How was the 2020 tourist season?

I try to give some suggestions to deal with this uncertain moment by drawing on my experiences in tourism in this particular season of 2020.

In this article I speak of:

  • changes in the tourism market;
  • gaps and needs of some operators;
  • how my activities are reacting;
  • a small positive side also in this situation.

Firstly, thank you for being on this article and wanting to read it to the end (I hope!). These are difficult topics to share if not complaining at the bar (when possible!), on the phone or via Skype!

I’ll try to give some suggestions to face this new uncertain moment!

The 2020 season confirmed what was said before we could open:

  • The tourism market is changing from international, or rather intercontinental to proximity (in a broad sense).
  • The Italian domestic market has partially helped to make up for the lack of international presence, but not in all destinations.
  • The first phase of reopening saw a net reduction in the classic season for seasonal destinations and the second phase of limitations (current) cut off the legs of those who thought they would recover a bit between November and December.

Here is the positive note: visiting cities without excessive chaos can be beautiful (considerations begin with the references to Venice, Milan, Rome, so you have never seen it and then subsequent appreciations in returning to these cities with fewer people around).

Today’s topic is a reflection on the 2020 season, a season that for those who usually worked only with specific very distant markets has naturally seen a collapse.

The tourism market is changing from international, or rather intercontinental to proximity.
The transition is obligatory, and it is the only solution for all the realities that want, they can continue the activity in the immediate future, in my opinion, for at least a couple of years. The change of target requires an adaptation of the product, verification and transformation of the price, the development of new contacts in the new market including who takes care of it, how they work, etc.

An example Hotel Loveno has always worked for the most part with individual arrivals from the centre, northern Europe. The closing of the borders until July showed us that we would not have been able to work if the boundaries had not been reopened, we would have lost the season because with the Italian market we are not ready. The only advantage is that the characteristics of the people who can stay with us are very similar between Europe and Italy; the product does not have to be revolutionized to adapt.

We have therefore decided to include in our to-do list the first steps to take to get closer to the Italian market and have a bare minimum in this market: website in Italian, collaboration with TO and home tourism agencies, sports groups and associations.

Slow Lake Como has always worked with the US market at its base. This season we had to convert products for the Italian market quickly, the result in terms of guest satisfaction was perfect. Still, economically speaking, it was not at all comparable to previous years.

The next steps require evaluation and insertion in European markets to which we can offer the usual or revised activities. In short, a geographical approach, possibly without upsetting the classic Slow Lake product so loved by our overseas guests.

The Italian domestic market has partially helped to make up for the lack of international presence, but not in all destinations.

Hotel Loveno. The most significant difficulty of working with the Italian market is that of not being an exciting destination like the sea or the real mountains and not being too far from Milan 2 hours by car. It isn’t easy to stay for more than one night. There is also the phenomenon of second homes, many people in Lombardy with ties to the territory prefer this solution or renting a flat. As mentioned before, in our to-do list, there is the idea of contacting sports groups and associations to find some good reason, also linked to the territory, to host them.  

Slow Lake Como. The reconversion towards the Italian market has foreseen:

  • Type of product prevailing the excursion.
  • Duration of the shortest experience.
  • Snack baskets not supplied by us but brought by the guests.
  • Proposals including stops for tasting to give more perceived value to the request and of course, 
  • the lower price that was the focal point of the whole change.

The real advantage was the right geographical distance from Milan and Brianza in general, the area from which so many nature lovers arrived who appreciated our proposals and our energy. 

The first phase of reopening saw a net reduction in the classic season for seasonal destinations and the second phase of limitations (current) cut off the legs of those who thought they would recover a bit between November and December. 

Hotel Loveno had to close about a week in advance, with the last week being closed on days without guests due to the decree of 25.10, and it was kept open only on Friday 30 and Saturday 31, but knowing full well that no one would arrive. 

The closure of the restaurants at 6 p.m. blocked the possibility of operating for the entire hospitality sector, because who would want to visit a place without the possibility of going out to dinner? 

We were hoping to be able to host workers involved in construction work in Menaggio. Still, there are no conditions to be able to do so, so let’s look beyond and be satisfied with what has been possible this season and prepare ourselves with peace of mind and hope for 2021.

The October decree has not touched slow Lake Como, so it has studied possible activities in this situation for November and December. However, we had to suspend the sponsorship of children’s activities and social sponsorship in general. The first decree of November closed all our activities, so we focused on participation in virtual fairs such as the world travel market normally held in London.

What do you think? Do they seem reasonable evaluations and suggestions to you? Let me know! Leave me a comment here so that we can continue the conversation!

Sara – tourism consultant

Are you interested to know more?
Ask  #STouW by Sara Vitali about: 

#sustainabletourism consultancy, 
#socialmedia strategies for tourism sector & linked sustainable, responsible, green or eco businesses; 
#sustainabledevelopment through tourism. 
http://sustainabletourismworld.com/sara-vitali-stw-founder/

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