Make no mistake, tourism in Croatia is on the rise with impressive growth over the last few years leading to an all-time record in 2016.
In 2012 11.8 million tourists visited Croatia, growing to 16 million last year and generating over $8 billion in revenue. Croatia aims to double these numbers by 2020 with a National Strategy targeting revenue of over $17 billion.
With almost half of the world’s population today using the Internet, the importance of digital marketing has never been greater. Croatian tourism’s online presence has significantly increased over the last couple of years, but according to a published study – New Trends in Tourism Destination Branding by Means of Digital Marketing (Natalija Parlov, Davor Perkov Željko Sičaja) – there is still huge potential to improve.
The study analyses tourism marketing activities in developed countries, and it shows trends in digital marketing that can serve as a model for development of the Croatian tourism brand in the global digital world.
“Our National Strategy still emphasizes the sun and the sea as the primary competitive advantage of our tourism product. It is highly necessary to carry out a professional structuring of Croatian tourism brand and its architecture in order to change the perception of emitting markets about Croatia as the summer vacation destination only. By development of professional branding system, Croatian identity as a mixture of rational, emotional, social and cultural benefits available to potential guests becomes understandable and based on real competitive advantages”, the report says.
The report reveals that Croatian tourism needs to introduce new technologies as the leading means of marketing activities to keep up with global trends.
A steady growth in popularity of Croatia as a tourist destination, as well as the boom in Hollywood film productions and popular series selecting Croatia as a filming destination, there are more and more online articles related to Croatia than ever. But has Croatia managed to seize the potential?
“Effective digital marketing, or e-marketing, has become crucial on the global stage. Many countries have introduced clear and unambiguous actions of investments in digital marketing in their own national tourism strategies”.
Online presence is certainly the new business card. It helps point people in the right direction to your business or services. Capturing your target audience’s attention across all marketing platforms and driving better results for your business.
Many tourist destinations have turned to experts to help with online presence to engage its target audience, turn local press into international coverage, with the goal of converting readers to tourists.
One of those was Tourism Ireland who worked with Outbrain’s advertising platform to position Ireland as a holiday destination. Their campaign objectives were to drive traffic and ultimately high quality users to their website Ireland.com and drive potential tourists back.
To achieve that, they personalised content for the website based on the user’s interest, and created plenty of content for users who have a broader but clear interest in visiting Ireland.
By switching from traditional banner advertising and other traffic-focused providers to Outbrain, Tourism Ireland were able to significantly increase the number of visitors and user engagement on their website.
If Croatia wants to drive tourism growth via digital marketing then it needs to nail its digital marketing strategy and produce a quality and targeted ‘business card’.