Jyrki Oksanen

What is the impact of direct flights from Germany to Lapland? What are the USPs for Finland and how do – or could – we differentiate from the other Nordic countries year around? How about the latest travel trends in Germany?

Find this out in the blog below by Jyrki Oksanen,
Visit Finland Representative in Germany

 

 

Helena Niskanen

What is the reason for more US visitors coming to Finland and what is the impact of new flight routes? What are the USPs for US winter travel to Finland? Ever heard about “bleisure”, the latest travel trend in USA?

Take a look at the blog below by Helena Niskanen, Visit Finland Representative in USA, and find out the answers

 

 

What’s up in German travel to Finland, Jyrki Oksanen?

What is the impact of new direct flights from Germany to Lapland?

According to Finavia data, 2/3 of Germans with direct destination Lapland come with a non-stop flight. This change is remarkable and comes quick for the German market as this development started with Lufthansa’s flights to Kittilä 2015-16.

Looking at the January-April Finavia statistics, we can see a 52% increase in direct passengers and three airlines operating scheduled flights plus charters series from cities like Rostock and Erfurt to Kittilä. As Germany is one of the top markets via Helsinki to Lapland, this new business brings Germany also in winter as one of the most important source markets for Lapland. For the coming winter, there is some consolidation in flight days and routes. The capacity at airlines is set for additional strong growth next winter and we can stretch the season further. Very positive news come from Finnair, which announces big capacity increase between Helsinki and Lapland.

What are the key drivers for winter travel to Finland?

We are lucky to have several: we have great actionable USPs like glass igloos, northern lights, great nature experiences and tours, Santa and guaranteed snow. Now with easy and affordable accessibility, it is easy to convert the demand into paying and traveling guests due to our superior price/ quality compared with our Nordic neighbours.

How could Finland differentiate from the other Nordic travel destinations on German market?

In winter in Lapland, we have done it. Firstly, our distribution partners claim that it is very hard to sell a week tour to Sweden or Norway in the winter, to Finland it is the rule – more than 90 % stay one week. In the summer, it seems to be the opposite; apart from cottage holidays and some outdoor tours we have a challenge making customers stay. Most of our German visitors make a stopover as a part of a Scandinavia road trip or cruise.

For the winter, the secret is very simple; we have resorts with enough different category bed capacity, easy access from local airports and a wide selection of unique activities. This all paired with working infrastructure, “old time winter”, no mountains, everyman’s rights and better price/ quality makes the difference. Our challenge is in finding similar actionable USPs more south in the winter and defining them better for other seasons.

One of the main reasons for the success of winter in Lapland has been the tour operators as partners. Bigger tour operators have been online for years and so have the main winter activities been bookable comfortably at your local travel agency for ages. For the summer, we have not been able to offer much interesting guaranteed tours, which is why activities are not on sale at sales channels.

In a nutshell, we must make ourselves more attractive via actionable USPs, let’s not stop at saying we have midnight sun but add interesting content like kelo log house with own sauna and beach, fantastic hiking, biking, tours and adventures in the taiga forest and make it all bookable.

What are the new travel trends in your market?

  • Millennials are maturing in to our main target group in the future. According to our studies, millennials seems to make most of our target group already.
  • Safety has become the most important criteria for Germans when choosing a destination.
  • Digitalization in travel is in constant evolution. Now Amazon and Google Destinations are coming as distribution channels.

 

What’s up in US travel to Finland, Helena Niskanen?

What is behind the latest overnight figures?

Increased direct airlift to the region, more competitive airfares, a stronger US Dollar, greater awareness of the region and its attractions, and new and revamped travel programs to the region offered by North American tour operators have all contributed to the growth. Several Finland programs include Lapland on the itineraries.

Many tour operators are reporting a heavy volume of bookings to Europe for summer 2017 citing competitive exchange rates, lower airfares, and increased consumer confidence as the main reasons driving the growth.

What is the impact of new flight routes?

The increase in nonstop flights to Scandinavia since 2013 when Norwegian Air International entered the US market and the subsequent opening of new US gateways by SAS Scandinavian Airlines and Finnair that increased the number of direct flights and seats from the US to Scandinavia had a positive impact on the strong increase of US resident arrivals to the region. Scandinavia’s share of Americans arriving on nonstop flights to Europe has increased to a third of all arrivals. On June 1st Finnair will launch its fourth US hub with a non-stop flight from San Francisco to Helsinki

While the number of Americans traveling non-stop to Scandinavia has continued to increase impressively with the increased airlift to the region, many others travel to the region via other European gateways (Reykjavik, Amsterdam, London LHR, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, or Paris CDG).

What are the key drivers for winter travel to Finland?

Winter travel to Finland has been featured in the US press and social media channels more frequently with incredible images such as the glass igloos in Lapland. Sami culture, a chance to experience Aurora Borealis, unique snow and ice accommodations, glass igloos and a great variety of activities for every budget are all very appealing to travellers, and easy to combine with Helsinki.

What are the new travel trends in your market?

  • Bleisure travel boom especially among the Millenials: Mixing business with pleasure is a definite travel trend
  • Solo travel: With a surge in women-only retreats and women-only travel companies, there is a growing trend in solo travel, especially with women
  • Ecotourism: Travelers are more sensitive than ever to their carbon footprint, especially when visiting more remote locations.
  • Simplicity
  • People are overwhelmed with apps, blogs, reviews, aggregator sites, social media channels, and news feeds. Travel advisors are now information navigators and matchmakers, pairing people with experiences. That’s why working with travel agents is still very important in the US market.