Destination Geneva Switzerland
Table of Contents
1.0 Executive summary 3
1.1 Mission Statement 3
1.2 Organisational Objectives 3
2.0 Destination Geneva 4
2.1 Geneva Attracctions 4
2.2 Geneva As a Hub City 5
3.0. Situational Analysis 6
3.1 PESTEL Analysis 6
3.2 SWOT Analysis 11
4.0 Target Markets 12
4.1 Marketing Objective & Strategy 11
4.2 Extended Marketing Mix 12
Appendix 1 14
1.0 Executive summary
1.1 Mission Statement
The primary mission of the Geneva marketing and promotional activities is building the attendance to the various conventions and trade shows that makes up the backbone of Geneva’s promotional activities. In addition, there is a clearly secondary goal of publicising its cultural and amusement attractions. The third goal is to attract even more conventions and similar events to the city.
1.2 Organisational Objectives
The advantage of Geneva in this respect is that it is a very international city at the core of which are the various international organisations such as the United Nations which in spite of the move of its headquarters to New York still as an extensive presence in Geneva. While Geneva has a variety of typical tourist attractions, is atypical in that it is both a leisure destination and a business destination. The marketing for the city is based on a very active conventional and events calendar. It reflects the dual attraction of the city and its interest in its cultural and amusement attractions to business visitors as well as conventional tourists. It is also a major arrival point for international travellers who can be convinced to spend a few days in Geneva either arriving in or departing from Europe for a variety of foreign visitors. An example of its aggressive promotions is the Geneva International Motor show package which offers a price of CHF 116 for a hotel room, entrance to the show, a Geneva-Pass to enjoy preferential fares up to 50%, gratuitousness and gifts and free public transportation in Geneva. This allows the show visitor to avoid return trip traffic jams and a chance to discover the many attractions of the city. (Geneva Tourism & Conventions, 2011)
1.3 Financial Summary
Swiss Banking and Swiss banking laws probably cannot be classified as part of the leisure and tourism industry, but the privacy and stability offered by Swiss banks is a generator of a substantial amount of travel to and from Switzerland. The Swiss Franc is one of the most stable currencies in the world, and has appreciated substantially against the US dollar, Sterling and the Euro in the past few years. “While it can’t compete with the Dollar and Yen – its main safe haven rivals – in size and liquidity, it benefits from its perceived economic and fiscal stability, as well as through contradistinction with the surrounding Eurozone. In fact, the Franc’s rise against the Euro has been even steeper than its rise against the Dollar. As the Eurozone crisis radiates further away from Greece, Switzerland has come to seem more like an island in a sea of chaos.” (FOREX BLOG, 2011) Switzeralnd is the 37th largest economy is the world in terms of GDP, but its per capital GDP is 15th in the world. (CIA World Factbook, 2011)
2.0 Destination Geneva
2.1 Geneva Attractions
Every city that tries to attract visitors claims a variety of attractions. Geneva actually offers a variety of attractions from its lakefront walk, officially the Quai du Général-Guisan, featuring the Jet d’eau (water fountain) that sends a jet of water one hundred forty feet above the lake. It is perhaps even more impressive at night when it is lit by huge floodlights. Its other tourist attractions range the United Nations building, the Palais des Nations, to the amazingly bizarre Schtumpfs (French for smurf) apartment complex. Other icons of Geneva include the floral clock and the Solar and Laser clock of Hungarian artist Klara Kuchta. Geneva is still the world capital of the watch and clock industry where it got its beginning in the sixteenth century as a response to the reforms of Jean Calvin which precluded the wearing of jewellery. Jewellery shopping in Geneva is possibly the best in the world and a fascinating if potentially expensive experience. (EsineMark.com, 2010)
Geneva also offers a wide variety of accommodations from very modestly price hotels to luxury establishments. The food available ranges from such traditional dishes as “Filet de peche,” small battered and fried fish to some of the most exotic haute cuisine that has made Geneva the culinary capital of Switzerland. (GENÈVA A WORLD OF ITS OWN, 2011) From a cultural standpoint Geneva has more than 40 museums and a number of art galleries. The city can also boast a very active and diverse theatre scene with about 35 stages offering all kinds of shows from light comedy to classics or avant-garde performances. Most theatrical performances are in French, but there are performances in English as well. Music and dance crosses all language borders and Geneva is well provided in both areas. (GENÈVA A WORLD OF ITS OWN, 2011)
2.2 Geneva as a hub city
Geneva has long been a hub for international diplomacy, and since it became international headquarters for the United Nations and Red Cross, and actually many years before that. The UN has moved its headquarters to New York, but retains a major presence in Geneva. Almost all the European air carriers and several Asian, Middle Eastern and trans Atlantic carriers serve Geneva as well. Geneva also has excellent connections with London and Frankfort, the primary European gateway cities for transatlantic travel.
The Swiss rail system has a station at the airport that makes travel throughout Europe convenient using Geneva as a hub and point of entry or exit. The trip to the city from the airport by train takes only a few minutes, and as an example of the thought put into Geneva’s attempt to make it convenient and inexpensive for travellers, a free ticket on Swiss Rail for the main city station, the Gare Cornivan (the main Geneva rail station) and other local point is available in the baggage area from the transport Kiosk.
In terms of auto travel, the entire Swiss AutoRoute system is superb in spite of the difficult terrain. The linking French and German systems are also excellent and travel by car is easy to most points in Europe. Geneva is also an important freight terminal, but this is outside the scope of this study.
3.0 An analysis of the societal, economic and political elements of Geneva (PESTEL ANALYSIS)
The political environment of the city of Geneva is simply a part of the political system of Switzerland. To understand the country, and the city of Geneva, it is necessary to understand it is arguably one of the oldest surviving republics, dating back to 1291 when what are now the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, (what is now central Switzerland) joined in a confederacy that is the basis of modern Switzerland. The evolved into the current Swiss republic that features a system of government not seen at the national level anywhere else on Earth; “Direct Democracy.” It is sometimes called half-direct democracy because theoretically, the Sovereign of Switzerland is actually its entire electorate. Referenda on the most important laws have been used since the 1848 constitution. (History of Switzerland, 2010)
The result is that the Swiss are more universally interested in political developments and events than is common in most developed countries. They are very politically aware and involved. They also tend toward insularity and this is probably at least in part a result of their political conservatism and neutrality. In 1848 a “New Federal Constitution combining elements of the U.S. constitution (Federal State with central and cantonal [state] governments and parliaments) and of French revolutionary tradition. The Principles of this constitution are still valid today.” (History of Switzerland, 2010)
3.2 Economic background of Geneva
The strength of the Swiss Economy which are obvious in Geneva is the highly skill labour force, and an extensive and highly successful service sector led by the financial service industry. This has produced one of the highest per capita GDP figures in the world. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is estimated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency at US£42,900 per capita or fifteenth in the world. Switzerland’s economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high technology, knowledge-based production.
The visitor to Geneva cannot escape the prevalence of high technology industry such as watch making and precision machining, jewellery making, and other activities that result in highly skilled and highly paid craftsman. Alternating with the high tech operations are the financial sectors such as banking, money management and estate planning. The population is not only literate, but most have the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree from a university. (CIA World Factbook, 2011) The common language of Geneva is French, but German, Italian and a language known as Romansch are also official Swiss Languages. Many, probably most, Genevans are multilingual and the ability to speak both English and German in addition to French is widespread.
The Swiss budget normally varies in a narrow range between modes deficit and modest surplus. According to the Swiss Federal Department of Finance between 1998 and 2008 there were five years of surplus and five of deficit. The deficits never reached 1% of GDP while the surplus was over 2% in 2001 and 1% in 2008. (Trading Economics, 2010) In 2009 Switzerland managed to be one of the two countries in the OECD that managed to post a surplus with Norway reporting a surplus of 9.7% of GDP and Switzerland 0.7%. In 2010 it is estimated that the Swiss deficit will total 2.4 billion Swiss Francs or about 0.8% of GDP with on going deficits at least through 2013. At that point the deficit estimated at CHF4 million would still be less than 1% of GDP. (Aridas, Mango, 2011)
3.3 Social considerations in Geneva
The Canton (State) of Geneva is located adjacent to France. It is common, particularly since the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union of 1999 and 2004 that workers will commute daily from France to Switzerland and occasionally the reverse. The European Union (EU) surrounds Switzerland. Over 900,000 EU citizens live and work in Switzerland, and many more cross the borders or transit the country on a regular basis. (European Union EXTERNAL ACTION, 2011) Nowhere is this more prevalent that in the Geneva area.
Switzerland is about 42% Roman Catholic, but the vestiges of the conservative nature of Calvinism remains still obvious. The Swiss are not unfriendly, but distant in terms of social relationships and viewpoints. Conversely, the large number of non-profit social organisations creates a strong liberal bias in the viewpoints of many residents of Geneva and there is a clear distinction between the socio-political outlook of the typical Genevan and the balance of Switzerland, which tends more toward conservatism and moderatism. The general prosperity, low rate of poverty and consistent economic strength make the Geneva social background stable and attractive to both residents and visitors. The softness of the Swiss economy resulting from the global financial crisis has modified the society little, but the government has put policies in place that are more “ politically liberal” than usual.
The relative strength and conservatism of the Swiss people and the Swiss economy is not ordinarily discussed in terms of hotel marketing, but it is a factor that will very likely have increasing implications in coming years. The strength and stability of the Swiss Banking system is recognised globally. With the possibilities of instability of the United States Dollar and the Euro the attractiveness of using the Swiss banking system with balances held in Swiss Francs becomes increasingly evident. This implies that there will be incremental international visitors as a result of moving money to Switzerland for purposes of investment, safekeeping and security. Fortunately the problems of USB that was bailed out by the Swiss Government has had no negative effect on the perception of Swiss banking and possible the prompt government intervention even increased it. Credit Suisse, the other Swiss banking giant had little problem raising incremental capital in the private market place so the industry remains as attractive as ever. (The Telegraph, 2008) This is not a critical element in the Swiss hospitality industry, but an element that should be considered.
3.4 Swiss Technology
The basis of Swiss industry has always been watch and clock making and similar industries with high levels of craftsmanship and technology. The “shopping” opportunities in Switzerland have always produced hotel traffic from both private shippers and their professional counterparts. As to the hotels themselves, virtually all use very current hotel technology. The CERN particle accelerator which is in the Geneva vicinity is an example of the potential of technical proficiency to generate visitor traffic.
3.5 The Swiss environment
The Swiss were among the first to enact environmental protection laws. The Swiss federal forestry law of 1876 is among the world’s earliest pieces of environmental legislation. For Geneva’s hotel industry the presence of a huge number of environmentally conscious organisations provides a constant flow of visitors (International Environment House, 2011)
3.6 The Swiss Legal System
The presence of a vast number of international organisations in Geneva makes law and particularly international law a substantial base of activity and again brings numerous visitors, and hence hotel guests to the city. It is simply another component of the internationalisation of the City of Geneva.
4.0 SWOT What is the outlook for the hotel industry in Geneva?
The opportunity for the hotel industry, and travel generally, is little different from what it has been historically. There are no new initiatives that will enhance the traffic for Geneva or seriously impact it. There are constantly international meeting and expositions such as the auto show in March and meetings’ involving the offices of the United Nations for causes such a global hunger or the environment. It has been and will remain a shopping destination for the wealthy, particularly in regards to jewellery.
Conversely, there are no apparent threats to Geneva as a destination for tourists, international meeting attendees, shoppers or business people that find it necessary to meet with the Swiss bankers of business people. The international “financial revolution” that is underway will doubtless impact the business and financial community worldwide. It would be surprising if the “mix” of visitors to Geneva did not change in coming years, but it would be equally surprising if the impact were significantly negative.
The strength of Geneva is its historic and on going standing as one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the globe. The chances of the movement out of Geneva of the Red Cross or the United Nations in the foreseeable future is minimal. It will remain a wonderful city for tourists to visit, and gastronomic connoisseurs to enjoy. There is no reason to assume that the importance and desirability of the city built over several hundred years will dramatically decline.
Geneva weaknesses are, in really, two fold. The first is the growing importance of virtual communication and the Internet. This will unquestionably impact urban centres globally and there is not real indication as to the benefits or detriments to urban culture generally from the “net”. In the case of Geneva and its proximity to CERN, usually considered the birthplace of the Internet, it is if anything more likely to be positive than negative.
The other weakness of Geneva is that it is in many respects a French city in a “French” Swiss Canton. The language is French and much of its culture and economy is linked closely to France that is at best a very mature economy and it can be argued a declining culture, particularly the French language, and economy. There will clearly be a cross border impact, but any attempt to relate this to the outlook for the hotel industry in Geneva is far beyond the capacity of this project.
5.0 Marketing Objectives
4.1 Marketing meetings and conventions
The basis of the marketing of the city of Geneva is the convention and meeting business. With the number of international organisations headquartered or having substantial representation in Geneva the number of international meetings of leaders in such fields and health, the environment, human rights, and other social and political causes will doubtless remain high. The quality of the facilities and accommodations offered by Geneva, particularly for those with generous expense accounts and resources is outstanding. The techniques for attracting everyone from FIFA to the Red Cross vary, but with many years of experience Geneva’s representatives know the various requirements to attract each such group year after year.
The civic marketing organisation runs aggressive advertising campaigns in various media and have a strong Internet presence to support both the meeting trade and the commercial meeting trade for such as the Geneva International Motor Show. An example of the type of support offered to the sponsors of such events is the Geneva International Motor show package which offers a price of CHF 116 for a hotel room, entrance to the show, a Geneva-Pass to enjoy preferential fares up to 50%, gratuitousness and gifts and free public transportation in Geneva. This allows the show visitor to avoid return trip traffic jams and a chance to discover the many attractions of the city. (Geneva Tourism & Conventions, 2011)
4.2 Marketing Strategy
The strategy is obvious, attract people to meeting and trade shows and while they are traveling they will avail themselves of all the resources and attractions of the destination city. The object is made clear in the promotional material for the auto show “specials” presented above. The other strategic base is the multitude of international organisations represented in the city and the “prestige” inherent in holding international meeting in Geneva. The city’s promotional organisation does an excellent job of melding the strategies in its promotional material both in print and particularly on the Internet.
Aridas, T. Mango, A. (2011) “Public Deficit by Country” Global Finance, Recovered17/12/2011 from: http://www.gfmag.com/tools/global-database/economic-data/10395-public-deficit-by-country.html#axzz1ED1XuYQt
CIA World Factbook 2011 “Switzerland.” Recovered 15/02/2011 from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sz.html
Encyclopedia of Nations, (2011) “Switzerland Environment” Advameg, Inc. Recovered 17/02/2011 from: http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Europe/Switzerland-ENVIRONMENT.html
EsineMark.com (2010) The Swiss watch and clock industry had its beginnings in Geneva.” Recovered 14/02/2011 from: http://business.ezinemark.com/the-swiss-watch-and-clock-industry-had-its-beginnings-in-geneva-5618da37a00.html
European Union EXTERNAL ACTION (2011) “Switzerland” Recovered 15/02/2011 from: http://www.eeas.europa.eu/switzerland/index_en.htm#
FOREX BLOG (02/06/2011) “Has the Swiss Franc Reached its Limit?”
GENÈVA A WORLD OF ITS OWN (2011) “Theatre” Recovered 14/02/2011 from: http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch/?rubrique=0000000005
GENÈVA A WORLD OF ITS OWN (2011) “Restaurants in Geneva” Recovered 14/02/2011 from: http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch/?rubrique=0000000194
Geneva Tourism & Conventions (2011) Recovered 14/02/2011 from: http://www.geneva-tourism.ch/?lang=_eng
History of Switzerland, (2010) “Switzerland’s History.” history-switzerland.geschichte-schweiz. Recovered 15/02/2010 from: http://history-switzerland.geschichte-schweiz.ch/
International Environment House, (2011) “Upcoming Events” Recovered 17/02/2011 from: http://www.environmenthouse.ch/
The Telegraph, (16/10/2008) “Switzerland injects billions into UBS as it joins global bank bail-out” Telegraph Media Group. Recovered 17/02/2011 from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/3208672/Switzerland-injects-billions-into-UBS-as-it-joins-global-bank-bail-out.html
Trading Economics (2010) “Switzerland Government Budget.” Swiss Federal Department of Finance. Recovered 15/02/2011 from: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/Economics/Government-Budget.aspx?Symbol=CHF