and so on. Customer insight is key to a strong destination marketing plan.
- Boost experiences that create familiarity with your destination.
- Create your very own ‘corps-of-trendspotters’. Best thing is to have these trendspotters to be representatives of your own target audience. So if you want to welcome families in your business, then try to create a team of both parents, grandparents and maybe young children. If you are focused on Millennials, then have some of them on your team. Same goes for seniors and even younger generations (Generation Z is on the rise!).
- Don’t just look at the traveler’s perspective. Take locals into account. Involve them in your business and see how you can turn them into brand and destination advocates. This is definitely something you can't forget while working on your destination marketing strategy.
There is a lot you can do regarding your strategy to promote your destination. I think it’s super helpful for a small brand to look at Destination Marketing Organizations to come up with new ideas. Look at those ‘big fish’ and then be the ‘small, fast fish’ yourself. Turn big-budget-ideas performed by destination brands like Singapore or NYC into smaller versions that you can execute yourself. And then, think about the points mentioned here under ‘take-away’ and use these things to optimize your ideas. Good luck!
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