Montenegro used to be advertised as a destination through TV spots and brochures, today it is done by influencers and popular bloggers through social networks. The National Tourism Organization (NTO) of Montenegro points out to Portal RTCG that promotion has changed in recent years according to the habits and needs of tourists, and that influencer marketing plays an increasingly important role. PR and marketing manager Jelena Kaluđerović says that online advertising of the destination is currently the most effective, but that domestic influencers must not be forgotten, who can also recommend Montenegro.
The manager for digital marketing, Svetlana Tomković, announced that NTO follows the latest developments every day and listens carefully to the needs of passengers, and actively works through various digital promotion channels. He also points out that the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the factors that changed travel habits.
– Tourists now want to spend their time differently, looking for experiences, not just beautiful places. They want to have as many authentic experiences as possible. In this sense, the biggest challenge for NTOCG was how to move from an outdated marketing approach to a completely new innovative approach when it comes to presenting the destination’s offer. We had an excellent foothold in the “Program of the Digital Program 2021-2023”, which we worked on in the previous period, which with the support and knowledge in tourism and technologies from experts enabled our easier digital transformation – said Tomković for the Public Service Portal.
In addition to the official portal of the NTO CG, they are also active through social networks and online portals.
– As one of the examples of transformation, we would cite the Montenegro Travel portal as a new “digital experience”, which is in line with the latest trends in digital marketing in the world. In order to interest visitors to the portal in the offer of our tourism industry and speed up their communication with business entities, tours/package arrangements/events of the tourism industry are presented on our website. Nevertheless, fairs and other forms of promotion that provide the possibility of direct contact still remain important promotional activities for the NTO of Montenegro – adds Tomković.
She emphasizes the fact that influencer marketing plays an increasingly important role in digital marketing, and that influencers represent an attractive way of promoting a destination.
– Last year, we had several groups of influencers from the region, among whom were actors with a large number of followers on social networks. As in all other activities of the NTO of Montenegro, local tourism organizations and the tourism industry were also involved, which are also satisfied with the effects of this cooperation. In the current year, we plan to organize a visit of influencers/bloggers from the region, as well as other markets that are targeted as important for this year – says the NTO manager.
Be careful with the selection of influencers, hire domestic ones as well
Kaluđerović told Portal RTCG that Montenegrin influencers are most engaged in the promotion of hotels, restaurants and various cultural and entertainment events. He assesses that the competent authorities are not sufficiently involved in the promotion of Montenegro as a tourist destination.
– Promotion of tourism through appropriate influencers is currently one of the most popular and productive marketing tools. It is clear that competent institutions for the promotion of Montenegro hire influencers from the region and other countries of Europe and the world, but influencers from Montenegro must not be forgotten either, because they are also followed by a lot of people from outside Montenegro who are also potential guests – she believes.
As someone from the hotel industry, she considers that digital marketing is the most effective promotion and sales tool with measurable results, as the main advantage.
– An integrated approach that unites a wide range of online channels – website, social networks, Google tools, email marketing, online portals, content marketing and many other channels, with a direct address to the right target group, is currently the best and most profitable way of promotion in this area. That is why this trend will continue in the future. However, considering that tourism is a specific activity made up of people – tourists who travel, stay in hotels, visit restaurants and consume other contents, the organization of promotional events and participation in fairs will continue to be an important promotional tool where tourism employees have the opportunity to they meet potential guests live and see their needs and interests – emphasizes the PR and marketing manager, who is also an influencer on social networks.
She adds that It is crucial to choose the right influencers for promotion.
– Who are the real influencers? These are those interesting personalities whose content on social networks, lifestyle and, above all, followers correspond to the specific destination. Because hiring an influencer who is followed by teenagers to promote content for adults is an absolute failure. Of course, there is something called brand awareness, so in that case an influencer with followers of different age, gender and geographic structure will be an excellent choice. At the destination level, as I have already mentioned, Montenegro cooperates with regional and global influencers, which is good, but in the future, appropriate influencers from Montenegro should also be included – says Kaluđerović.
The beauty of Montenegro in the media of Britain, France, Germany…
In addition to influencers, the guests of NTO Montenegro are often journalists, travel writers… Previous experience, emphasizes Tomković, has shown that these types of visits strongly contribute to better positioning of Montenegro as a tourist destination.
– During 2022, we had numerous study visits by journalists, which resulted in a large number of affirmative articles and contributions in the media in these markets. As a result of the journalists’ study visits, National Geographic Traveler published a nine-page editorial about Montenegro, and we were also on the cover of the prestigious British magazine Food and Travel, which published an 11-page article about our country as a gastronomic tourist destination. In addition to attractive articles, there are also numerous reports. The German public service published the documentary “Magnificent vacation between the Adriatic Sea and the mountains”, the premiere of which was watched by about 400,000 viewers, and which was the result of a visit supported by the NTO of Montenegro.
In addition, three episodes about the destination were broadcast on one of the most popular shows in the Czech Republic, which were also included in the central daily. The Israeli national television Channel 13 showed the natural beauty and tourist attractions of Montenegro through popular shows with over a million viewers.
This year, she adds, they will continue with the implementation of similar study visits.
Last year, NTO hosted media from Great Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Israel and the region. They also supported study visits by journalists from Scotland, the USA, Denmark, the TV crew of the Spanish National Television and two German public services.
When it comes to influencers and bloggers, during the previous year NTO supported the stay of influencers from Serbia, Albania, Slovenia, Belgium, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Tomković says that, in the future, the promotion of Montenegro will largely be directed towards digital marketing, in accordance with the strategic determination of the country and the recommendations of the World Tourism Organization.