Saying buongiorno to Venice again

March 2, 2021 | Category: Customer Service

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Like countless cities around the world, Venice was hit hard when international tourism came to a screeching halt in early 2020. The city quickly went from one extreme, seeing 30 million tourists per year packed cheek by jowl, to a ghost town when Italy quickly became the epicenter of Europe’s Covid-19 outbreak in the early days of the pandemic. In fact, the city emptied out so significantly that wildlife such swans returned to the canals.

As restrictions slowly eased in the months that followed, Venetians found themselves in dire need a solution to jumpstart tourism again and remind people of all the beauty that La Serenissima has to offer.

Recalling the success of a 2013  trivago TV advertisement highlighting Venice, the city turned to us with the unique challenge of boosting travel. Our company has been deeply committed to preparing for a safe return to travel, so we jumped at the chance to collaborate to get Venice back on the map.

Leveraging our long-standing partnership with  Publieurope, International sales house of Publitalia/Mediaset Group, our teams created a strategic TV advertising campaign that ran last summer, promoting the city with the goal of driving searches for Venice by local visitors on the Italian trivago platform.

The outcomes exceeded our expectations. Overall, the searches on for Italian destinations were slightly higher compared to 2019 but the uplift was driven by beach destinations, popular in the summer period. However, the uplift generated by the campaign allowed to close the gap of searches for Venice YoY to only -17%  on the best week (art cities excluding Venice performed -50% on average).

The results were even visible beyond our search platform, with interest for hotels in Venice surpassing other Italian cities during the period of our campaign.  The same type of results on Google trends revealed  that our campaign not only affected the searches on the trivago platform, but on the overall demand for the market itself. Local tourists were among the first to return, with international visitors slowly tricking into the city after international borders opened.

Going forward, the pandemic has created new opportunity for the city to think differently about tourism after suffering from over-tourism for many years. The ad placed emphasis on a slower, less rushed type of tourism and it will be interesting to continue to watch how the city tackles a safe, but steady, return.

Venice is just one example out of the many cities that are suffering and hoping to come back stronger in the forthcoming “new normal.” We look forward to seeing the creativity from tourism boards, our partners and industry counterparts in helping cities like Venice remind people what they missed most about traveling.

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