The Tirol region is one of the premier ski regions in the world but currently face challenges through demographic change, mobility and digitization. In today’s society, the Alpine regions need to band together to overcome these challenges and promote the Alps as an all-year-round destination.
Josef Margreiter, Managing Director, Tirol Werbung Innsbruck, shares insight into the Tirol Werbung/Tirol Tourism Board, challenges they face and how partnerships and cooperation with other AlpNet members lead to success.
The Tirol region is one of the premier ski regions in the world. With more than 500 peaks over 3,000m, more than 600 glaciers, and over 80 ski resorts, how are you able to coordinate sales and marketing activities as a unified area?
The unifying core of all our product development initiatives as well as the joint communication and marketing efforts is always our brand, TIROL, which represents the profiling values, services and competences powered by some outstanding history, plus the cultural, economical and natural strengths of the region.
We have established a brand strategy for Tirol with a specific brand core, values and a marketing strategy focusing on key and potential source markets, themes, seasons and target groups. These strategies are based on extensive marketing research paired with research studies, plus our own experience, and form the foundation of our day-to-day operation.
Please provide a few specific examples of how partnerships between the key stakeholders in Tirol have produced successful results.
We have several marketing partnerships with our top Tirolean regions and flagship companies cooperating under the umbrella brand Tirol. If I name just two with a winter focus, it would be the Snow Card Tirol and the 5 Tirolean glacier cooperation.
The Snow Card Tirol is a countrywide ski pass and the biggest seasonal ski pass in the world. It includes 90 Tirolean ski resorts inclosing five glaciers and comprising 3,000 kilometers of trails and runs and 1,100 ski lifts. The cooperation partners for the Snow Card Tirol are the cable car companies.
Apart from our Tirol Tourist Board, the 5 Tirolean glacier marketing cooperation encompasses five cable car companies - Hintertux (where Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” video clip was filmed recently), Stubai, Sölden (with its new James Bond installation “007 Elements”), Pitztal and Kaunertal - as well the associated tourist boards and 32 hotels. It is a sales driven campaign focusing on autumn and spring skiing with source markets Germany, Switzerland, Poland and Czech Republic. The 5 Tirolean glacier campaign in autumn almost works as a snow plow for our other winter marketing activities and traditionally constitutes the start into the skiing season. With five glaciers within a stretch of 100 kilometers, Tirol has the highest density of skiable glaciers.
Also, we launch successful winter and summer marketing campaigns with our Tirolean partners in 13 key markets and 3 overseas markets. Our main campaign for the next few years will be conducted under the slogan “Where will your heart take you”, an interactive and emotional campaign.
What advice would you give to other mountain destinations in order for them to bring their areas to the next level?
Focus is one of the keys to success: it takes a clear profile with coherent messages and values. No destination can serve every need perfectly. Furthermore, it is important that products and services are easily accessible and convenient. And last but not least, the key destination partners need to cooperate smoothly.
What challenges are you currently facing? How do you plan to combat those challenges and resolve any issues?
The demographic change is one of the main challenges we are facing and includes issues such as more and more people living in urban areas, people becoming older, etc. This has vast effects on tourism. For example, guests tend to spend less time on the ski slopes. On the other hand. the significance of recreational holiday rises and additional activities like winter hiking become increasingly important. The Tirol Tourist Board responds to these developments by designing appropriate products together with the regional destinations.
Another consequence of the demographic change affects the field of mobility: an increasing number of young people in the urban areas have neither a drivers license nor a car. Getting to the Alpine regions by public transport and being mobile on site is a key criteria for choosing a destination. The Tirol Tourist Board is taking actions and creating cooperations to improve public transport.
Digitization is another issue that greatly impacts our business. This ranges from consumers researching all of their information on the internet including virtual hotel tours to the booking process. Therefore hotels, etc. are supported by coaches as wells as a large number of advanced trainings available to keep up with online developments and needs.
Another issue is consumers‘ increasing sensitivity towards weather and snow conditions, particularly when it comes to short-term holiday decisions. We have launched a couple of weather communication activities such as customized weather reports in order to cope with that phenomenon.
Tirol Werbung is one of the seven members of AlpNet, a group of 8 of the leading tourism organizations in the European Alpine Region. How do you get regions from across the Alps including Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy to cooperate with each other? What successes have you seen from this cooperation?
Global tourism has been changing. We are not just facing a competition between the Alpine regions but also with the whole world. Therefore it is important for the Alpine regions to stand together and promote the Alps as an attractive all-year-round destination. Currently, the collective activities focus on a good exchange between the members of AlpNet in terms of experience, market research and joint events. The most important of these events is “the ALPS” which took place last in Innsbruck in 2016. Apart from professional discussion and informal networking, this format is also used to present the results of joint studies that have been conducted in advance such as “The Future of Cycle Tourism in the Alps” or “The Future of Alpine Winter Tourism”.
Want to hear more from Josef Margreiter?
He’ll be speaking indepth about the The Tirol Werbung/Tirol Tourism Board at his session at EMTS, Destination Successful Marketing Case Studies. Learn more about Josef's session and his background, as well as others taking the stage at EMTS 9-11 January in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.