Elena Gonzalez: “I am lucky that I sell a winning product: the Canary Islands”

date_range 29 June, 2023 question_answer Leave your thoughts

The Canary Islands are known for being heaven on Earth, where you can enjoy wonderful weather throughout the year. Its culture, traditions, people and landscapes have made it a favourite destination for many travellers. In 2022, these islands received a total of 14,617,832 tourists. All of them had the same idea: to unwind and come back revitalised.

Much of the credit for the success of this archipelago goes to the company Promotur or Turismo de Canarias. It was set up in 2005 with the aim of managing the Canary Islands brand in a streamlined manner and in line with professional criteria. In other words, they are in charge of promoting tourism in the Canary Islands both abroad and between the islands. They are also in charge of activities related to the study, promotion and dissemination of the various tourism products and services, as well as promoting tourism in the archipelago.

We were lucky enough to meet Elena González, its Director of Communications, who told us about the great work carried out by the 50 workers who make up Turismo de Canarias. Elena entered this sector by chance after studying law and international relations. She started working with a grant at Turespaña where she began to deal with legal issues related to tourism. Then she was offered an opportunity at the Council of Tenerife and from there she moved to the Government of the Canary Islands. And that’s just so far! She has been involved in this world since 1998. “Although I studied law, one thing led to another and I ended up working in advertising and communication, an exciting world that fascinates me and that allows me to work with great enthusiasm for my homeland”

Elena González, Director of Communication of Tourism of the Canary Islands

Elena González, Director of Communication of Tourism of the Canary Islands.

“I really believe in what I do and in the product we have”

You have probably seen an advert or campaign featuring the Canary Islands. Well, behind it were Elena and her team. But they are not alone, because every 4 or 5 years they put out a tender to select two companies that will be responsible for developing the advertising campaigns. One of them is for the creative side while the other is the media centre, which is in charge of buying the advertising space for the campaigns. They also have an international press office, with support from offices in 5 of the 21 markets they work in, which handles communication with the press. This also takes place internally and nationally.

For Elena, the Canary Islands “are the perfect place for a holiday because they guarantee rest, discovery and great weather throughout the year. Eight vibrant islands, different and full of contrasts. Here you will find idyllic beaches, volcanoes, ancient forests, dunes, colonial cities, charming villages and thousands of outdoor activities for all ages.” The team’s job is to make sure that the whole world gets this message and wants to come to the Canary Islands to enjoy all its wonders.

“We sell dreams and we can’t let them down”, so they need to understand the demand very well and identify why tourists travel according to their market and personal reality. Each one requires a different message and unique point of view. Selling the Canary Islands abroad is not the same as marketing to the islands themselves.

The Canaries have gone from being just a sun and beach destination to somewhere that offers so many more possibilities thanks to its climate. Their job is to leverage these factors for the various markets, trying to differentiate themselves from other destinations by offering a product that also highlights the value of culture and identity.

“We are always looking for opportunities to communicate the relevant message at the right time”

“We have an always-on communication strategy”, in other words, they are permanently present in 21 markets, 365 days a year. “Every day we launch about 10,000 ads, to which must be added high-intensity tactical campaigns over shorter periods.” Despite this continuous communication, they have strategic campaigns through which, at certain times of the year, such as Christmas, the lottery or Mother’s Day, for example, they run specific campaigns. “We are always looking for opportunities to communicate and the important thing is to do something different to stand out and get your message across.”

In their promotions they particularly emphasise the fact that the islands have the best climate in the world, a great location, the benefits of coming to the Canaries and the fact that you will go home revitalised. “Basically we emphasise the good ambience and everything you can do outdoors. After a trip to the Canary Islands, you will feel much better, both physically and mentally.” In terms of promotion abroad “We pioneer actions; we are always looking to innovate .”

“Our main function is to inspire people and generate desire for the destination”

“We are focused on tourists and their needs and we always work according to a communication plan” of course, all supported by data. “One of the great advantages is that digital tools increasingly allow you to do and know more things.” Everything is measured, nothing is random. For example, they know that 82% of the customers who arrive on the islands are repeat customers. They are interested in understanding what users want so that they can provide a better service. But how can they find all this out? “We have developed our own complex digital system that allows us to monitor everything; we track all the elements and the website itself, so that we can obtain information on each user to offer them a better digital experience.” This allows them to discover where tourists come from and what their preferences are. Browsing the website is a personalised experience, in other words, it is based on the user’s behaviour. “It’s a way of gradually getting to know our visitors better so that we can offer them the product that best suits their interests.”

“In the past, communication was more sporadic; now it is much more continuous.” They use various channels and formats to promote the destination. For example, on social media they publish content in 20 languages every day. One of the team’s tasks is to identify and promote markets that present opportunities. To do this, it is important to analyse variables such as the number of tourists who arrive and the amount they spend. “We not only try to ensure that they come to the islands, but also that their stay includes multiple leisure options. This enriches their travel experience and influences their intention to recommend the destination. At the same time, it increases their spending in the islands.”

To be able to carry out all the campaigns and actions “We need constant training. We need to keep up to date with technological tools and understand changes in demand so that we can provide adapted solutions because the world of digital communication is constantly evolving.”

Selling a destination is much more than talking about its virtues and everything you can discover if you visit it. You have to know how, when and to whom. The goal of Turismo de Canarias is to shift the tourist’s mood from a contemplative attitude behind the screen to wanting to experience it first hand. From the purely rational to emotional engagement with the destination.

And you? Would you like to come and see the wonders of these islands for yourself? If you choose Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote or Fuerteventura you can visit one of the 16 hotels that RIU has spread across these four islands in the Canaries. You’ll love them!

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