Giver Viaggi and phase 2 of the Covid-19 emergency: what is the current scenario for your company, and what are the key issues you are working on in terms of marketing and communications, for implementation 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?
At present we have no information from the authorities regarding the parameters to be applied to provide the services that constitute our products, and so we will be unable to produce any kind of service until next winter. This forced inactivity has led us to invest primarily in training of our sales network and in communicating with consumers via social networks: both are initiatives that cost practically nothing, with practically instantaneous activation. In our opinion, the first lever from now on will be safety. The possibility of certifying the healthfulness of the spaces where passengers are will be essential for distinguishing between trips that are attractive and those that are not.
How has your target market changed, what do you think the trends for 2021 will be and what medium-long term strategies are you planning?
Giver still has the same target: medium to high spenders over 55. In the case of river cruises, the demographic group targeted is at least 10 years older, meaning it will be necessary to assess the psychological impact of COVID-19 on this segment of the population, the most affected by the pandemic. We are unable to say anything else about this at present.
Have you set up crisis communications in response to this difficult time? Is this the first time you’ve had to do this? (specify whether you have do it alone or in partnership with external professionals) If it is not the first time, what differences are there with respect to your past experience?
This forced inactivity has led us to invest primarily in training of our sales network and in communicating with consumers via social networks
At the start of the lockdown we set up mobile telephone numbers to allow our customers to contact us to find out what was happening with trips that had already been confirmed, and what our refund policy was. We did not use the services of specialised agencies, and, as on other occasions in the past, we handled the crisis situation ourselves.
Reputation: what are you doing to keep your reputation up even in such a complex situation, characterised by a high number of booking cancellations and requests for refunds?
Giver is 71 years old this year, and if we were asked to identify the features that have always made us stand out, these would be fair play, following the rules, and paying promptly. We have continued to apply these principles during the lockdown, and our customers and travel agencies have shown understanding and appreciation.
Communications agencies and professionals definitely have a role to play, in fact they have never been as important as they are today
While you are on standby, is it important to find new ways of continuing to talk about the destinations and services you offer? What tools do you use to do this (digital PR, influencers, virtual tours…)?
It’s very important to continue talking about our destinations and our services, and the fact that we have found ourselves facing an emergency of this kind right after the digital and social revolution of the early 21st century has definitely helped. Prior to the advent of devices such as the iPhone or iPad and platforms such as Google, Facebook or Instagram, only the big players would have been able to afford to continue communicating, via the media, such as tv or radio. But now, anybody who knows how to communicate can do so, without having to spend much. If we look back just a decade ago, people like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, who already imagined the possible uses of these media, appear to be almost Renaissance figures in communications. Communications agencies and professionals definitely have a role to play, in fact they have never been as important as they are today: the difference in terms of surviving the emergency may not be a matter of being able to afford their services, but of understanding their strategic and tactical importance.