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Take tourism out of the invisibility zone
Why Google ignores Kamchatka travel agencies and what’s the reason for clusters, EastRussia
What do the guests of Kamchatka like and what do not? What enthralls travelers and makes you remember the trip in vivid and colorful reviews? What is the opposite annoying? What will happen to the tourism industry in Kamchatka in 2019, and where to look for the main potential for growth? Answers to these and many other questions are in the fresh marketing research prepared by the order of the Center for Cluster Development of the Kamchatka Territory for the tourist-recreational cluster of Kamchatka. EastRussia got the opportunity to read the document.
Recall that the tourist and recreational cluster of Kamchatka was formed at the end of May 2018 by the initiative of the Cluster Development Center (CDC) of the Kamchatka Territory. This organization, established on the basis of the Kamchatka Development Corporation JSC, implements federal support measures in the region, addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises uniting into industry clusters. As part of the CDC activities, a wide range of consulting and marketing services is provided to small and medium-sized businesses on co-financing terms up to 90%.
One of such services was marketing research in the interests of the leaders of the tourist business in the region. The document, developed for cluster members, not only assesses various market aspects of the industry, but also gives recommendations for development. First of all, in terms of building an integral marketing policy for the tourist Kamchatka, which will include not only travel agencies, but also the regional government represented by the Agency for Tourism and External Relations and the Tourist Information Center.
The study opens up optimistically: wild places, a unique region, excellent prerequisites for the development of tourism. The tourist flow in the Far East in recent years "shows a steady growth." According to statistics, in 2017, about 200 thousand tourists traveled to Kamchatka. The international airport in Yelizovo served 658 thousand passengers, and the increase in international lines was 69%.
Some analysts, according to the study, promise Kamchatka to 2030 a year before 1 million tourists a year. The development of a modern and competitive tourism industry in the region, according to the Business Navigator data prepared by the Kamchatka Development Corporation, is a strategic government task. The Development Strategy for the Kamchatka Territory before 2030 highlights the development of the tourist and recreational infrastructure, the improvement of the quality of tourist services, the formation of a comfortable tourist environment, as well as the marketing promotion of the region in the global and domestic tourist markets. The regional program "Development of domestic and inbound tourism in the Kamchatka Territory" was separately developed and adopted.
State support at the federal level - the regimes of TOR and the Free Port of Vladivostok - is another catalyst for the growth of the tourist market in the region, the authors note. As part of these business support measures, substantial tax breaks are provided, in the interests of investors, infrastructure is built at the public expense.
In 2018, the Government of the Kamchatka Territory, together with the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Administration of the Kronotsky State Nature Reserve, developed a “Concept for developing tourism in the Kamchatka Krai” - a strategic document describing the development parameters of the main tourist destinations of the region in relation to the planned public and private investment in tourism. As the main attractors for tourists in Kamchatka, the concept defines natural attractions and the created infrastructure for outdoor activities (winter holidays, fishing, climbing, etc.). In general, the Concept defines seven main places of attraction for tourists in the Kamchatka region. Six of them have a specific geographic reference, the seventh is related to car accessibility (“road”).
Interestingly, according to the “Concept of tourism development in the Kamchatka region”, the following areas have the greatest potential in terms of tourism development: “Mutnovsky” and “City and environs”. In the first case we are talking about the potential volume of additional tourist traffic in the amount of 80 thousand people per year, in the second - in the amount of 420 thousand people per year.
As noted in the study, it is natural sights that are key objects of attraction of tourists to Kamchatka. Marketing efforts to promote the natural recreational potential of the region, together with the initiative approach of the federal and regional governments, are the main driver for attracting both investors and tourists to Kamchatka.
The experts, who have a separate block in the material, note the increased interest of both Russian and foreign tourists in the Kamchatka Territory. Kamchatka, due to its unique location (it is “visible” on maps of any scale) and an incredible set of natural attractions, is fully world-famous. At the same time, due to the fact that tourism for the region is a relatively young, Kamchatka tourism services market, some experts consider “specific.” 70 operators and 200 agents operate in the region, but they are all small; there are practically no consolidators in this area. In addition, regional travel agencies sell vouchers only for Kamchatka, without transportation to the peninsula, - and this is the most sensitive Kamchatka issue. The transportation is taken by Aeroflot. Since the peak of the tourist season coincides with the summer holidays of the residents of Kamchatka, only a limited number of tourists have the opportunity to fly on the so-called “flat” fare of “Aeroflot.” As the relatively cheap tickets are bought up, difficult sales remain and expensive connections via Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, which are very heavy for many travelers.
Another problematic aspect is that today, it is estimated, up to half of the tours in Kamchatka are conducted by travel agencies that do not have proper state registration; and travelers do not live in hotels, but in private rented accommodation. Such services may cost travelers less, but if something happens - an acute question of responsibility (or rather, irresponsibility) arises. Also, “gray” tourism is poorly amenable to statistical accounting and practically does not provide revenues to the local budget.
For the civilized development of the industry, "it is necessary to reduce the cost of regular flights, develop tourism infrastructure and modernize airports, and this work is already being done at the federal and regional levels," the study says, referring to official documents and comments from regional officials.
What do search engines find?
Today, the main market players, according to the analysis of sites of travel agencies of the Kamchatka Territory, offer sightseeing tours, trips with climbing volcanoes, swimming in hot springs, trekking routes, boat trips, rafting, helicopter tours, fishing, horseback riding, traveling on snowmobiles or dog sleds, etc. The line, by the way, is extremely popular among travelers. Seasons in Kamchatka tourism are divided into summer-autumn and winter-spring. But who actually provides travel services in the region?
In the main unit of the study studied the "competitive field", an analysis of search queries and the issuance of the Internet. The result is puzzling. For example, the search for the keyword “Kamchatka Tourism” gives out more than 22 million results, there are many companies, but the proposals are of the same type, with a small difference in price. Therefore, “the client, with a high degree of probability, will select the services of the company with the best indexation index in search engines and beautiful design of the offer,” analysts suggest. But at the same time, Kamchatka tour operators, even large ones, “are poorly represented in search results”: “Leaders are far from always local companies, and in some cases not even companies, but individuals.” For example, on top request “Kamchatka Tour”, Yandex issues 7 local companies, one Moscow and two from St. Petersburg.
“The Google search engine demonstrates an even more“ distant ”picture from Kamchatka,” the authors of a marketing research report. “The most alarming is the modeling of an external (foreign) request for tours in the Kamchatka region. The top ten sites for “Kamchatka tourism” (search over VPN with IP in Japan) show that only one Kamchatka tourism organization - Vision of Kamchatka and two international with real tours - Australian and British appear in the top of the issue from abroad. . This indicates a weak attention of the Kamchatka business to the segment of Internet marketing.
“According to statistics, the top 10 issuance accounts for up to 90% of user transitions,” the document says. “Accordingly, all this traffic, measured in tens of thousands of requests, is still passing by the market leaders.” And this is a huge potential for the development of Kamchatka tourist companies, the researchers note. The consolidation of the marketing efforts of the business on the basis of the tourist-recreational cluster will help to reverse the situation, the document says.
Kamchatka put "huskies"
What attracts travelers to Kamchatka? What impressions do they leave from the peninsula? The authors of the study proposed two methods for studying “feedback” - a selective survey of tourists and analysis of reviews on popular travel websites.
Thus, a questionnaire using the modern SERVQUAL methodology was developed specifically to assess the satisfaction of travelers from a trip to Kamchatka. This kind of "waiting vs reality." According to the results of a selective survey of Russian tourists who flew to Kamchatka in the summer of 2018, the real impressions were slightly lower than expected. “On the whole, the expectations slightly exceed the real impressions: the travelers, unfortunately, are leaving Kamchatka not fully satisfied,” the authors write. - “Dissonance” is not big, not critical, - but it takes place. At the same time, the largest gap was revealed by the criterion of "persuasiveness" (this directly concerns service issues). And the parameter according to which expectations as a whole coincided with reality - “tangibility”. This means that people could fully penetrate the Kamchatka atmosphere, immerse themselves in the world of beautiful nature. ”
Reviews on popular Internet services - tripadvisor.com, otzovik.ru, subtlety.ru, as part of the study, were also “sorted out by bone.” 150 Russians and 50 foreign comments were chosen randomly, in 95% of them no specific travel agencies were mentioned - this presupposes the independence of published opinions. A curious nuance: emotionally colored positive reviews (47%) prevail among Russian speakers. Another 49% is a weighted and neutral comment. And only 4% reviews are frankly negative.
Foreigners who visited the Kamchatka Peninsula are a bit more “polar”: emotional “likes” put 53% of commentators, and the share of frankly negative reviews was 9%. The rest of 38% was weighted or neutral.
The main positive side of the holiday in Kamchatka, according to Russian tourists, is wildlife. Dissatisfaction among our compatriots is caused by the general high cost of Kamchatka: span, accommodation. "According to many tourists, prices for tours, hotels and services of tour operators are greatly overestimated, while the level of service is at an average level," - noted in the document.
Among foreign tourists, ecstatic moods regarding natural wonders are also prevailing - emotions are going wild. But especially sensitive concern domestic inconvenience, the cause of negative reviews also often becomes the level of service.
It would seem that the question of how to develop tourism in Kamchatka is not the first time it is asked. But well-structured answers, set out in understandable language and with concrete examples, are a ready-made strategic plan for everyone who is currently concerned about tourism on the peninsula. And travel companies that are included in the tourist and recreational cluster of the Kamchatka Territory are already receiving opportunities for a system “upgrade,” for a start, in terms of marketing.
Thus, the Cluster Development Center of the Kamchatka Territory recommends conducting high-quality work to develop a multifunctional tourist brand. Companies need to develop an umbrella brand “Tourist Kamchatka”, synchronizing it with the official brand styling of the Tourist Information Center of Kamchatka Krai. An important step towards success can be the birth of a single brand “Tourist Kamchatka”, “which will be presented in a basic way on the official tourist portal of the Kamchatka Krai (visitkamchatka.ru) and will be used in parallel by regional travel companies for positioning and promoting their products,” emphasizes the material. One of the first steps for specialists is to develop a universal brand book.
Translating into the philistine language, Kamchatka tourism should have uniform and recognizable icons, logo, slogans, brand photos and presentations on flat media. A multilanguage well-filled website with social network integration, 24 / 7 support, feedback forms and online booking is also required. “An important addition is the presence of real reviews from tourists, a section with information about the company, its details, information about travel insurance.” It is also necessary to inform tourists about possible risks, offer insurance services, and conduct appropriate professional training for guides. And, of course, it is worthwhile to hire guides who speak one or more foreign languages - this factor will automatically give you a head start over competitors.
According to EastRussia, at the end of the year, such a brand was developed on the initiative of the participants of the tourism and recreation cluster and with the support of the Cluster Development Center. At the initiative of the regional Agency for Tourism and External Relations a new brand was immediately taken to work. Thus, on the instructions of the Agency, the regional Tourist Information Center has released a whole line of information materials, made in a fresh style; in part, they have already been tested at the Days of the Far East in Moscow. In December, the site of the Tourist Information Center was rebuilt - now its structure is based on the best practices of tourist sites of the “close” territories of Kamchatka in other countries of the world. Soon, the Kamchatka tourist companies will be integrated on the basis of the site - both participants of the tourism and recreation cluster, and those who have not yet joined the cluster. And in the new year a large-scale presentation of the new brand is planned both in Kamchatka and at key tourist exhibitions in Russia, in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific countries.