“Young travellers, young delegates, young cities – What do we know, what should we do?” - MU attends the European Cities Marketing Annual Meeting

MU’s Prof. Dr. Karl Wöber and Dr. Irem Önder attended the annual meeting of European Cities Marketing, held in Dresden, Germany between June 4th and 7th.

The focus of this year’s meeting was on “Young travellers, young delegates, young cities – What do we know, what should we do?”, and also dealt with the questions of ‘’what do we know about young travellers and conference delegates? What tools are needed to reach this target group? And what is our role as the Destination Management Organisation in this market?’’

The conference kicked off with a day of knowledge group meetings; Dr. Wöber and Dr. Önder are members of a Research and Statistics Knowledge group alongside representatives from European city organizations, with the principal goal to support research projects which would help city tourism organizations. The group pondered innovative ways to move forward with “meetings statistics” and how to improve the data as well as how to involve more cities in this research.

On the main conference day, Juliet Stevens, Marketing Manager, World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation stressed the importance of youth travel. This sector is bigger than Facebook or McDonalds, generating over USD 182 billion in tourism receipts in 2013, and by 2020, 300 million international youth trips per year is expected. Another interesting finding from the study revealed that young inbound travellers to Europe are not interested in spending time on the beach or theme parks but are more likely to visit historical places and museums, as well as night clubs and cafes.

On Day Two, a luminaries from the European tourism presented insights and latest results. Burkhard Kieker, CEO of VisitBerlin explained the attraction of Berlin for young travellers and the keys to their success. Catharina Fisher, Social Media PR from the German National Tourist Board, described the importance of word-of-mouth and social media for destinations. Rob Davidson, Senior Lecturer in Events Management at the University of Greenwich, presented Generation Y and what does this generation want from conference destinations. In addition there were case studies regarding youth travellers and user generated city maps by Nicolas Marichal and youth trends, pocket guides and blogger relations from different European cities.

The Department of Tourism and Service Management continues to work closely with ECM, and is getting prepared for the annual TourMIS workshop & International Seminar which will be held at MU Vienna from September 11th-12th.