The biggest cities of the world always have something happening within them, however, there are many smaller cities in the world where big events happen from time to time.
Hospitality industry in these areas chooses a course of support for these events and tries to benefit from them. But in most cases hotels and restaurants are not prepared for big events, and the strategies chosen by the hotel and restaurant managers lack constructive approach and future vision.
The past EURO-2012 in Poland and Ukraine is a classic example. According to TIG Global analyses made with previous EURO football events, countries need to have uniform strategy for event support. Otherwise, the smaller cities will only become spots for football matches, and the hotel occupancy will only increase at the night of event. This year, Poland and Ukraine, despite their overall cooperation at the UEFA level, chose a different strategy during the EURO-2012.
While Ukrainian hotels were raising prices for accommodation without the improvement of the service level, Polish hoteliers were closely working together with local governments to ensure greater amount of visitors even during the football matches in big cities of Ukraine. Therefore, airline connection between Poland and Ukraine was enabled, football teams were invited at a discount rate, and the overall city infrastructure was catering for the needs of the tourists.
In Ukraine, the money spent for infrastructure was used boldly without any understanding of the needs of football fans. The transportation system was hardly refurbished, hospitals could not serve foreigners as the English language knowledge of the personnel was very poor, and the hotels only increased prices without offering any substantial benefits for the tourists.
These examples of country strategy during big events reveal how the country strategy towards the events in local areas helps generate increase in tourist arrivals in the future. Therefore, considering the lessons learned from EURO-2012, the following points are to be considered by hospitality industry leaders:
– It is essential that the strategy for events is uniform for both the hospitality industry leaders and the government.
- Local government needs to invest more in infrastructure instead of boldly spending the budgets for transport refurbishment.
- Prior to raising prices, hoteliers need to think whether the visitors can afford such expenses and what extra benefits can be offered for the difference in accommodation rates.
- Strategies have to be generated locally and approved at the overall country level, not vise versa.
- Countries need to think whether the cities cater for both the events themselves and the needs of the visitors. In this case, tourist attractions have to be developed and properly advertised.
- Each city taking part in the country event should have a separate marketing strategy and image.
Without consideration of these steps, big events will flow like sand through your fingers, and you will not be able to catch the benefits brought to your local area with visitors and generated interest.