National Tourism Marketing Plan 2014
As it is customary, Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s marketing plan for the coming year was presented at a trade open day, held on 26 November in the Budapest Congress Center. Visitors to the day-long event could not only learn about Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s marketing plan for 2014 but also hear the trade discussion of the national tourism development plan for the next ten years. In addition to this, there were several round-table discussions about issues concerning the whole of the tourism sector as well as an opportunity for personal consultations with the campaign organisers and implementers at panel discussions held in parallel. The open day also provided an occasion for the ceremonial signing of a cooperation agreement between Hungarian Tourism Plc. and the Hungarian National Asset Management Inc.
Mrs Marianna Dene Tóth, Chief Executive Officer of Hungarian Tourism Plc., opened the trade day, at which the management and staff of the national tourism marketing organisation revealed the company's plans for next year to an audience of almost 900 people. The CEO highlighted the results of the process reflecting the beneficial change of approach, which began in 2010. One of the major steps in this course was that the activity of the renewed organisation is now performed in conjunction with the team of the Agromarketing Center, which merged with the company in the middle of 2012.
Gergely Horváth, Deputy CEO for Tourism, presented the company's tourism marketing plan, which was webcast live due to the great interest. In his speech he stressed that, although Hungarian tourism had recovered from the crisis, long years of work and improvements were still required to ensure that tourism revenues would also reach the level necessary for the profitable operation of the service providers, by increasing visitor numbers. In introducing the concept he pinpointed the fast and flexible tracking of market changes as the main aim, the key to which was addressing new target groups and thus conquering new markets. A special role is given in next year's marketing plan to marketing activity conducted in far-off, emerging source markets, such as countries in the Arab world, Brazil and India, as well as neighbouring countries to the south. Naturally, this does not mean that the organisation intends to reduce the intensity of its marketing activity in its current markets. However, the company will also endeavour to address new target groups in source countries of key importance and one means of achieving this is to draw the younger generation's attention to the new face of Budapest, the city's cool image and vibrant life in addition to maintaining the focus on the tourist attractions, visiting cities and health tourism options which are better known among the older generation. The company's surveys clearly revealed that foreign visitors to Hungary held the general opinion that their trip provided them with more pleasant experiences than they expected, which prompted the slogan "Think Hungary – More than expected". This became the central message of the promotion on foreign markets. Hungary's recently released image film, attempting to show a synthesis of the country's traditional and trendy aspects, is also based on this concept.
While the priority of the 2013 tourism marketing plan was to create an independent image for Hungary as a tourism brand, in 2014 this new image is intended to be promoted as broadly as possible. "It is our intention that in the future our image should not only be seen as the image of Hungarian Tourism Plc. but also used as a trademark that makes Hungary identifiable, acknowledged and known as a brand within the country and abroad," Mr Horváth explained.
As in the past, foreign communication will have three tiers next year, consisting of a central image campaign, central product campaigns (e.g. Budapest Winter Invitation) and market-specific campaigns. In line with the above objective, pre-eminence will be given to Hungary's international image campaign, aiming primarily to address consumers.
In order to perform marketing activities efficiently, the company will use external resources in addition to the budget provided by state funds. One means of achieving this is close cooperation with the players in the travel trade, conducting joint campaigns and promotions, and sharing costs in unison with joint interests. Hungarian Tourism Plc. will offer options for its partners to join numerous campaigns in 2014 as well.
Professional cooperation will perform a key role also in communication activities addressing foreign markets. Hungarian Tourism Plc. will associate with central topics whose message strengthens Hungary's positive image from the viewpoint of tourism. In the spirit of more effective joint action, in 2014 the company will place special emphasis on the 25th anniversary of opening the country's borders, organising joint events with the competent Hungarian bodies (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Balassi Institute and the embassies concerned) in German-speaking areas. Several organisations will collaborate in the foreign communication of Budapest as a cultural capital in harmony with the government's intentions. The purpose of this coordinated activity is to focus attention on Budapest's ever expanding spectrum of cultural programmes, which are likely to attract foreign interest. The programmes of the reopened Academy of Music and Erkel Theatre, the renewed Budapest Spring Festival, the recently opened Budapest Music Center, the Opera House and the Palace of Arts as well as numerous museums offer added value that makes travelling to the capital worthwhile for visitors from afar.
In communication targeting the domestic public the company, while retaining the former concept, will conduct central campaigns promoting domestic tourism, central seasonal campaigns and regional informative campaigns recommending events and offers from service providers. Publicising the Széchenyi Recreation Card (SZÉP card) will remain an important element.
In the course of communication, the company will shift the emphasis consciously but gradually to modern e-marketing tools.
A signing ceremony for the cooperation agreement between the Hungarian National Asset Management Inc. and Hungarian Tourism Plc. was held at the open day. The purpose of the agreement is to develop unified, convergent marketing activity that aids the coordination of the tourism-related and travel activities of companies in which the state has a majority holding.
After the marketing plan was presented, round-table discussions seeking answers to current issues in the sector were held. First Dr. Viktória Horváth, Deputy State Secretary for Tourism at the Ministry of National Economy, outlined the national tourism development concept for the period of 2014-24, tabling it for discussion. Gergely Horváth, Deputy CEO for Tourism, chaired the discussion on current developments and investments affecting tourism, at which Deputy State Secretary for Development Projects at the Prime Minister's Office Nándor Csepreghy, Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Belváros-Lipótváros András Puskás, and Erika Nyúl, manager responsible for social relations at the Liszt Academy of Music, took part. The topics included the role of local and regional products in gastronomy and tourism services, and a presentation "How to sell Hungary" in B2B destinations was held to promote further thought on the subject.
At the panel discussions held in parallel with the round-table talks Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s foreign representatives, regional marketing managers and staff involved in the marketing plan presented their plans the year 2014. The panel discussions concentrated on business tourism, health tourism, cultural tourism and high-class gastronomy. These provided actual information about exhibitions, workshops, premium days and study tours to help service providers plan and decide which campaigns to be involved in. In the lounge area in the Pátria room an opportunity was afforded for the service providers and Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s staff to talk in informal surroundings in the afternoon.
Another new feature of the open day was the suppliers' workshop organised by the management board of Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s Agromarketing Center. Hungarian smallholders presented in person their food industry products to the decision-makers and suppliers of the hotel and catering industry. A selection of the wines and local food specialities of the Sopron wine region was presented in the lobby.
All the parts comprising Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s 2014 marketing plan (the Strategic Plan, the Tactical Plan and the Annexes) can be downloaded from the company's website www.itthon.hu.
Further information: Hungarian Tourism Plc. – Corporate Communications
Tel.: 488-8748 E-mail: pr[at]itthon.hu Internet: www.itthon.hu
SUMMARY OF THE NATIONAL TOURISM MARKETING PLAN FOR 2014:
- Addressing new target groups
- in emerging markets, and
- in additional segments of traditional source markets;
- brand building, raising awareness of the concept of the country's tourism brand;
- product-based marketing communication;
- powerful international image campaign;
- mobile technology-based developments beside strengthening online presence (and in particular social media activity);
- Reinforcing the buzzwords used in the domestic campaign ("Winter Harmony", "Spring Awakening", "Summer Buzz", "Fall Serenity") and a product-based, seasonal approach to help boost domestic tourism;
- closer cooperation with the domestic and international trade (ETC, V4), more joint campaigns and offers.
The above key statements summarise the most important innovations and focal points in Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s marketing plan for 2014, which form the new guidelines for the national tourism marketing activities of the year.
The basis of the company's domestic activity continues to be stimulating and generating consumer requirements and demand, while activity abroad focuses on increasing interest in Hungary as an attractive tourist destination. This aims to raise the number of trips to Hungary and improve the quality indicators. The primary activity is to be realised through public communication and promoting sales within the travel industry. The travel trade promotion activity continues to cover TDM coordination (cooperation with the Tourism Destination Management Organisations), research activity, Tourinform coordination and operating a Contact Center as well as communication activity promoting the SZÉP card, and various brands and quality awards.
The trade event presenting the marketing plan on 26 November began with a welcoming speech by CEO Mrs Marianna Dene:
"It is now over a year ago that we appeared before the public as a renewed organisation supplemented by the Agromarketing Center's team. The renewed country promotion features good-quality Hungarian products, tourism, gastronomy and wine, which complement each other and emphasise Hungarian values. Wine consumption can be linked with travel, and wine tours and wine tastings are the perfect accompaniments to tourism products. More and more people look specifically for local products during their domestic holidays and trying local flavours is part of the experience. This contributes indirectly to the success of the Hungarian food industry. Through the merger of the Agromarketing Center and Hungarian Tourism Plc., the government concept encouraging organisations to mutually reinforce each other was successfully implemented. By jointly appearing abroad, Hungarian products and services will be able to strengthen each other. A foreign trade event with several hundred thousand visitors representing the food industry, trade, and the hotel and catering industry provides an excellent opportunity to draw the attention of decision-makers to Hungary as a potential destination. Gastronomy is an integral part of Hungary's image and of the strengths we wish to communicate. It is important to show that the traditional Hungarian cuisine known to foreign tourists can be reinterpreted in keeping with the current culinary trends, and that Hungarian gastronomy is able to compete with the international field in this respect as well. Making Hungarian wines a household name abroad, especially in areas with a wine-drinking culture, is among our priority targets."
Following the welcome speech, Gergely Horváth, Deputy CEO for Tourism, voiced the following thoughts among other ideas in his presentation:
"We aimed to create a unified communication framework which clearly distinguishes each of our tourism products from one another while integrating them into a single umbrella brand at the same time. By drawing up our publicity guidelines we satisfied this expectation. The well-known and popular heart logo has been given a facelift, and a new unified layout has been introduced for all the company's spaces from press advertisements to business cards. A set of requirements for the use of publicity components has been developed, which includes a colour coding system to help differentiate tourism products. We plan to present this image in 2014 to our broader and narrower environment, the players in the travel trade, and to make it accepted and liked. It is our intention that in the future our image should not only be seen as the image of Hungarian Tourism Plc. but also used as a trademark that makes Hungary identifiable, acknowledged and known as a brand within the country and abroad. In 2014 our job is to further strengthen the independent image of Hungary's tourism brand by exploiting sectoral synergies, to develop professional collaboration which enables convergent brand building endeavours to be enforced across the board from the service providers to the level of the national tourism marketing organisation.
In addition to impressive marketing communication, an increasingly large role will be given to trade workshop activities and deepening cooperation both inside and outside the country."
In line with the company's objectives, a powerful international image campaign is at the heart of communication targeting the foreign public, which will retain the country's usually publicised values such as Hungarian culture, the built environment of our historic cities, the stunning, varied beauty of the natural environment and our health tourism. In addition, Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s promotional literature will communicate the country's ever more widely sought after and increasingly broad range of quality products and services of international standard as well as the results of Hungary's endeavours and the results produced in confirmation of such achievements – be these in the fields of internationally acknowledged gastronomy, urban renovation or industrial investments.
To give an additional boost for the increasingly brisk domestic tourism, travellers within Hungary must be made to appreciate and be proud of all the beauty and the quality of products and services offered in the country, which are worthy rivals to the selection available abroad. At the level of communication targeting the domestic public Hungarian Tourism Plc. intends to lay great stress on promoting the SZÉP card to encourage domestic tourism.
The primary consideration when performing the national tourism marketing activity is to achieve business targets, in other words to increase the number of overnight stays and spending by tourists.
Hungarian Tourism Plc. aims to increase the number of registered overnight stays at commercial accommodation by a total of 3.1% compared to last year's results. The number of overnight stays by domestic visitors at commercial accommodation should grow by another 2.0% and the number of foreign guest nights at commercial accommodation is expected to be up 4.1% on the 2013 results.
The Hungarian Convention Bureau anticipates that the number of international conferences will rise by 3 to 4% in 2014 year-on-year.
Strategic products on the domestic market:
- Active and ecotourism
- Rural tourism
- Cycling tourism
- Equestrian tourism
- Cultural tourism
- Wine and gastronomy tourism
- Health tourism
Strategic products on foreign markets:
- Lake Balaton
- Cultural tourism
- Health tourism (medicinal tourism and wellness tourism)
- Business tourism (MICE)
- Niche products – Certain products (e.g. hunting, bird-watching, golf, sailing) receive a heightened role in some source countries in addition to the above strategic products. The best example of this is appearing at European hunting fairs with a national stand, where Hungarian Tourism Plc. represents the state forestry authorities.
The marketing plan contains detailed information about the topics highlighted in the communication of the strategic products.
DIVISION OF THE SOURCE MARKETS
The organisation is retaining the previous division of the external markets in 2014, classifying them according to business potential, trends and travelling habits. The classification is based on whether tourists from a particular source market usually arrive in Hungary as individual travellers or through a tour operator in an organised manner. The role Hungary's accessibility play in the trip and the market share of the given source market according to the number of overnight stays are also considered. These provide the basis for defining the B2C markets directly targeting the public and the B2B markets giving priority to trade relations.
- B2C markets: Austria, Benelux countries, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Northern Europe, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
- B2B markets: China, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, United States of America.
- Emerging markets (based on their inbound traffic to Hungary): countries of the Persian Gulf, South America, India and South-East Asia. These are classified as B2B markets. (In these markets a presence is maintained based on trade events and cooperation, which is justified by the market potential and the increasing interest in Hungary.)
Communication for both the trade and the public, dependent on the market classification, is performed by the foreign representations. Marketing is mainly carried out by communication addressing the public for B2C markets and through trade events for B2B markets. In our communication the foreign representations' websites presenting the new image and satisfying all needs with their information database receive priority in both types of market, enabling access to both the public and trade partners.
The main pillar of the sales promotion strategy devised for the target markets is product-based marketing communication, which is closely related to the centrally defined image communication. The aim is the emphatic presentation of the relevant key products in the given destination. Of the key products (Budapest, health tourism, MICE, cultural tourism and Lake Balaton), health tourism is dominant in Germany and Russia, while, in accordance with the marketing plan jointly drawn up with the Hungarian Convention Bureau, MICE is in focus in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Benelux countries and the USA. Cultural tourism and Lake Balaton as products are mainly concentrated on in neighbouring countries as well as in the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany.
Due to the demands characterising far-off markets and to the limited marketing resources available, the importance of cooperation with the Visegrád Group (V4), the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the Danube Competence Center, which has a secretariat in Serbia, is increasing. Joint promotion generates interest in Europe in far-off markets more efficiently. Promoting the diversity of tourism in the Central European region (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) will continue through coordinated work based on a jointly devised marketing plan, by combining the available resources and exploiting synergies. The target markets of the V4 countries are the United States, Latin America, India, China and Japan, while openings in new markets will be sought in Singapore, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Australia and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.
As regards the joint marketing plan for 2014, the V4 countries set two main goals. The primary goal is to continuously adjust to trends in demand and to constantly analyse the foci of cooperation. The second aspect is a more concentrated, more emphatic (more visible) appearance in selected markets. The accentuated, country-specific use of online media tools is gaining increasing importance in the joint activity.
With regard to product development, joint points were laid down which are of major importance to all four countries:
- "Family tree" programmes for second and third generations (language courses, summer universities, family tree research, etc);
- addressing people who studied in the V4 countries 20 to 40 years ago;
- Central European tours – in markets where touring Europe is an attraction; and
- addressing the 50+ age groups.
The website for cooperation in tourism of the "V4" countries is www.european-quartet.com.
The Belgrade-based organisation the "Danube Competence Center" deals with the joint developments and project-based marketing for tourism of the ten countries lying on the River Danube.
Hungarian Tourism Plc. joining "The Roman Conquerors' Trail" and the "ITB Exhibition and the Danube" projects will open up new segments, aid product development and place Hungarian tourism services in a European context.
The website of the "Danube Competence Center" is www.danubecc.org.
The principal task of the European Travel Commission (ETC) is to promote Europe as a tourist destination in overseas markets, and to devise and implement strategies and action plans to this end.
As a result of their successful joint activity in 2013, the European Union will provide funding of EUR 1 million to support the work of the ETC in 2014 as well. The target markets are Brazil, Canada, China and the USA.
The cooperation includes brand building, preparing short-term and long-term marketing strategies and active product building. A priority goal is to develop complex pan-European products.
ONLINE TRAVEL REVOLUTION – THE MOBILE WORLD
The age of the guidebook has not come to an end, yet it has to be recognised that the guidebook has undergone a radical transformation because the Internet brought about a revolution in the 1990s and mobile technology in the 2000s. Images and films are playing a major role in stimulating people's desire to travel, thus the beauties of Hungary must also be shown in moving pictures. It is imperative therefore that the national tourism marketing organisation heightens its presence in video-sharing channels. Responding to trends, Hungarian Tourism Plc. intends to debut its renewed profile on YouTube, which nowadays is more popular even than television. Naturally photographs will not be ignored, and plans are afoot to launch a service providing a form of tourism photobank. It is also vitally important that the company's online contents presenting Hungarian tourist services appear as near the top of the list of hits as possible for each search.
When travelling these days, people tend to take mobile gadgets rather than guidebooks, maps and even cameras with them. The fact that 80% of travellers require free access to wi-fi in their hotel provides proof of this. A rapidly expanding array of mobile phone guidebooks are appearing, which enable the phone to assume the role of the guide.
To satisfy these requirements, the campaigns of Hungarian Tourism Plc. are being supplemented with useful mobile contents that can be enjoyed on smart phones and tablets, be they publications or an application. Furthermore, the current applications are being renewed.
Hungarian Tourism Plc. has had a presence on social networking sites until now but in 2014 the communication of its profiles will be bolstered. The Twitter profile has the greatest reach and increased activity can be expected here. The company will also strive to further increase awareness of its Facebook pages through applications and advertisements.
Unified international communication
Hungarian Tourism Plc., in cooperation with other organisations and sister institutions actively promoting Hungary, will take part in publicising major anniversaries and events affecting the whole of the country and in communicating the related tourist messages.
In 2014 the company will associate with central topics whose message strengthens the positive image of Hungary from the viewpoint of tourism. In the spirit of more effective joint action, the company will place special emphasis on the 25th anniversary of opening the country's borders, organising joint events with the competent Hungarian bodies (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Balassi Institute and the embassies concerned) in German-speaking areas.
Additionally, Hungarian Tourism Plc. will be involved in broadly promoting the Budapest Spring and Autumn Festivals and other cultural events as well as building Budapest's cultural tourism image. Locations and events related to major anniversaries such as the bicentenaries of the birth of Miklós Ybl and Béni Egressy and the centenary of the birth of Annie Fischer as well as commemorative years (the Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year and commemorating the outbreak of the First World War) which are important from the point of view of tourism will appear in the marketing communication.
Communication targeting the domestic public
Hungarian Tourism Plc. does not intend to change last year's successful domestic communication strategy in 2014. The communication will continue to have three levels. The company lays great emphasis on synchronising these levels and distinctly separating their strategic roles, which are:
- Image communication to raise the public's awareness of the complex Hungary brand.
- The aim of the national strategic product campaigns is to encourage domestic tourism. A determining factor in planning the campaigns is to identify the season of the year when the largest number of tourists can be mobilised by each tourism product.
- The purpose of the regional product campaigns is to promote the offers of service providers.
The first level will accompany the strategic product campaigns and is intended to improve awareness of the new country brand concept in Hungary, which can only become a broadly accepted brand in this manner. In this tier of communication Hungarian Tourism Plc. plans to give an important role to promoting the SZÉP card, which, thanks to the part it plays in stimulating domestic tourism, dovetails perfectly into the concept of the country's tourism brand.
The product campaigns launched and tested in 2013 will be continued. Retaining the earlier concept, the tourism products that generate genuine motivation to travel within Hungary will be grouped in the campaigns as travelling as an experience according to the feelings or moods that travelling intends to induce. Suggesting 4 moods for the 4 seasons, the tourism products are offered to the public linked to the regions where the given product is dominant.
The buzzwords used in the domestic campaign are "Winter Harmony", "Spring Awakening", "Summer Buzz" and "Fall Serenity".
Communication targeting the foreign public
After the country's 2013 tourism campaign in Europe, Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s strategic aim in 2014 is to further increase awareness of Hungary as a tourism brand in external markets.
Communication targeting the foreign public will be conducted in three levels, similarly to the domestic communication. These are:
- central strategic campaigns which aim to build the country brand;
- central tactical product communication founded on the Budapest Winter Invitation campaign;
- market-specific campaigns by foreign representations which ensure that the awareness generated by the strategic campaigns is sustained and which offer current travel ideas and motivation through product recommendations in our major markets.
Due to limited resources, coordinating campaigns and the effective choice of tools are of particular importance. The company wishes to achieve the former by even closer cooperation in the activities of the foreign missions and the latter by further developing and giving priority to e-marketing tools.
INTERNATIONAL SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion activities are dominant in B2B markets.
The order of priorities for activities in the B2B markets is
- organising study tours to Hungary for the travel trade;
- professional cooperation: joint promotions;
- workshops and road shows with the aim of involving new areas and partners in sales, and bringing domestic service providers and foreign business partners together;
- participation at trade fairs;
- offering professional trainings.
The order of priorities for activities in the B2C markets is
- online, web communication;
- social media;
- traditional media channels;
- organising media study tours to Hungary;
- organising travel trade study tours to Hungary.
BUSINESS TOURISM (MICE)
In order to support conference and incentive tourism, the Hungarian Convention Bureau operating as a key organisational unit of Hungarian Tourism Plc. has drawn up the following plans for 2014.
The aim next year is to increase the number of international conferences by 3 to 5%, and to involve provincial conference venues more effectively. Another longer term target is to bring as many events with over 1,000 people to Hungary as possible over the next 5 years.
Key target markets: United Kingdom, France, Northern Europe, the United States of America and Germany. The effectiveness and efficiency of the international trade fairs funded by the Hungarian Convention Bureau is continuously monitored and new opportunities are exploited based on experience.
The aim is to exploit the opportunities and relations offered by the ICCA and other international organisations more efficiently in both domestic and international terms. Special attention is devoted to the fields of the healthcare industry, research and development, medical technology and pharmaceuticals. Within the scope of cooperation, bringing international events and conferences to Hungary is promoted.
The Hungarian Convention Bureau will continue to foster relations with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the international departments of Hungarian ministries and government bodies, where they can also be of considerable assistance in applying to host conferences.
All the parts comprising Hungarian Tourism Plc.'s 2014 marketing plan (the Strategic Plan, the Tactical Plan and the Annexes) can be downloaded from the company's website www.itthon.hu (in Hungarian).
For further information contact:
Hungarian Tourism Plc.