Baltics turn into the new Mediterranean, what does this mean for Finnish travel industry?
At Visit Finland we receive a lot of inquiries about the German market changes. Many Finnish understand the German outbound travel market to be the same as the clients we already have had to Finland. This means either campers or retired people stressing their way to the North Cape leaving the garbage in Finland and the rest has been pretty niche.
Hereby Finland market share has been less than 0.5 % and the wide majority has not considered Finland or Scandinavia as a travel destination. A major shift has started 3-4 years ago starting from the west; Iceland, Norway, Sweden and now also Finland are boosting on many markets.
According to our studies in 2016 with the “Reiseanalyse” we finally saw a positive change for Finland after a 20 years stagnation. Here 9 main reasons for the development according to our business intelligence:
- Geopolitical changes: many classic destinations at Mediterranean are having political issues, instability or are full. At overseas there is increased instability.
- Security: Finland is recognized as one of the safest destination to travel to. For Germans safety has become the most important criteria when choosing a destination.
- Climate change: makes the Finnish summer longer and our winter unique in Europe with snow at sea level. Perfect for active holidays whatever season.
- Consumer values change: Millenials and the Z generation want to be active. Instead of the “Teutonic grill” at Mediterranean, now authenticity and experiences define the future of travel
- Social media: has increased the visibility of Finland dramatically in the past years. There are no white spots any more on the Finnish map.
- Digitalization: Booking, Air BnB and similar services have already changed the Finnish travel industry making our small accommodations bookable globally. Next step are activities, which are coming to digital channel via different platforms like Bokun. Also, the possibilities of big data in marketing makes us visible to interested consumers when they are looking and booking holidays.
- Trend to Nordic values: personal freedom, enjoying pure nature and relaxed lifestyle is a dream of many consumers and it can be found in Finland.
- Availability: The accessibility has increased remarkably via air. Finnair continues its expansion with 26 % more seats between Germany and Finland in the summer 2018. Numerous direct seasonal connections are developing new kind of travel possibilities and patterns. This on top of the availability which digital channels give for services, it seems the outlook remain positive.
- Activity: The year 2015 marked a year of change in increasing amount of activities as Finnish Travel Industry and Visit Finland re-enter the German Travel Market. Regional initiatives, sales managers coming to sales events and the hard foot work on fam trips and sales calls has increased the volume of production 2016 to 2017 with 36 % in number of products at sales channels. This results in additional sales. Lesson: when availability is given the demand for Finland is there.
So what does these changes mean for the Finnish Travel Industry?
In 1977 Finland was at the same level as Norway at the German market. We had Kuopio and Rovaniemi as Neckermann Reisen charter destinations in the summer. It is possible to come back to the same level as Norway today. In today’s volumes, we have to triple the volumes in the summer period. In Winter Finland is already the Nordic leader and to have a balanced business we need to develop the shoulder seasons at the same time.
How do we do this?
Visit Finland has redefined the most potential product groups and the main brand theme. Slow Finland with its seven unique Finnish highlights make Finland a unique destination. The old joke Norway is for sightseeing, Sweden a mistake and Finland for nice holidays becomes reality, when we present our sauna culture, our fantastic nature, food in combination with most desired products:
- Active nature and culture holidays by touring. More and more clients will fly to Finland for holidays. This means we have structured products available for individual travelers, regional hubs where services are guaranteed in sales seasons may-September
- The mökki 2.0 as our new high-quality cottage holiday with more service and experiences available for the all year guests.
- Short holidays, especially air & sea combinations. Next to classic Helsinki-Stockholm the Helsinki-Tallinn with the mini-cruise included has the potential of shoulder season game changer. Also, Turku and Mariehamn can become hubs in air sea packages when air travel becomes more flexible and possibilities to mix different transports emerge as the MaaS offer increases.
These product groups can be seen as sales and marketing eco-systems. In the future, our success will be defined in how the stakeholders can work together in offering attractive products for consumers.
So, something new, something old is needed for sustainable development on changing markets like Germany. A change is also needed in mind set in Finland: without availability in digital channels we have little to sell. The development in techniques is a big plus for niche destinations like Finland. Let’s not forget that the best way to increase business is a happy client.
Visit Finland Representative in Germany, Austria, Benelux, Switzerland
Read more about Market information and Visit Finland activities in Germany.