Lignano Sabbiadoro Gestioni and phase 2 of the Covid-19 emergency: what is the current scenario in the town, what are the key issues you are working on in terms of tourism marketing, and what tactical actions do you plan to implement in the short term? Will the weight of the levers of price, product, promotion and reputation change in your strategy, compared to the past? If so, how?
The current scenario is one of uncertainty. It’s all a matter of “wait and see”. We have no precise information on how we will be able to go back into business in tourism, and above all, no-one can say what the summer of 2020 might have in store for us. What flows, what figures, what times: all these factors are unknown, and will continue to be so. Planning marketing strategies in these circumstances is a very complex and delicate question.
In view of all the uncertainty surrounding the present situation, how important is marketing communication for you, and what are the biggest issues? Considering the growth of proximity tourism, will you have to revise your approach in order to adapt it to a more local target? And what about the long term?
Other than its social media channels and web sites, Li.sa.gest does not perform any promotional activities of its own, but participates in a round table for use of proceeds from visitors’ tax for the promotion of the entire town, with the participation of: Li.sa.gest, a representative of the city government, a representative of Promoturismo FVG (acting as coordinator), a representative of tourism enterprises and a representative of local commerce. The round table develops strategies, and methods for applying them. At the outbreak of the epidemic, the tasks that had been entrusted to the Italian and international press offices, media, web and social media campaigns were all suspended, as the content of these planned promotions was counter-productive in the new situation. During the Easter holidays, very simple, subtle advertisements were placed in the international press and on the radio wishing people a happy Easter and aiming to instil feelings of nostalgia. A series of short videos is now being made, with selfie snap shooting (by professional photographers, but using smartphones) in which non-actors (people from the tourism industry) are shown preparing to reopen (lifeguards, cooks, barmen, gardeners…). No further communication strategies are being implemented at the moment, in view of the uncertainty as to how things will evolve, considering that at the time of writing, on May 8, it is not even completely certain that anybody will be able to go to the beach at all in 2020.
A series of short videos is now being made, with selfie snap shooting in which non-actors are shown preparing to reopen President Lignano Sabbiadoro Gestioni Spa
Which communication channels are you curating and what are your objectives? Will the scenario of “slow” tourism have an impact on the type of channel to use?
In view of limited mobility, tourism will absolutely be proximity tourism at first, characterised by weekend travel. I can imagine tourists coming from the provinces of Udine, Pordenone and Venice, followed by visitors from all over northern Italy, provided they still have the funds and the holiday time to travel once the emergency is over. As the border with Austria and Germany will be closed until June 3, we will not see any Austrian or German tourist until the end of the month, and we cannot expect to see any at all from the east, from countries that traditionally come to Lignano: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. As far as we know, there is a lot of caution around pricing, in view of the definite drop in revenues and the increase in costs attributable to the new containment measures, but rates will tend to be kept the same, to take into account tourists’ reduced spending power. The messages we will be attempting to convey, under the direction of PromoturismoFVG, will be that of a town and therefore a holiday that is perfectly safe.
We aim to maximise online bookings, to prevent the need for gatherings of people and handling of cash at the beach of PromoturismoFVG, will be that of a town and therefore a holiday that is perfectly safe.
When you reopen, which values and concepts do you think are going to be most successful for your town? (safety, open spaces…)?
While awaiting the technical and scientific committee’s operative guidelines, we are beginning to set things up to give an impression of utmost safety. Distancing will be ensured by reducing the number of beach umbrellas by 50%, and therefore doubling distances between people. We aim to maximise online bookings, to prevent the need for gatherings of people and handling of cash at the beach, potentially with profiling and self-certification of customers to protect our clients and others. The epidemic marks the beginning of a new era, in view of its world-wide scope; nothing will ever be the same as it was before. The negative effects of the pandemic will definitely continue to affect the 2021 season, and this experience offers us an opportunity to rethink our approach, which must necessarily be different from the one we have used so far. We have something to learn even from such wholly negative experiences, though it is early to say just what we will learn or how we will be able to use it in the future. We must consider all the information at our disposal, especially the results of this season.