Territorial Marketing: Parpaiun.org

25 04 2010

A small skiing area, shared between a few small towns, close to Ligurian Sea but in Cuneo region, a development plan that could bring here investments and more tourists. An area that put as its point of strength the small dimensions, the contact between residents and tourists and the lower prices. An area that wants to grow remaining “natural” as it is, where the difference is made by the people who attends these towns and live them. S. Giacomo di Roburent is the biggest town of this area, but, as appointed by the guys of the Parpaiun Association is the Area their focus point, because a town alone is not enough: together is the power.

The Parpaiun Association is a nice case of how people who live or share interests in a certain area can help its growth using internet as a vehicle of information, helping building a sense of belonging through all the stake holders would they be residents, second houses owners or tourists. Throughout this sense they can stimulate information sharing and User Generates Contents, increasing the brand knowledge.

I’ve been in S. Giacomo di Roburent in March, there was still a lot of snow (even too much, we couldn’t ski!) and I had time to talk with some shop owners. They were quite upset about the weather because happened more than a few times in the season that was snowing during the week-end, when would have been better to snow in the middle of the week and then be sunny when tourists were coming. Well, everybody knows you can’t have always what you want, but you have to try to get the best out of what you have. You can’t control the weather and that’s what makes having a business in a skiing area a pure bet. You invest money but if for a couple of years the weather is not good enough you might get in trouble. And here comes the need of diversify the offer of a mountain area.

If during the winter you have skiing tourism, you have to find something else for the rest of the year: second houses for elderly could not be enough, considering the low propensity to consume of that segment. Trekking, horse riding, mountain biking and all sorts of natural sports and leisure for families with kids and people of 30-40 year olds.

The Parpaiun Association could help this keeping the same effort they are doing during winter for the summer. Even more, considering how attractive is the winter for skiing compared to the summer. And, who knows, perhaps one day the summer will become the touristic pick of the year.

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Wales Watersports: stimulation of the web 2.0 for tourism

17 11 2009

A small example of how Social Network interaction works and could produce good results for your business or your business area.
I received an e-mail telling me that Wales Watersports was following me on Twitter. All right, let’s see what kind of things does Wales watersport I said to my self: I check their twitter account and I see that they are looking for bloggers. Sorry? Looking for bloggers? Why is that? Ok, let’s check on their website. Mmmhh, is a website for the promotion of watersports and marine leisure tourism in Wales, and the company Wales Watersport International Ltd is appointed by Visit Wales (official website and a previous post) as its official marketing and promotional partner for the watersports and marine leisure tourism sector in Wales. They have a blog (still not very attractive, but I think they’re working on it: change the address –http://waleswatersports.blogspot.com/ – might be a good fist step) and a twitter account and what they’re doing is just look for people that want to share their experience so to create good content on the blog and (generally speaking) on the web. Good web responses, a good presence of an area and the activities offered can stimulate the demand and the touristic flow, operating at first on the brand knowledge (a problem for Wales as I’ve seen in my year here). That’s why actions to reduce the digital divide, to help people use internet and the social network to share their experience on the web are very important. The word of mouth power can be increased at the nth degree (Visit Wales understood that when they’ve opened Wales1000things, about three years ago).




Visit Wales and web 2.0: a public office working on Social Networks

10 11 2009

On Monday the 2nd of November I’ve been to the Third Tourism Summit, organized by the Wales Tourism Alliance. The summit was interesting for many different reasons, but I went there mainly because of the presence of the Visit Wales Digital Marketing Team. I followed from the beginning the experience of VisitBritain (here, in Italian) because it was a nice case of touristic promotion made by a government agency (considering how many problems Italy had with Italia.it), so I took the chance to see who’s behind Visit Wales, how they work and what they do. (here the explanation of what is Visit Wales in relation to the Welsh Assembly Government)

A big difference between VW ad VB is the domain .com. VW has changed his very first page in January 2009 to increase the usability and the content flexibility:
  • In VW.com the touristic offer is segmented in order to orientate the visitor to what he’s looking for: golf, walking, fishing, business, and the generic domain .co.uk. There is a section where people can choose the different languages (I might be offended because Italian is not present!) and great attention is paid to the social networks with links to the facebook, twitter and you tube accounts, even if there are no sharing links in the web-site contents;
  • In VB.com the page shows many countries’ flags re-directing the visitors to their language web-sites.
The first thing that impressed me when I’ve seen it was the simplicity, but is a shame that the same template is not available for the other languages. Perhaps this is because the best part of welsh tourism is from other UK countries (Usa and Canada as well I guess, considering the accurancy of the dedicated web sites). Apart from the German web site all the others are less attractive and structured. Wouldn’t be better to consider also other markets where the potential demand is high? As well the sentence in the middle of the page “For those looking for holidays in Britain, Wales has so much to offersuggests the subordination of the Welsh tourism to the British one.

Answering to the questions I wrote before, behind VW there are three functional departments, one of which includes the Digital Marketing Team. Lead by John Munro and Bethan Richards the orientation to the web2.0 is very high: a Facebook page with more than 47 thousands fans, a Twitter account with more than 15 hundreds followers, and a blog with topics about the holidays. Very important is the attention paid to the network they built: answers to the Twitter followers including documents from summits so to keep the customer loyalty and the web response high, increasing the brand awareness.
In the era of Social Networks the “word of mouth” communication has become “share” (just as the links you can find everywhere to post on FB, twitter, diggs, ect…) being there is important but much more important is to take part.. or share!
(more information on the digital team business framework, the action carried out by VW against the digital divide in the tourism promotion will follow soon)