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Services for Vienna’s Visitor Economy

In 2022, the Vienna Tourist Board again maintained close contact with stakeholders in the visitor economy, and continued to supply them effectively with information and data on a wide range of tourism and business-related topics. Among the tools that helped it to do so were the B2B website as well as a number of other formats such as the regular B2B Industry Newsletter, which was sent out 19 times during the course of the year. At the time of reporting, the newsletter had around 1,800 subscribers. The Vienna Tourist Board’s Safe Stay seal – developed in 2020 in partnership with the Austrian Professional Hotel Association at the Vienna Chamber of Commerce – was also used by Viennese accommodation providers in 2022. At the time of writing, 80 operations had been certified under the new seal.

Vienna Visitor Economy Series: a Platform for Dialog

In 2020, the Vienna Tourist Board launched the Vienna Visitor Economy Series, which supplies stakeholders with tailored information on current topics and specific focuses, as well as providing a platform for exchange within the industry. The series format gives participants an opportunity to work together on models related to Vienna's visitor economy. It also creates a space for drawing attention to existing and potential qualities of city tourism with a view to developing them. In 2022, the Vienna Tourist Board hosted 12 virtual meetings for the series, at which guest speakers and experts from the Vienna Tourist Board shared information on key topics such as sustainability, and revenue and reputation management. On average, each invitation-only event was attended by around 100 participants. A regular meeting for the industry was introduced in 2022 as part of the Vienna Visitor Economy Series to make key figures and updates on Vienna as a destination, as well as insights into the work done by the Vienna Tourist Board, more widely available.

2022 Vienna Tourism Conference: the Place to Be

“The place to be” was the banner chosen for the 2022 Tourism Conference, which took place on November 29 in Vienna’s Seestadt Aspern. In front of around 500 participants (in-person and following via a livestream), international experts discussed the threats and opportunities for Vienna's visitor economy and outlined various points of departure for the destination’s long-term sustainable development. For the first time, the Vienna Tourist Board aligned its industry conference to the 196+ forum Vienna hosted by the PKF hospitality group and Museum Booster as part of a high-profile European event series inspired by the theme of Place Making. It was here that the Vienna Tourist Board’s annual theme for 2023 of “Visions & New Beginnings. 150 Years of the Vienna World’s Fair” was first unveiled to representatives of the Viennese tourism industry.

Gernot Wagner and Martha Thorne attended as international guest speakers. In his keynote, climate economist Gernot Wagner – who researches, writes and lectures on climate risks and climate policy at Columbia Business School – explained that cities not only have the lowest proportionate CO2 emissions, but their inherent efficiency also makes them a particularly suitable model for tourism. In her speech, Martha Thorne, professor at the IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid and former Pritzker Prize director, called for a reimagination of tourism and the creation of marketing models that go beyond simply "consuming" a place by focusing on a holistic view. In her view, visitors, residents and the host city should all deliver added value.

As part of the Vienna Tourism Conference, the 196+ forum Vienna ­­– a joint event hosted by partners the PKF hospitality group, Museum Booster and the Vienna Tourist board ­– invited participants from all three organizations to a total of 13 guided city walks: Dubbed WALK & TALK, they opened up fascinating insights into hotels, stores, museums and various highlights in Vienna's Seestadt Aspern, bridging the gap between hospitality, tourism and culture. Organized as a climate-neutral event for the first time, the 2022 iteration of the Tourism Conference was also certified as green meeting by the Austrian Umweltzeichen ecolabel.

20 Years of the Vienna Experts Club

In June 2022, the Vienna Tourist Board celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Vienna Experts Club (VEC). A total of around 25,000 members have participated in more than 400 club events since its foundation. It continues to keep people working in the Viennese hotel sector – as well as incoming and congress travel agencies – up to speed on all the city’s latest offerings for tourists so that they are even better placed to help visitors to the capital than they otherwise would be. As a direct result of the pandemic and the fact that many employees ended up leaving the tourism industry, the number of VEC members has dropped by about a third. In 2022 the club had approximately 500 active members.

© WienTourismus/Stefan Würnitzer

Released by the Vienna Tourist Board in a bid to attract new VEC members, a promotional film – which ran on the various channels operated by the Vienna Tourist Board – shows partners and members describing the advantages of the club.

A Vienna B2B Event Somewhere in the World Every Three Days

Another of the Vienna Tourist Board’s central tasks in 2022 was to establish a positive image of Vienna as a destination in the international travel industry in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. This involved triggering the development of offerings for the visitor economy that would pave the way for Vienna’s comeback through in-depth expertise, market analysis and multichannel marketing activities. Steps aimed at keeping up international contacts and networks continued successfully, irrespective of the prevailing market conditions. The strategy also centered on intensive relationship management with the most important key accounts in each market in the form of personal exchange and sharing essential information on the current situation in Vienna – from travel connections to entry requirements to the latest offerings in the city. Elsewhere, the Vienna Tourist Board focused on destination training and its partnerships with tour operators, as well as taking part in selected networking formats. A total of 131 B2B contacts were brought to Vienna for famtrips (familiarization trips) to give them an in-person product experience. Across all of its markets, the Vienna Tourist Board was able to reach out to 1,270 B2B contacts throughout the year to keep them in the loop about Vienna as a destination in a series of one-on-ones.

The luxury segment was another key element of the Vienna Tourist Board's B2B marketing work in 2022. Activities involved interlinking supplier columns and positioning them in customer networks. To help it achieve its objective, the Vienna Tourist Board cooperated with a number of luxury travel networks and gatekeeper associations (Virtuoso, Serendipians by Traveller Made, the Forum Club private members club, the concierge association Quintessentially, The PA Club) and participated in various specialized B2B platforms (the ILTM luxury travel show in Cannes and North America, the TFest luxury workshop in Dubai, Private Luxury Forum in Bodrum). The Vienna Tourist Board directly addressed around 500 luxury B2B contacts at events and workshops, as well as bringing 20 luxury B2B contacts to Vienna for site inspections.

In October and November, the Vienna Tourist Board’s new interactive B2B event series The City of Vision gave international media and travel industry representatives in Milan, Paris, Madrid, Zurich, Munich, London, Washington DC and Chicago a taster of what it had in store in its upcoming theme year: Vision & New Beginnings – 150 Years of the Vienna World's Fair. In the course of the series, Vienna was presented to international media representatives and contacts as an innovative, modern and forward-looking city whose journey towards becoming a true world capital was shaped considerably by the Vienna World's Fair in 1873. Besides personal exchanges and communicating information about upcoming highlights in the capital, the Vienna Tourist Board and international media representatives and contacts from the travel and mobility industry sketched out a future vision of the city and tourism in Vienna using a specially programmed, interactive multimedia application. Before the event ended, the final result was presented: an animated version of the city of the future that the participants had just designed and created in real time using artificial intelligence.

In 2006, the Vienna Tourist Board launched its Vienna Experts Club International – an official customer loyalty program for international travel agencies and tour operators, airlines, transportation companies and online travel portals designed to keep international travel industry participants up to date on all the latest offers in Vienna. Global membership acquisition continued to pay dividends in 2022 and the club currently has around 17,000 members.

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