Cooperation With Tourism Organisations
The experience of past European Capitals of Culture has shown that close collaboration with tourism organisations and cultural institutions is conducive, if no indispensable, to the success of the project as a whole. This is why Linz09 insisted from the start on collaborating closely with local (Tourist Board Linz / TVL), regional (Oberösterreich Tourismus / OÖ Tourismus) and national tourist organisations (Österreich Werbung / ÖW). Strategic partners were also other regional tourism organisations, above all in Salzkammergut, and the Landesausstellung and the Landesgartenschau. The promotion and the realisation of the Culture Capital made it seem imperative to utilize all the synergies available.
The Tourist Board Linz and Linz09 jointly developed a marketing plan which took into account the needs of both partners. It was cast in the form of a Project Realisation Agreement and presented to the press in December 2007. This included outlines of the project’s basic marketing in terms of tourism, the creation of common media and strategies of scene and relationship marketing. The tasks of customer liaison, contacts with tour organisers and travel agencies and the creation of bookable products were assigned to TVL, whereas Linz09’s task was to provide the events that were to be the basis for these products.
The collaboration between Linz09 and Oberösterreich Tourismus and/or Österreich Werbung was likewise coordinated and fine-tuned by TVL. The measures concerned above all trade fairs, location presentations (e.g. in Germany and in the Czech Republic), inserts in leaflets and catalogues of tourism organisations and marketing activities such as newsletters and press trips. OÖ Tourismus regularly put Linz09 highlights on the welcome page of its website. ÖW provided a separate Linz09 channel on its website. Between 2007 and 2009 several joint campaigns were staged in Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Central Europe (most notably in the Czech Republic and in Poland) and particularly in Germany, where Linz09 stood to benefit from the LINZ EUROPA TOUR WEST. Cooperations also materialized with incoming agencies, such as Neckermann, TUI, Ruefa Reisen and Railtour Suisse.
Examples of the in-depth collaboration between TVL and Linz09 as regards information and ticketing management have already been mentioned above. What has also been mentioned already are jointly realised, coverage-efficient print media supplements, cooperative ventures with publishers and the promotion booklet “Linz. Willkommen”. High priority, particularly with a view to ensuring a lasting effect, was given to the concerted work involving media representatives, delegations and study groups. This area was rounded off with workshops for the staffs of partner organisations important in terms of the promotion of sales, such as the ÖBB, Linz Airport and bus companies.
Together with Austria Guides and the Economic Chamber of Upper Austria, TVL and Linz09 developed a new concept for guided city tours that was able to do justice to Linz in its latest incarnation and to the programme of Linz09. The results were lively presentations of the city’s history, improvements in the quality of service and more memorable experiences for visitors. Even though guided tours in Culture Capital Year were part of the Linz09 Card and therefore, strictly speaking, no longer free of charge, as they had been in the previous year, the demand was enormous: in 2009 three times as many people took part in guided tours compared with the previous year, and compared with 2004 the number of guided tours went up tenfold.
Linz Tourist Information and, afterwards, the Linz09 Infocenter regularly dispatched a so-called “Frühstücksmail” [Breakfast mail] to hotels and other businesses active in the sector of tourism and to interested individuals. Containing information on what was in store on that day in terms of Linz09 events, the breakfast mail never failed to draw attention to the Neuner. Relevant events were tagged with the Linz09 logo and the Tip of the Day also contributed to highlighting Linz09’s programme.
The Linz Tourist Board threw all its weight behind the way the city presented itself in Culture Capital Year under the motto of “Linz. Verändert,” and the propositions of “The Big Picture”. This contributed substantially to the branding process. The Tourist Board also waived the possibility of introducing its own merchandising line, preferring instead to make synergetic use of Linz09’s range of products. As has already been mentioned above, the Linz09 website featured an information portal for tourism which was linked to the Tourist Board website.
As regards so-called scene marketing, the Tourist Board saw a particularly great potential in programme formats that contained an explicit reference to Linz, such as HÖRSTADT, the opera KEPLER and INSTANT ANTON. Another important factor relevant to Linz’s positioning as a destination attractive for cultural tourists in Culture Capital Year and beyond was the concerted utilization of social networks, whose members would spread the word on Linz09 to potential guests. It was the Tourist Board that orchestrated the necessary measures on behalf of Linz09. Workshops were organised based on a Tourist Board leaflet, “Linz, Botschafter”, with the aim of equipping potential “ambassadors” with the expertise needed for that job. The necessary material was also available for downloading on the Tourist Board’s website. www.linz.at/tourismus/botschafter
A great deal of effort was invested by Linz09, TVL, OÖ Tourismus and ÖW into Linz09’s presence at different trade fairs in 2007 to 2009; 2008 was decisive for the promotion of the Culture Capital. Linz09 was represented in conjunction with the TVL at the specialist trade fairs ACTB Vienna, Internationale Tourismusbörse Berlin, BIT Milano, RDA Köln and at the public fairs Tourist Linz and Ferienmesse Wien. ÖW introuced the Culture Capital at the opening press conference of the ACTB 2008 as a tourist magnet of the first order. In two subsequent years Linz09 was able to strengthen the presence of its corporate brand at the ACTB by operating its own Linz09 cafeteria. (Press release ACTB´08 and ACTB´09)
At the 2008 ITB, the largest tourism fair in the world, Linz09 succeeded in positioning Linz as a modern, culturally vibrant city. A stand with two special exhibits helped capture the imagination of the visitors. It displayed a work by the Linz artist Rainer Nöbauer, “Greifhandschuhe” [Prehensile gloves], which had been part of the exhibition SCHAURAUSCH in early summer 2007, and a version of the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s “Librovision”, which was a large-scale virtual catalogue for the turning of whose pages a mere gesture was sufficient. As part of a comprehensive promotion, roughly 10,000 Linz09 tote bags stuffed with publicity materials and entry forms for a competition that featured a weekend in Linz as the top prize were distributed at the doors. Österreich Café served Linzer Torte and hot beverages together with Linz09 branded sugar sachets in Linz09 mugs. A Linz09 side event, featuring among other things a panel discussion of the CEOs of Ruhr.2010 and Linz09, was attended by roughly 100 journalists, tourism experts and people involved in the area of culture. (first and second press release to ITB´08)
In the light of Culture Capital Year the Province of Upper Austria decided to stage a historic first: the province’s two major exhibitions, normally scheduled to take place in alternate years, were both put on in 2009. The Landesaustellung “Mahlzeit” was shown in Schlierbach and the Landesgartenschau “Botanica” in Bad Schallerbach. In selecting the two venues, easy accessibility from Linz, which would put them within comfortable reach from Linz, was a top consideration. A package was developed for the promotion of these three major events that contained common print products, a website, advertisements, publicity material and crossover marketing measures. In addition to this, Linz09 was also represented at the Landesgartenschau 2007 in Vöcklabruck with playground equipment in the shape of the Linz09 logo. The theme park of Bad Schallerbach featured a Linz09 exhibit that enabled visitors to “eavesdrop“ on Vilnius.
TIEFENRAUSCH had laid a first trail from Salzkammergut to the future Culture Capital in 2008. Installations at the Traunsee (Press release Bubbles) and in the entrance area of the Dachstein Ice Caves(Press release Iceberg-probe), supplemented in each case by dispensers stocked with Linz09 leaflets and information material, made not only the people who live in the region aware of Linz09 but also holiday makers and tourists. Linz09 entered into cooperation agreements with local tourism associations and hoteliers: these offered trips to Linz as an option; information on the highlights of Linz09 was made available to guests and included in newsletters, advertisements and on websites, and such articles as Linz09 deckchairs helped the brand take root also in Salzkammergut. Gmunden Tourist Information Agency even adorned its facade with a Linz09 motif and handled enquiries and ticket sales on behalf of Linz09. In 2009 the Culture Capital and its CIRCUS paid the Salzkammergut a flying visit, which was reciprocated when the tourist region Attersee turned up at TIEFENRAUSCH in the shape of a diving tower erected in Linz’s OK Platz.
Approximately 70 partners in the field of tourism across all of Upper Austria, e.g. from Steyr, Enns, Bad Ischl and Geinberg, included a stay in Linz and/or a theme specific offer in their packages and and stocked the Linz09 Card.