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Europe is investing here

Content creation and content marketing
for the travel region Saale-Unstrut in the sense of an Open Data strategy

Implementation period: 15.01.2020 - 30.06.2020

"Content is king." Bill Gates already stated this in an essay in 1996. With this, he describes the strategy of using content to draw users' attention to the company and its products, thereby gaining new customers in the long term. According to surveys, 70 percent of Internet users prefer to learn new things about products through content marketing rather than traditional advertising.

Especially in tourism, this approach is suitable for drawing potential guests' attention to a destination with creative and engaging content. Travel turns people into storytellers!

But not only textually well prepared stories attract people's attention. The visualization of experiences strengthens the interest of users. This applies to meaningful and emotional photos as well as to moving images. The importance of videos in content marketing is increasing.

For travellers, emotions are in the foreground, while for tourism professionals, the product comes first. If the customer can identify with the advertised product, this arouses sympathy and creates trust. Therefore, it is important to combine these components in content marketing.

Content is very relevant along the customer journey. Through good storytelling, people are inspired, search for more information and eventually book a trip. And that's only because they became aware of the destination through good content. Content also plays a big role during and after the trip - keyword user generated content. Young travelers often choose destinations based on whether they present themselves well on the Instagram platform. Travelers are inspired by the stories and reports of other travelers. It is therefore not surprising that bloggers and influencers are playing an increasingly important role in tourism marketing.

Digitalisation is influencing almost all areas of society. The tourism industry is also facing up to this challenge and taking advantage of the resulting opportunities. On the one hand, technical innovations and developments open up opportunities to target guests at various touchpoints, but they also bring with them changes in the communication and consumer behaviour of society, to which it is necessary to react. This also poses challenges for Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. as a regional tourist association in the south of Saxony-Anhalt. It is necessary to find innovative solutions and flexible structures, especially with regard to content and the associated marketing strategy.

In 2019, the association has reached an important milestone in the area of digitization and content management with the implementation of a regional database and the associated creation of a regional content network. The task now is to fill this database with target group-specific content, create it and prepare it for the corresponding output channels. Within the database, the relevant content is already structured according to and thus prepared in a way that can be read and captured by global players such as Google and Co. In terms of an Open Data strategy, it is of great importance to create photos and videos with Open Data suitable licenses and to make them available to the World Wide Web. Only in this way will we, as a travel region, be found online by guests in the future and be able to stand up to our competitors.

For these reasons, the planned project is of immense importance. The goal is to create content according to the open data strategy and to play it out along the customer journey in order to make potential guests aware of the Saale-Unstrut travel region, to inspire them and, ideally, to encourage them to book a trip.

The most important task of Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. is the promotion of tourism. The strengthening of the local tourism and cultural economy is the purpose of our actions. Within the framework of this project, the offers of our destinations and service providers (SMEs) take centre stage and are sustainably advertised and strengthened against competitors on the market.

The planned project complements the tourism strategy of the state of Saxony-Anhalt in an excellent way. The content created with it can be equally used and made available at the state level for the promotion of Saxony-Anhalt as a tourist destination.

Content and scope of the project

With the project "Content creation and content marketing for the travel region Saale-Unstrut in the sense of an open data strategy" target group relevant texts, pictures and videos are to be created and played out at different touchpoints of the customer journey in order to inspire, inform and animate (potential) guests to book a trip.

Various measures are therefore planned as part of the project.

First of all, information and image texts are to be created and adapted in a search engine optimised manner. These texts must be written in German and English, entered into the regional database and displayed on the Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. website. The translation function DeepL is to be used to translate the texts into English. Thus, the texts will be translated in real time and all information of the German-language site can be presented to the guest in English as well. This means a greatest possible service for foreign-language visitors of the region website. The website is the region's shop window. Here the (potential) guest receives inspiration and information at the same time.

Photo shoots lasting several days are to be used to create meaningful and inspiring images. Destinations, scenic highlights and offers of our tourism stakeholders (SMEs) will be depicted here. The photos are to be acquired as CC0 license, in the Open Data suitable format. This makes it possible to provide these photos to the SMEs for use and thus to use them for their own marketing.

A short clip should capture the special features of our region within 60 seconds and serve as a source of inspiration right at the beginning of the customer journey. It is planned to play out this short clip via various communication channels (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, website, etc.) and to bring it to the target group. This measure is to be combined with a competition in order to directly involve the (potential) guest in the communication and to achieve greater reach on the social media channels. This measure is accompanied by various content marketing activities in the direct vicinity (around 300 km) of Saale-Unstrut. Under the title "Only a stone's throw away", the aim is to draw attention to the experiences in Saale-Unstrut and to inspire and acquire guests to make a short-term trip to Saale-Unstrut after the Corona pandemic. In this context, it is planned to place an advertorial in the magazine "Merian Deutschland" together with the Saxony-Anhalt Investment and Marketing Company.

The Corona pandemic requires an adjustment of the communication with the guests. During this time, the implementation of classic marketing is hardly possible. In order to remain in contact with our guests, greetings in the form of concerts by regional artists are to be broadcast to the world. These concerts will take place at special locations in the Saale-Unstrut region, will be broadcast live and will be used afterwards as a clip for further use in marketing as content.

In the context of content marketing, the use of bloggers and influencers plays an increasingly important role in communicating travel experiences in Saale-Unstrut to their community and making recommendations. Through the use of these multipliers, content about the Saale-Unstrut region is generated on the one hand and played out directly to a specific target group on the other. Through blogger cooperation, content is to be newly created and acquired in order to post it on the website and distribute it.

In addition to bloggers and influencers, press media are also important partners for the creation and distribution of content. In cooperation with a press agency, the press work is to be further expanded. Through the regular creation and dispatch of press releases, current topics and stories from the Saale-Unstrut holiday region are disseminated nationally.

In addition to the extensive creation and distribution of digital content for the region, we must not forget the distribution of content via print products. Here we want to pick up the guest when he is already in the region. Our task is to make the guest's stay as eventful and uncomplicated as possible. We would like to take them by the hand and offer them well-prepared adventure tours and walks that are easy to take along. These are intended to show the guest the possibilities of independently discovering various highlights of the region. The "tour sheets" contain a map with the marked course of the path, the sights located there as well as possibilities for refreshments. This is an explicit way of advertising our SMEs such as restaurants, wineries, etc., which offer guests the opportunity to stop off and take a break. Also, the references to barrier-free offers should not be neglected at this point, but explicitly communicated with corresponding information.

- Increase reach on social media channels by 10 %
- Integration of at least ten SMEs in the "tour sheets".
- Increase in the number of overnight stays by 2 %
- Creation and distribution of at least five short clips (concerts and regional short clip)
- Creation of at least 50 photos with CC0 license
- Publication of at least three blog posts and integration of this content on the website
- Publication of at least 20 press articles (print and online)
- Raising the profile of Saale-Unstrut
- Image enhancement for the Saale-Unstrut travel region

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Saale-Unstrut and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Naumburg Cathedral -Guest address in the national and international market-

Naumburg Cathedral is the heart of a special cultural landscape: Saale-Unstrut. Nowhere else in the world has such a high density of castles, palaces, cathedrals and monasteries from the High Middle Ages to the present day been preserved in such a small area. The historic buildings proudly tower above the charming landscape of terraced vineyards and idyllic river valleys.

The unique works of art of the founder figures in the west choir not only made the "most beautiful woman of the Middle Ages" a reality Margravine Utabut also its creator, the "Naumburg Master", world famous. With the oldest stone sculpture of the saint Elisabeth of Thuringia, the windows designed by Neo Rauch with scenes from the life of Saint Elisabeth and the altar wings created by Lucas Cranach, other precious art treasures can be found in the cathedral and cathedral treasure vault.
Together with the Cathedral treasure vault and the 2011 opened Cathedral Garden Naumburg Cathedral is an outstanding cultural travel destination all year round.

With more than 120,000 visitors per year, Naumburg Cathedral is considered a beacon of the tourism music industry in the region. Since its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2018, it has recorded an increase in visitors of 20 %. The entire Saale-Unstrut region benefits from the positive and extensive media attention, because an increased demand for visitors is also registered at the tourist information offices and by the tourism service providers (SMEs).

The aim of the project "Saale-Unstrut and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Naumburg Cathedral" is to extend the public attention that Naumburg Cathedral currently receives to the entire Saale-Unstrut tourism region and to establish links to other offers (product development) in order to increase brand awareness and attract more guests to the region. At the same time, in addition to the constantly maintained tourist offer around the Naumburg Cathedral, a focus is already to be placed on the marketing of the jubilee "20 years of garden dreams" in 2020, which is equally important for the state of Saxony-Anhalt and Saale-Unstrut.

Both the national and the international market are the focus of the planned activities.

The most important task of the Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. is the promotion of tourism. The strengthening of the local tourism and cultural economy is the purpose of our activities. Thereby, the offers of our excursion destinations and service providers (SME) move into the centre of attention and are advertised sustainably and strengthened against competitors on the market.

The planned project complements the tourism strategy of the state of Saxony-Anhalt in an excellent way and strengthens the profile themes "Romanesque", "UNESCO World Heritage" and "Garden Dreams".

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Creation of a personnel position to ensure the guest service and office organisation of the Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. in Naumburg in connection with the implementation of the master plan "Reorganisation of the tourism promotion of the Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V.

The Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. was founded in 2002 and has since then functioned as a regional tourism association in the south of Saxony-Anhalt. The association currently has 70 members, including the Burgenlandkreis and Saalekreis districts, towns such as Naumburg, Weißenfels, Zeitz and Merseburg, as well as association communities and tourism players such as hotels, excursion destinations/museums and active providers.
The most important task of the Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. is the promotion of tourism, which takes place in close cooperation with its members.

The association is an important partner and interface between the municipalities and service providers with regard to the marketing of their tourism offers. The Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. is a networker and provider of ideas.
Its mission is to strengthen regional and local, social and cultural identity in order to achieve a credible and authentic image of the entire region. Only a clear positioning will create the basis for new and further development of tourism products. Guests and tourists should become aware of the beauty and uniqueness of the region, internalize it and feel permanently connected to it.

Thus the following objectives determine the work of the association:
- Increasing awareness of the region as an attractive national and international travel destination
- Development of a high image
- Increase in customer numbers
- Increase of the service quality
- Further development of tourism potentials and attractions

Financing is provided through membership fees, project financing, sponsoring and refinancing of measures.

The master plan "Reorganisation of the tourism promotion of the Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V.", which was adopted by the general meeting of the association in 2013, defines an extended field of tasks for the association and the office. The master plan lists the necessity of at least four full-time positions for its implementation. Currently, the office is staffed by three full-time employees and one part-time employee. To date, extensive reorganisation measures have been implemented and new areas of responsibility such as continuous press work, increased external marketing or stronger networking of the tourism players have been integrated into the day-to-day business of the office.

Due to the extensive scope of duties, the ever-increasing expectations of guests and the growing interest in the Saale-Unstrut region, including the nomination of Naumburg Cathedral as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 1 July 2018, the scope of activities in the office has again increased. A smooth operation can hardly be maintained by four employees. The creation of a staff position to ensure guest service and office organisation is therefore absolutely necessary.

Ensuring the ongoing operation of the Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V. office and the associated guest services

Job description:
- Answering of guest inquiries as well as individual advice by telephone, e-mail/Internet and letter
- Accommodation service with the help of the regional booking system
- Editing of guest notes
- Regular quality assurance, participation in training courses and quality assurance measures (further training)
- Preparation and implementation of certifications and classifications (Q-seal, classification of holiday homes)
- Preparation and provision of tourist data incl. photo database for own use and transfer to marketing partners
- Preparation of data from market research and statistics
- Regular information for tourism partners on trends, current developments and participation opportunities (creation of the monthly newsletter for tourism partners)
- Coordination of the brochure display at around 100 information points in the Saale-Unstrut region
- Maintenance and control of the prospectus inventory
- Organisation and coordination of internal association events (room booking, organisation of catering, sending out invitations and monitoring the return of registrations, etc.)
- Activities of general office organization (incoming and outgoing mail, inventory control and reordering of office supplies, etc.)

The project is financed by the ESF Operational Programme.

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