Quality Tourism is alfa omega for Romania when promoting itself.
“ Romania always welcomes us with warmth “ , says Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as I talk to him about the rebranding of Romania at the International Conference on Integrated Quality Management in Tourism Destinations, organised by Autoritatea Națională pentru Turism and UNTWO.
When measuring success there are tangible and non tangible goals that we can look at. The human connection comes under those non- tangible goals that are full-filled, when traveling through Romania.
Quality comes with the individual’s experience of the five senses , what brings us together as human beings. Spending time in nature, eating wonderful food, music and dance, culture, history and so forth.
I agree with Mr. Taleb Rifai. The warm people I met in Romania are the ones who made the difference for my experience about Romania, and how this country’s soul just embraced my heart. The people I met took me to places and had me experience quality in all levels. I thank them for that. They also made me share beautiful and meaningful stories about Romania and the Romanians on all my social media channels, and in this way I promote Romania abroad, together with the ‘ambassadors’, the friends, of my page. We are nearly 19 000 at the moment.
Here are some keys about quality tourism and destination branding when it comes to preparing a campaign for an event, a place – or even a country, such as Romania.
Ask yourself, if you are an tourism organiser, this key question:
- Which are the stories that you wish for the tourist/visitor/traveler to share when visiting your place or participating in your event ?
The answer to that is the answer to how to prepare and carry out your activities and campaigns.
Let me exemplify it.
In Visina, Dobrogea has my, now dear friend Bianca her renovated Dobrogean house. Everything is thought through, both the interior that is traditional , and the exterior with a garden full of food and flowers. It’s like coming to the garden of Eden. I feel like becoming a poet when visiting her place !
When I arrive there, I am met by a smiling Bianca, who really put her soul into looking after the guests. I am meet by Radita who cooks the food and of course the food is locally grown, in the garden , and fish caught in the Delta, presented in a fabulous way in the patio. Bianca tells us the stories with enthusiasm and often through the handmade embroidered items she made. All is beautiful wherever we look.
We feel good there. We wish to come back !
Here comes the story-telling and the marketing made 2016.
The quality place branding and marketing of Bianca’s place comes when you and I share our stories from there : or pictures from her place and when we tell our friends, on all our social media channels, how well we were received , how tasty and healthy the natural food was , how serene and unique the landscape around the Delta is , how happy we were that Bianca had arranged for the guided tour, how happy our kids were when getting to milk the cow – just as Radita does it every day , and how fantastic it was to drink a glass of local Dobrogean wine in the evening, listening to the sounds of the animals living in the Delta.
That is quality tourism and quality destination branding. That is how Romania needs to promote itself on all levels in order to change the image abroad about Romania, in order to WOW people and make people curious and making the step to actually book a ticket to Romania and come and visit.
Whatever sector within tourism it is, be it food, churches, adventure sports, history, mountains, traditions and so forth, we need to think quality on all levels, so that the experience in Romania will be 100% positive !
Yes indeed, we want WOW the traveler coming to visit Romania. We want to WOW them, so they want to come back. We want WOW them so that their friends also wish to come and visit.
Compare that to when things don’t work.
Compare it to a sour, grumpy , non-service minded person receiving us, food that is not local ( it’s Romania and there is an abundance of fantastic food ! ) and not presented with all the hostess heart, being offered a non-local wine and an international ( non Romanian ) breakfast. Compare it to meeting a person, working in tourism, but being non-solution minded. Compare it to meeting ‘plastic fantastic’ at the souvenir stand instead of quality ceramics from Horezu for example.
We need to maximise every micro-moment that the tourist has in Romania ! Many micro moments build up to one full experience ! Micro moments are also those moments when the traveler share on social media “ Wow, Bianca is so friendly and I wish to stay forever in Visina” or “ Gee, what a bummer , only plastic souvenirs outside the medieval church “ .
It needs to be a 360 degree, full on quality experience ! Oh, when we talk about sharing stories on the net. Don’t underestimate the importance of having well functioning wifi at your place ! A hotel / pension with poor wifi needs to think again.
Both stories can happen on social media , where people are and share experiences.
The mobile phone is a game changer in most sectors and this , what I just described, is the internet of the tourism sector. The customers are empowered. Mr. Taleb Rifai is saying that “people are more important than governments”.
Small is the new big. The younger segment of travelers don’t want to sit in a bus with 40 people being taken from place to place. No. Tourism is becoming more and more niched and personalized.
I strongly believe in the possibility that the net gives us, when it comes to democratisation processes and giving people more insight and quickly organise ourselves for better causes. This goes with tourism too. A place, a destination, a country can, very fast, ‘ go viral’ and become interesting due to social media.
It’s time for Romania now to show, unified, the world what this amazing country is all about !
The last words from Mr. Taleb Rifai captures the power of traveling. He said that “the more people travel, the better the world becomes. “