How Travel Alberta is Helping Grow The German Market
German travellers are motivated to see beautiful scenery and experience a destination’s unique character and culture, says the latest Global Tourism Watch report on Alberta’s second largest European market.
They are also eager to explore off the beaten path and willing to travel in winter, particularly to ski.
All of which provide Travel Alberta with a made-to-order opportunity to highlight Alberta’s year-round, awe-inspiring and authentic experiences in all corners of the province in the drive grow the visitor economy.
“The German traveller is interested in our iconic attractions,” says Bart Donnelly, Travel Alberta’s Business Development Director, Canada, USA & Europe. “But we see lots of opportunity to introduce them to experiences from all over Alberta, especially in off-peak seasons.”
Travel Alberta is leveraging these opportunities by building strong relationships with tour operators in Germany, exploring new opportunities for meetings business, and targeting winter enthusiasts with an online marketing campaign in collaboration with Destination British Columbia.
“We also regularly share inspiring stories with German travellers through a targeted social media strategy and a comprehensive media relations plan with German travel media,” adds Susan Darch, Travel Alberta’s Director, Global Media & Content.
Germany: Eager Travellers
Germany is the largest market in the Eurozone with a population ready and eager to travel. Its economy is rebounding and travel confidence is strong.
Destination Canada’s latest study indicates almost four million German travellers say they are interested in visiting Canada.
In 2014, an estimated 76,000 Germans visited Alberta, according to Statistics Canada, spending about $74 million. Outbound travel from Germany is expected to grow at least three per cent in 2016.
“Germans aren’t afraid to explore, they travel in various ways – RV, rental car, motor coach – and they want to try the variety of experiences available,” says Donnelly.
“Our strategy is to highlight the breadth and depth of experiences to be found across the province, our unique destinations as well as our icons, on a year-round four-season front.”
Air service from Germany provides strong connections to Alberta with daily non-stop flights provided by Air Canada, daily connections via KLM and regular service from Icelandair. There is also additional charter service in the peak travel months.
A Foundation of Strong Relationships
After years of building strong relationships. Travel Alberta’s teams in Germany are very well respected with partners in the travel trade, media and airlines.
“It’s about making sure tour operators and travel agents are very familiar with all Alberta has to offer,” says Donnelly. “The more they know about Alberta, and the more they experience it, the more they are able to sell our destinations and experiences well.”
Thanks to Travel Alberta’s long-time relationship with DER Touristik, 90 top travel agents, key tourism partners and journalists from Germany, Austria and neighbouring countries visited Alberta from Sept. 27 to Oct. 4, 2016.
The DER Touristik Campus Live Alberta 2016 event included five tours to destinations around the province, a day of workshops and local excursions to experience shoulder-season product.
This was the first time this leading tourism trade show has been held in North America.
“Alberta will see the results of this event in the years to come,” says Donnelly. “It provided the opportunity for both Travel Alberta and our industry partners to develop relationships with travel agents, strengthen partnerships with DER Touristik and showcase destinations, products and experiences.”
Leveraging New Opportunities
Travel Alberta is also launching a German translation of the Alberta Specialist Learning Program. This series of interactive, on-demand multiplatform learning tools is aimed at helping travel professionals at all levels learn more about Alberta’s export-ready products.
This is the first translation of the program introduced to an international market.
The program is another way to get Alberta product knowledge out in front of even more travel professionals, especially those who have not experienced it first hand,” says Donnelly.
Travel Alberta’s business development team has also begun a new push into the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Events) market, exploring opportunities and working with other Alberta and Canadian partners to grow new business.
Wooing the Winter Customer
In July, the Canada's West Winter Campaign kicked off in Germany with a relaunch of its website and a kick-off newsletter distributed to 28,309 recipients.
A partnership in the German market between Alberta and British Columbia, Canada’s West promotes western Canada as the perfect ski destination for German consumers against the fiercely competitive European and U.S. ski markets.
This year’s campaign is focusing on online and social media tactics, tapping into the new target group of millennials. An early start to the campaign guarantees the inclusion of early bird offers, which are important to the German market where visitors tend to book well in advance and price is a key driver.
To learn more, visit the market profile on Germany.