The elite tourism project in Croatia
Although Croatia undoubtedly has a huge potential for tourism, the offer for elite guests should be more elaborated. True, there are many agencies in our country that offer luxury, personalized service, but elite tourism potentials are, unfortunately, insufficiently used. But what would the tourist terminology actually mean in the context of the quality service of luxury tourism, and what exactly are guests with “deeper pockets” looking for?
Does luxury offer necessarily imply attributes such as luxury accommodation facilities with “golden taps”, glazed villas and luxury shops (Gucci, Prada) right next to the promenade? What is in this case with a large number of tourists who visit unusual places every year – such as Antarctica or Greenland, or take overnight trips to various holy sites at which flourishes all but luxury?
Rich tourists are happy to travel to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, to freeze on the Russian steppes, to climb on Tibet, to rush to the end of the world to see Easter Island who branded local archaeological sites up to the maximum, they enjoy olive picking in Tuscany and in our Istria… in short, they participate in the life of the site they have visited.
What is the secret?
Tourists who can afford such trips primarily go in search of experience offered by their unusual destination. Let us mention the example of famous actress Penelope Cruz who on the set of “Venuto al mondo”, has chosen a small picturesque village of Prigradica on Korcula instead of a luxury hotel for her haven, enjoying secluded walks and solitude of the fishing village in a beautiful, small stone villa. There are many renters who have noticed that a number of wealthy guests seeks harmonious islands and ancient stone houses in a secluded place, immersed in greenery and near the sea, but this is not a requirement – to them, privacy is much more important.
They also seek small indigenous taverns in which one can eat excellent local food, and in any case they want to experience what they cannot experience at home – the authentic Mediterranean ambience, excellent cuisine, getting to know local customs and to interact with local people.
One should bear in mind that wealthy guest on vacation escapes from his hectic environment in which luxury benefits of modern technology, with lavish shopping offer, are available to him 24/7. Therefore, we don’t have to wonder why is he bitterly disappointed when he arrives in our country: illegal constructions, crowded stalls with souvenirs „made in China“, and a lookout made of concrete villas competing to be as efficient as possible to block eachothers’ view! We forget that our guest escaped precisely from a similar environment.
To such a guest profile, a classic concept of luxury doesn’t play a key role – it is the experience of a destination to which he decided to dedicate his week off that matters!
When it comes to somewhat demanding guests, or those seeking luxury and experience in a single package, the key to success is the constant availability, efficiency, speed, and highly individualized approach. Wealthy guests highly appreciate quick and comfortable transfer from one place to another, so in choosing a destination important role will be played by its transport accessibility.
Proximity to major airports is very important, although extravagant demands like renting a helicopter for personal use, are no rarity. Luxury vessels such as yacht are being rented, and as an atypical form of accommodation, elegant villas or even the entire castles! All of the above should be included in the set of services that communicates tourism offer to such profile of guests, with essential representation of the authentic local story, good and quality guidance, and constant availability to the guest who paid a large sum of money for his stay, and what is most important – he knows what he pays for.
Furthermore, wealthy guests typically want to experience an eventful stay in every aspect, which means that they want to get familiar with the desired destination as soon as possible. They are interested in visiting the cities and exclusive destinations, and if it comes to celebrity, often the tour takes place under the watchful eye of a bodyguard.
While the engagement of a personal chef and a regular delivery of fresh groceries are usual accompanying requirements, they also hire wellness therapists and personal trainers, and if necessary, hair stylists and makeup artists.
In the Croatian territory there are several travel agencies and spa & lifestyle clubs that can successfully cope with the demands of guests with high purchasing power – from luxury tours that include a visit to several most attractive domestic destinations within just a few days, to the spa centers that are able to, together with staff and all the necessary requisites, briefly “move” in someone’s mansion, boat, yacht…
It is well-known that elite guests „can afford anything“, and it is up to us to provide them with adequate facilities. The tourism sector should develop a special “sensibility” for this, the most desirable type of guests, and the local „guestbook“ already includes such VIP names as Beyonce and Jay-Z, Roman Abramovič… We hope that in future they will be frequent visitors of our country, and since a good word travels fast, also the best promoters of local tourism!
In any case it is a very complex subject and the realization of these goals should involve the local community and the top people of any destination that aspires to be a luxury one. The comparative advantages of Croatia through its cuisine, cultural tourism, preserved untouched nature and beautiful islands, should be integrated in an unique offer that will represent a comprehensive strategy with an adequate marketing promotion.
If the approach is based on a well-thought out and quality strategy, which includes the whole community and is not “cobbled together” in a hurry, the results should follow soon. However, tourism strategies require some time and effort, because for a long time now the key to success in tourism hasn’t been based on chance or divine geographical features. We realize this from year to year and this summer, lesson was pretty painful.
“Zimmerfrei” renters and stands with grilled pilchards and kebabs along with local singers slowly become a thing of the past. The planning of high quality tourism must include architects, marketing experts, extremely well-trained accommodation owners who are fluent in foreign languages and modern technologies, digital experts – and tourism professionals with rich experience.
And finally, one more interesting fact. Aforementioned Antarctica that doesn’t boast luxurious swimming pools, shining sun or a crystal blue sea, nor a widely acclaimed gastronomic offer, and its nature nature is fairly uniform unless you are a passionate fan of snow/ice, has arrangements that are sold out for $ 45,000 in a week! But we’ve got plenty of attributes on basis of which a superb experience can be build – almost every part of our country has special features which many visitors would not resist. Developing of such deals with the targeted promotion of the particularities of each region, and the development of complex products for each of our destinations – should be part of the strategy of each municipality and community that wants to improve its offer and keep up with global competition.
Fotografije: Hotspots.net.hr arhiva, Sunčani Hvar i arhiv turističkih zajednica