Modern consumers of luxury today want unique experiences and destinations that provide authentic and rich nature, culture and history. It is precisely the unique experiences of the backbone and the differentiation of the brand Stories, Croatian Unique Hotels - a common hotel brand of the Group of Unique Luxury Hotels at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which was presented at the beginning of 2017.
Like everything in this year's tourism, there have been significant changes in the luxury hotel segment. A survey conducted among members of the Group of Unique Luxury Hotels of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce showed that the structure of guests in this segment of tourism has changed significantly.
The Germans replaced the Americans in luxury accommodation
Before the advent of coronavirus, the US was the priority market for most respondents, and now it is Germany. It is interesting that we are increasingly visited by guests who before the pandemic spent their annual at exotic long haul destinations such as the Bahamas and the Seychelles, and that a large number of them have announced a return visit to Croatia.
"Currently, most of our guests come from the German-speaking area and from Croatia, and there is a noticeable increase in arrivals from Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, etc. Most of them are guests who come by car, and a number come by plane. , often on a private flight. Our experiences with them are extremely positive and in most cases they are guests who visited us for the first time, looking for an alternative to long haul destinations they otherwise visited. Interestingly, many have noticed how much easier it is to choose a closer destination, and many of them have announced a revisit, given that we have met their expectations in terms of a high degree of privacy, quality of accommodation and services.", She pointed out Sandra Jurić, sales and marketing director at the Meneghetti Hotel, which is a member of the Stories group, Croatian Unique Hotels.
Tomislav Milinović, the director of the Calvados Club travel agency also notices a change in emitting markets. "Otherwise, our main markets are the USA, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Australia. Other markets are below 5 percent of total turnover, and the EU market is negligible for us. However, agencies and clients from the European market, mostly from Germany and Scandinavia, are now contacting us. However, they are really only looking for luxury accommodation like villas, apartments in a luxury hotel or yacht", Explained Milinović.
Among the respondents, online advertising dominates in attracting guests, whether it is social networks, Google advertising or Booking.com, and to a lesser extent fairs.
When it comes to advertising on social networks, the markets of greatest interest to all are the United Kingdom, Austria and Germany, followed by Slovenia and other European countries.
"We have undertaken a number of additional marketing campaigns in collaboration with long-standing partners, agencies, DMCs, the media and on social media, and the results are tangible. Booking has become exclusively short-term and therefore very unpredictable, but it is much more intense than we expected. There are obvious oscillations that show a strong and immediate reaction of guests to any change in the situation in Croatia or surrounding countries. The influence of the media or policy changes of individual governments change the picture from day to day", Said Jurić.
Half of the participants in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce survey recorded a shortening of the number of overnight stays since the beginning of the corona crisis, while a smaller number recorded an increase or equal duration of guests' stay. Most of the respondents introduced benefits and additional facilities in the form of discounts, and to a lesser extent the offer of gastronomic packages, boat tours and sports facilities. All emphasize the need to intensify marketing activities in traditionally strong markets that are currently in decline, but also in all markets from which it is possible to visit Croatia by car.
"We continue with strong marketing activities in the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil because once lost markets are harder to regain than to gain new ones. Therefore, I appeal to the system of tourist boards not to redirect marketing funds intended for promotion in overseas markets. On the contrary, we need to think about the future, because all this will pass one day, and we must be ready for it", Concludes Milinović.
Nenad Nizić: Our goal is to position ourselves on the international market through top service
By the way, HGK through the brand Stories, Croatian Unique Hotels promotes small luxury hotels that are associated in the Group of unique luxury hotels HGK.
"Our goal is to position ourselves on the international market through top service, unique offer and a special gourmet experience. The crisis we are all going through shows new trends, but reaffirms that the product is the most important and after this crisis our guests will be even more looking for small hotels with the most authentic and personal experience, on which Stories hotels base and develop their offer", He emphasized Nenad Nizic, President of the Group of Unique Luxury Hotels of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce
Cover photo: San Rocco - Boutique Hotel