Internet and Tourism
Internet is growing and so is the travel industry. The cyberspace has changed how people travel today. The customary travel agent has been replaced by the abundant information, convenient planning and booking options available online. People are making crucial travel destination choices themselves, the Internet and social media is playing a crucial role in aiding these choices. By the end of this year, digital travel sales in India will account to $9.42B, an increase of 14.8 % compared to previous year (Source: Emarketer)
Tourism and India
Over the past decade domestic tourism in India has flourished owing to a rise in disposable income and growing interest to experiment with new destinations. This has resulted in a 14.5% revenue growth in 2014 alone. Indians are exploring India like never before.
(Source: State / Union Territory Tourism Departments)(Figures in Mn)
Not only are the popular states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala growing rapidly, but new states like Gujarat and Rajasthan that were previously not on the tourist map recorded high tourist footfalls of over 30 mn in 2014 with a growth of about 10% over previous year.
Tourism and Diu
While bulk of Indian tourists were visiting always popular states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, Diu was falling short in attracting visitors. These states were advertising heavily but Diu had not promoted itself even once.
Diu, tucked away in the southern extremity of Gujarat, this far flung location keeps this island out of sight and hence out of mind for most Indians. The tourism numbers witnessed a decline of 3% in 2014 over the previous year.
It did not feature in any traveller’s must-visit-place.
Unheard, unknown island
We began with understanding what tourist thought of Diu and what prevented them to visiting this island. As we started the research, what unfolded was surprising. Of the 500 people we surveyed across India, less than 10% had even heard of an island called Diu and of them only 2% could accurately pin point Diu on a map. So our first challenge was to put an unknown island on India’s tourist map
Watering hole for a few
The few who knew of Diu, knew it for the wrong reasons! Since Gujarat is a dry state, Diu became their watering hole for the unsavoury, a place where they got access to cheap alcohol thus marring the imagery of the island. But contrary to what it was known for, Diu is a serene, tranquil getaway from the hustle bustle of city life. It is an undiscovered gem with pristine beaches, rich heritage, Portuguese architecture & good food.
A small island in a sea of big spenders
For destination advertising, budget is most critical since we are not selling an off-the-shelf product where other factors such as price, retail presence, promotion etc. play a big role in its sales. Destination marketing is all about feeding into people’s aspirations and selling them a dream, for which the production quality, imagery, romancing the destination itself plays a vital role.
And more so ever for Diu, which was unknown. We had to build an imagery, romance the destination, bring alive its pristine beauty and make it irresistible for tourists to visit. However being a small union territory, budgets were restricted – just 20% spends compared to states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, yet the expectations were equally high - To deliver the same results within that small budget.
Diu, had huge challenges before itself:
1) Put an otherwise unknown island on the tourist map
2) Change the perception people had of DIU. No more “Watering Hole” or “a day trip”
3) Break away from tourism clichés and build a unique imagery for Diu
Our objective was to create intrigue amongst the online travel mongers about this exotic new island destination. This would act as a momentum builder to the launch campaign.
1) Indians are enamored by foreign locations. We are looking for experiential destinations which takes us away from the scorching heat of our country to someplace exotic.
(Source: Skyscanner travel trends 2014)
2) In a fast world where most of our TG were city dwellers who led busy and hectic lives, they are trying to balance between work and family, chaotic and exhausting, giving no time to themselves.
We decided to position Diu as the ideal place to take a break from their busy lives and get in touch with themselves. Away from the noisy and crowded resorts at hill stations and beaches. A place as exotic as the Santorini or the Caribbean. World’s best kept secret.
We branded Diu as the island of calm, a slice of Europe within our country by banking upon its rich Portuguese heritage and capitalize on the premium Indians placed on anything seemingly foreign.