Switzerland Tourism ST’s first national autumn campaign showed the golden season in all its glory. A range of online and offline measures were used to attract visitors – mainly from within Switzerland – to take a short trip to the Alps at a time of year that has much to offer – not least the magical quality of the light, resplendent colours and array of delicious cuisine. The success of the measures is reflected in figures showing that the number of overnight hotel stays increased in autumn compared with 2017.

The persistently warm autumn weather also contributed to the good results, as did the cable car and mountain railway promotion with new strategic premium partner Raiffeisen. Thanks to the discounted tickets made available in the cable car and mountain railway promotion, around 33,000 Raiffeisen customers were able to enjoy the spellbinding autumn atmosphere in the Alps.

Quiz

What was the number of hotel nights for the autumn months of September and October 2018?

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For the Alpine region, the Federal Statistical Office registered 2,569,169 overnight hotel stays for September and October 2018 added together. This is 4.4% more than in 2017.

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Swiss visitors book short stays in the mountains in autumn

ST published autumn offers and holiday ideas from partner destinations on the website at MySwitzerland.com/autumn. The page received over 360,000 views. In designing the campaign (including content production, offers and distribution), ST drew on the results of the Tourism Monitor Switzerland (TMS) 2017 survey, Europe’s biggest national tourism survey.

These results clearly show the typical profile of an autumn traveller: in most cases a Swiss person who has decided spontaneously to take a short trip lasting between one and three nights. Mountain destinations are particularly popular among travellers of this kind, who tend to be price-sensitive and interested in special offers and discounts. Travellers at this time of year are looking in particular for relaxation, experiences and good food. Sports opportunities, events and attractions in the evening are also factors they consider when deciding. Experience also shows that autumn visitors tend to travel spontaneously. To help those who like to book at the last minute, ST set up a special webcam page. This provided a direct view of the Swiss autumn landscape at several destinations, with links to accompanying holiday ideas.

 

In autumn, the average length of stay for Swiss guests visiting the Alpine region has fallen from 2.05 days to 1.97 days (- 3.9%) over the last five years according to the Federal Statistical Office. By contrast, over the same period, the number of arrivals has risen by 9.9%, while the number of overnight stays by Swiss guests in the mountains has gone up from 2014 to 2018 by 5.6%.

User Generated Content

Another measure was to draw on user generated content. Content of this kind is more convincing than advertising content, because it makes a more authentic impression. To gather user generated content, ST encouraged people to take pictures during their autumn breaks and holidays, and ran an accompanying competition – supported by strategic partner Valser.

This led to over 9,500 pictures being submitted. ST used these pictures for the “autumn picture of the day” feature on Swiss TV channels SRF 1, RTS 1 and RSI LA 1, where they were shown before the weather programme. This feature ran for the whole of September and October, generating 50 million contacts. In the print area, the pictures were used in four editions of the free newspaper “Blick am Abend”. The result was that 2.27 million readers saw the pictures in all their vibrant colours, making an autumn holiday look very appealing. The pictures of the day were also posted on the new “Blick Heimat” Instagram page, with over 36,000 followers at the time, to create what is known in the social media age as FOMO (fear of missing out). The way that ST deployed user generated content on Swiss TV was truly groundbreaking. The cooperation with Coop and Betty Bossi in the form of magazines, special offers and influencer trips generated additional contacts – 6.9 million for Coop and its culinary platform Fooby alone.

Support from the sector

The separate autumn campaign enjoyed great support in the sector. ST benefited from the strong involvement of partners, which increased the bundling of resources and market penetration. In addition, having autumn as a standalone season diversifies the range of offers available in Switzerland as a holiday destination. It also boosts the mountain regions by making them less dependent on weather conditions. Many suppliers of tourist services extended their opening times and developed offers and holiday ideas tailored to the needs of holidaymakers. The upturn in tourism over the autumn period made an impact across the board, both in the mountains and in lower-lying regions.

Facts and Figures
Autumn campaign
  2018
Budget CHF million 4.2
Share of total budget % 4.6
Target markets   CH, DE, IT, FR
Page views MySwitzerland.com*   391,422
Top advertising and marketing contacts million 114
Media contacts (readers, viewers, listeners) million 290
Top Media Articles   111
Participants on ST press trips   65
*Only includes hits on pages containing content specifically relating to the autumn campaign.