You may or may not agree when we write that for a long time Croatia, as far as tourism is concerned, has existed below the limit of its objective maximum. We simply have not reached our full qualitative potential for decades.
The focus was on the numbers of overnight stays instead of spending per tourist and the desire to get the most out of each tourist. No, not in the sense of "robbing" him, but to justify the monetary value he gives us with the value of the service provided, the designed product and the aggregation of those small grains of energy and respect that mean experience and sometimes even take us out of comfort zone to him any more comfortable and better than ever.
There is no magic wand that will lead us to the status of an extremely pleasant, tradition and style branded boutique destination, except for ourselves and our work, but if there is one magic word that will get us there faster, then it is - networking.
Why networking? Because tourism and destinations are people. And no man is an island unto himself; it was written as early as 1624 by the English poet John Donne. To achieve the full effect of what we do, it is essential that we offer it to the right person, at the right time and in the right format of the designed product. We simply cannot do this in the real, physical world without the assistance of other participants in tourism. Those who will recommend our products and services or carefully import them into their own experience and, generally speaking, make them available. All this for the benefit of yourself, us, and above all - the guest.
Analogous to marketing 4P, that's why I come up with a tourist model that leaves the product in the center but adds four new factors, which gives us 5P - product, personalization, recommendations, proactivity and process.
Take the example of a villa owner in the Dalmatian hinterland or central Istria. In order for his guest to feel fulfilled in the seven days of his stay and as if he really experienced the place he is coming to, he needs some content, right? Ideally, authentic content which contains elements of local and traditional, back-to-back rush of some monotonous entertainment formats more reminiscent of Miami Beach than the Mediterranean.
In addition to content, one of the most pronounced currencies of trading for guest satisfaction is personalization - moments in which he realizes that he chooses something at least to some extent in accordance with his interests, characteristics and identity. But when we pair it with another strong experiential component - the name “Feel like a local”, we are closer to the previously mentioned magic of networking.
Because when the guest knows that the tourist product is part of the local culture, that local people have heard about it before and that they can guarantee that it is high quality, and in addition to its characteristics it represents what it can be identified with, it is already a good part of filled.
But for all this to make sense, more is also needed proactivity which will offer our guests experiences such as local tours of adventure guides around Zrmanja, wine tastings in the vicinity of Split, tours of family farms around Motovun and more. Finally, the period of restructuring and repositioning of Croatian tourism after the corona crisis will force us to think about the quality of it and our role in a different way, trying to always take it a step further, or even take a serious step forward in what we do.
There are additional motivations for this - such as the sales commission model.
In addition, why not offer guests a discount in the same amount as a benefit, or the fact that we have a prepared and standardized offer in the palm of our hand from which they can choose what they like and suits their person? This is not just about contributing top review of our facility, our product, we are already creating the foundations for guest loyalty which we really need in the coming years!
And when it comes to the standardized offer, that means the fifth component of the upper 5P - process. In order to be able to offer the guest the authentic value he wants at all, we need to have information about the same kind of offer; free dates, dates, prices, features of services, locations where they take place, and above all - sufficient breadth and optimal heterogeneity of services.
Services that are special enough and well enough designed that they can be operationally realized within 12 or 24 hours. When a guest is looking for a service today for tomorrow, and this is often the case, the packaging of the finished product is very important, because there is simply no time to improvise and combine a lot of factors to form a new product.
We at Authland.com, with the desire to locally distribute and connect local authentic experiences of food, drink, culture and people to the eco-system, are working on just such shifts. We try to enable accommodation facilities of all types and shapes to easily find wineries, family farms, boutique travel agencies, local producers of cheese, oil and prosciutto, etc. and connect their guests with them, all at a subsidized price.
It is time to connect and start thinking about how to most effectively bring immediate benefits to your guest but long-term benefits to your destination, yourself and colleagues from the Croatian tourism sector.
Author: Josip Zurak, Authland