In order to implement consistent regional marketing in tourism, the umbrella brand "Weserbergland" was initiated.
The umbrella brand increases the attractiveness of the Weserbergland touristic region through specific concentration of services and joint marketing activities.
Weserbergland is a rural holiday region in Lower-Saxony. It is home to a large number of touristic sites (rural, urban) and activities and as such it is one of four touristic destinations in Lower Saxony.
The touristic sites are managed and marketed by many different private and public stakeholders. The umbrella brand "Weserbergland" was initiated in order to increase the attractiveness of the touristic region and to achieve a better coordination and bundling of tourist services. The idea was to focus on tourists with a particular interest in the region and to organize and improve the cooperation between the various stakeholders.
The umbrella brand "Weserbergland" was implemented administratively as a regional link between the national and statewide tourism initiatives and the local initiatives, small-scale offerings and stakeholders. Marketing and communication campaigns are initiated centrally, quality standards are established (e.g. for accommodation, gastronomy), regional image building is promoted and a central communication platform for customer acquisition is provided via the umbrella brand.
The core task is the acquisition of new customers.
The costs for activities and necessary personnel are covered by the membership fees and subsidies. The budget is 750,000 € p.a.
Evidence of success
Between 2006 and 2016, economic value added in the tourism segment rose from a total of 922 million euros to 1.09 billion euros (plus 18.3 percent). The number of overnight stays in the Weserbergland also rose from 2.61 million in 2004 to 3.3 million in 2015. This represents an increase of 23 percent.
A central challenge is, of course, to communicate and integrate the different expectations and needs of all stakeholders involved.
Potential for learning or transfer
For rural, less densely populated regions, it is difficult to be noticed as an attractive travel destination by potential customers. Through the systematic regional pooling of tasks such as marketing campaigns, market research, establishing quality standards, image building and lobbying, a higher degree of effectiveness and awareness is achieved. The Weserbergland region has successfully focused on common strengths in tourism (cycling, hiking, historical sites), thereby creating a recognizable profile as a tourist destination.
By establishing the umbrella brand, a link was established between the top-down initiatives of the State of Lower Saxony (Ministry of Economic Affairs, "TourismusMarketing Niedersachsen") and the local activities and stakeholders (tourist information offices, hotels, city guides, etc.). The umbrella brand is responsible for the acquisition of new customers, while customer care remains in the hands of the local stakeholders.