According to the latest national guest survey, this booking behavior is particularly typical for vacations in September and October. In 2022, ST aims to achieve an additional 200,000 hotel room nights per fall season for the first time. ST is receiving support in this from Raiffeisen. The new strategic premium partner is enabling a major mountain railway campaign.
More on the subject: Campaign aims to make the off-season more attractive for mountain areas
"The golden Swiss autumn holds enormous potential for spontaneous journeys of discovery," explains ST Director Martin Nydegger at the launch of the first autumn campaign in Zurich. This took place at the same time as the launches in Bellinzona and Fribourg.
The campaign starts on September 1 and lasts until October 31, 2018. A special fall website with vacation ideas, a clear webcam page, daily updated fall pictures, spots, advertisements, a magazine and social media activities are planned. The gross budget (gross investments nationwide, including personnel costs) is 3.5 million Swiss francs. In 2022, ST aims to generate an additional 200,000 hotel room nights in September and October for the first time with these marketing measures. This would be an increase of 3 percent per fall season compared to 2017 (September/October 2017: 6.55 million overnight stays).
Capercaillies and Älplermagronen
27 regional vacation ideas inspire on MySwitzerland.com/autumn to a spontaneous short trip in eight regions of Switzerland and on the Grand Tour of Switzerland. On the three-day trips, the ST experts suggest an autumnal activity for each day, which are coordinated geographically and in some cases thematically. For example, the short vacation in Obwalden includes a hike in Switzerland's largest moorland, where it's worth keeping an eye out for capercaillies. And on the second day it becomes culinary with the Älplermagronenpfad around the Giswilerstock. A hotel and restaurant recommendation is always included.
Current autumn pictures online and on Swiss television
ST supports spontaneous booking behavior with a specially set up webcam page that allows a direct view of the Swiss autumn landscape. The webcams, but also the pictures of guests that they publish on social media will be linked to the respective vacation ideas.
ST also provides inspiring TV content with the help of the Swiss people: Every day, the guest autumn picture of the day is broadcast on Swiss television before the "Meteo" program. All amateur photographers can upload a current autumn photo via social media and may make it onto TV. The way ST is using "user-generated content" on Swiss television is a first.
The typical autumn guest travels spontaneously and briefly
According to Tourism Monitor Switzerland 2017 (TMS)*, Swiss autumn guests prefer spontaneous short trips (one to three nights) in a mountain destination. This is also confirmed by the hotel booking night statistics of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (BfS 2018). According to the BfS, the length of stay of Swiss guests in the Alpine region has fallen from an average of 2.09 days to 1.99 days over the past five years (- 5 percent). In the same period, however, the number of arrivals rose by 6.3 %, while the number of overnight stays by Swiss guests in the mountains increased by 1 percent.
So despite a decrease in length of stay, there was growth in hotel room nights because arrivals increased so much. This means that more guests are coming, or they are coming more frequently, but are staying in the mountains for somewhat less time. In addition to the (para-)hotel industry, both gastronomy and tourism-related businesses (culture, retail, sports, mountain railroads, etc.) are benefiting from this: "According to TMS 2017, autumn guests want to relax on the one hand, but also experience something. This includes sporting activities such as hikes or events such as alpine processions or autumn festivals. Guests in the fall are also connoisseurs who particularly respond to culinary experiences," says Samuel Zuberbühler, Marketing Manager at ST.
The tourism industry is ready for autumn
Longer opening and operating hours, target group-specific marketing and fall offers with price advantages: The tourism industry has recognized the potential of autumn and developed suitable products for it. According to TMS 2017*, SBB offers the "Day Pass for Two" from RailAway, for example, for the more price-sensitive autumn guests. With this, from September 17 to October 28, 2018, for the price of one, guests travel for two for one day by public transport through Switzerland (75 instead of 150 francs in second class or 127 instead of 254 francs in first class). And the Raiffeisen mountain promotion entices you to the mountains with discounted tickets.
In recent years, many destinations and mountain railroads have observed a constant or positive guest trend for the months of September and October, including Zermatt Bergbahnen: "First-time arrivals and revenues in the months of September and October have increased by an overall average of around 20 percent over five years," says Lorena Donnabella, Deputy Head of Marketing at Zermatt Bergbahnen. Graubünden Ferien is also convinced by the new tourist season: "For a long time, autumn was treated rather cautiously in terms of tourism," says Roland Signer, Head of Corporate Communication. "In recent years, however, a rethink has taken place. Thematically, autumn marketing in Graubünden focuses on nature-based tourism around the areas of culinary delights and hiking."
No lead agency
As Switzerland Tourism explained to Werbewoche, the fall campaign was implemented without a lead agency. The internal project management is in the hands of Marketing Manager Samuel Zuberbühler. Four mood films were produced for various online platforms by Pool Film, with Constantine Wrage acting as producer. The artwork for the fall brochure was created by Festland. The media buying and the collaboration for the conception and planning of the daily fall pictures on SRF1 was done by Admeira. (pd/hae)
*The TMS is the largest national guest survey, conducted by ST for the Swiss tourism industry.