As I have repeated many times, there are currently too many assumptions and questions, and too few answers about the current development of the coronavirus, so it is very difficult to plan and predict anything because the situation changes from day to day.
But one thing is for sure. Tourism has been hit hard this time, and currently realistic predictions are that we can expect the start of recovery only in the spring of 2021, and not of course in the same numbers as before, and the recovery itself will take the next 2-3 years. Also, only when a vaccine / cure is found can we realistically expect a real recovery, because then that psychological and safety barrier, ie the travel brake, will be removed.
When we talk about this tourist year, we can hardly be too optimistic and expect a lot of traffic, but we still have to hope, plan and be ready. We have to be realistic, but also optimistic. There is no surrender, the situation is as it is and we must get the most out of it. This season the focus will be on to a domestic guest as well as weekend trips.
As I pointed out earlier, the focus will be on the domestic guest. Although one should be aware of a couple of factors that currently affect the domestic guest. Many people have lost their jobs or have their salaries reduced, as well as the fact that a good proportion of private sector employees are currently forced to take annual leave. Also, there will be no annual leave in the private sector, at least not on a larger scale, because when all measures are removed and the economy is launched, there will be a struggle to save and recover companies.
That is why it is not realistic to expect, even ask, entrepreneurs to provide someone with a vacation after a "month" of work. There will also be a fear of higher spending, as in the last financial crisis, which is coming to us again. But again, that doesn’t mean no one will travel, but we need to be aware that it won’t go as usual.
Also, the day after the coronavirus, the most important thing will be to activate the domestic economy as soon as possible, in order to save companies from collapse, and all countries will communicate: buy and travel locally. So we can hardly expect more tourists from the countries around us. Of course, the question is also what the situation with the coronavirus will be with them and how open the borders will be.
So, we have to focus on the domestic guest. It is positive that people will finally want to go out of their homes, because they are tired of self-isolation, but again due to the above facts (vacation and budget) the focus will be on and weekend trips.
Zagreb as the capital city with the most people and the economic center
As always, we can expect the most from the inhabitants of Zagreb, as a target market because it is our capital. Both because of the largest population and the largest financial power.
And there is a great opportunity for continental destinations as well.
The Zagreb Ring, Karlovac County, Lika, Slavonia, Gorski Kotar, the interior of Istria - this is an opportunity to jump out and position yourself.
However, not only Zagreb as the primary market, all residents from larger cities (Split, Rijeka…) will want to go to nature, active vacation and explore, while a good part will avoid larger centers, ie places where a lot of people gather in the same place. .
Of course, when we talk about tourist "underdeveloped" destinations, the challenge is to secure a budget for promotion, let alone now, but simply without investment and promotion there is no success. Now more than ever, because those are the destinations that will be in focus. So, now is the opportunity to accelerate development and to position yourself further.
Throughout the story, the key role of tourist boards is to gather people, make ready-made tourist products and do promotion, both paid and by communication through their channels. That is the meaning of tourist boards anyway. To develop and promote tour. destination, generates new tourism products and leads the strategic process of long-term development.
Holiday houses with pool
As I mentioned above, people will avoid places where a lot of people gather in one place for a while. Purely out of fear and precaution, this is why holiday homes / villas with pools are ideal places to relax.
The motive for coming is not accommodation, but destination
As usual, the motive for coming is not accommodation, but a tourist destination.
And that’s why when it comes to promotion and communication, it’s important to promote content, tourism products. Why should I come to, say, Ivanić Grad. What should I do all weekend or one in Ivanić Grad? This is the main question we have to ask ourselves because it creates a motive for us to come.
That is why the synergy of everyone in the destination is needed. Join forces and make a good tourist story. For example, if someone is selling primarily rural accommodation, offer me options of what I can do if I come to you. Highlight your partners who offer a variety of experiences. From a wine tasting room, restaurant, cooking workshop, bike rental, etc. možete you can put together interesting stories yourself, let alone if you all come together.
Figuratively - show me the groceries, and I will cook my own lunch
Give me groceries for lunch, and I’ll choose how I cook it for myself. Will I add more or less salt, or cook it more or less. But give me as many ingredients as possible, both ready-made and various options.
That is why the synergy of everyone at the destination is crucial. We often fall into the trap because we look at ourselves. No one can be alone, no matter how big and powerful he is. One does not make a destination. So, you don't have to do everything yourself, on the contrary, find partners so that everyone can profit, so that tourist spending goes down to as many local entrepreneurs as possible. Some provide accommodation, others family farms for cooking, sewing, drawing workshops…. the third tells a wine story, the fourth provides bike rental, the fifth is a tour guide, and who recommends a visit to the interpretation center after the tour. And so the story spreads. If we want to learn deeper into the story we need to know what and to whom we are offering. Each profile of tourists is different and has different motives for coming. Those who like active holidays are also looking for such facilities, while those who prefer gastro tourism are looking for an autochthonous and quality eno gastronomic offer. If we do not have it in the destination, we cannot expect such guests either.
According to the offer, we also create a story about the destination, arrange accommodation, define the price, target such guests and use the communication channels where they are located. If we target the IT sector, where we offer them an "office in nature", ie to move the office to a new location for a few days, then we must have a strong internet connection, and we will target them through media channels such as Netokracija.hr, Bug.hr, ICTbusiness.info etc… Also, we need to think about what will work after work in the destination. Can we organize some team activities for them, such as paintball, zipline or rafting. I trivialize, but it’s clear to you in which direction you need to think.
Every crisis is also an opportunity
Anyway, now is the time to plan, round up and define tourism products, prepare promotional campaigns and keep them on stand by for the day after the crown, when the market opens. Then it will be crucial to start communicating right away, not to waste time on preparation Be prepared. Weekend travel will be in demand, don’t wait and whine, get moving and seize the opportunity.
It sells me a story and an experience, not accommodation.
EDIT: I hope it is clear to everyone, that they will also need to lower and adjust prices, according to the whole situation. And not just accommodation, but the whole destination.
Cover photo: Varaždin County Tourist Board