As you probably already know, the 17th edition of the UEFA European Championship, commonly known as the Euro, will be held in Germany in 2024, from June 14 to July 14. This gigantic sporting event will bring millions of visitors from all over the Old Continent, eager to support their national team, enjoy some good football and, even more importantly, get a taste of the local culture and attractions. For tour operators and activity providers, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase brand awareness and score record bookings – not only during the 2024 summer season, but for years to come. For this reason, we’ve gathered find plenty of tips and tricks on how to make the most out of Euro 2024. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll tell you more about the schedule and organization of the tournament, provide a few statistics about the economic growth experienced by the tourism industry in previous host countries, and share a number of strategies for attracting visitors before, during and after the event. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
About Euro 2024
We’ve already mentioned in the introduction that by “Euro 2024” we’re referring to the 17th edition of the European Championship, a football tournament for European men’s national teams that is organized by the UEFA every four years. This time, the event will return to its usual schedule, as Euro 2020 has been postponed to the following year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament will last exactly one month – from June 14 to July 14, 2024 – and will feature 51 matches. For the second time in its history (and the first since reunification), Germany will be the host country. Below you can find some more interesting facts about Euro 2024:
- As the host country, the German national team automatically qualifies for the tournament.
- A total of 24 teams will participate in the tournament, which will be determined through a series of qualifying rounds.
- The ten cities where the matches will be played are:
- Berlin (Olympiastadion)
- Munich (Allianz Arena)
- Dortmund (Signal Iduna Park)
- Stuttgart (Mercedes-Benz Arena)
- Gelsenkirchen (Gelsenkirchen Stadium)
- Frankfurt (Deutsche Bank Park)
- Hamburg (Volksparkstadion)
- Düsseldorf (Merkur Spielarena)
- Cologne (RheinEnergieStadion)
- Leipzig (Red Bull Arena)
- The first game of the event, along with the opening ceremony, is scheduled for June 14, 2024 at the Allianz Arena in Munich. The match will pit Germany against an opponent yet to be determined.
- On the other hand, the final will be played at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on July 14.
- The official slogan of the tournament is “United by Football. Vereint im Herzen Europas.” in order to encourage acceptance, inclusion and diversity.
How Euro 2024 will boost tourism in Germany
Travel industry professionals are familiar with the so-called “Barcelona Effect”: by hosting the 1992 Olympic Games, the city of Barcelona – once considered an unattractive industrial site with few architectural highlights – was able to rebrand itself as a must-see destination for all tourists coming to Spain. 30 years later, the capital of Catalonia is still reaping the benefits of the astonishing popularity generated by that edition of the Olympics, ranking among the top 20 most visited cities in the whole world.
The Barcelona Effect is an incredibly rare phenomenon, but on a smaller scale, every sporting event benefits the host country and cities by providing exposure and a higher-than-usual influx of visitors, both in the short and long term.
Below we’ve listed some statistics that clearly show the positive impact of the European Championship on the travel industry of the three previous host countries: Poland and Ukraine in 2012 and France in 2016. After all, there’s no better argument to show you why is so important to make the most out of Euro 2024. In case you’re wondering, we decided to leave out the data related to Euro 2020 because the tournament was spread across 11 different countries, so the impact on their respective economies was pretty minimal.
Euro 2012 – Poland and Ukraine
- According to official statistics, Poland saw a 3.3% increase in the number of tourists during the year, with the four host cities – Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Poznan – welcoming around 677,000 foreign visitors during the tournament.
- The average length of stay for visitors was 7.7 days, with an accommodation occupancy rate of 80%.
- In addition to direct tourism revenues, Poland also saw a boost to its image and visibility as a tourist destination, with post-event surveys indicating increased interest in visiting the country.
- Ukraine saw an even greater increase, with around 1.2 million foreign tourists visiting the country during the tournament, an increase of 8.2% on the previous year.
- The average length of stay was 4.6 days.
- The total revenue generated by tourism in Ukraine during Euro 2012 was estimated at around €800 million.
Euro 2016 – France
- The total number of tourists who visited France during Euro 2016 was about 2.5 million, of which 1.5 million were foreign visitors.
- The average length of stay for tourists during the tournament was around 7.9 days and the total number of overnight stays was estimated at 7.8 million.
- The total economic impact of the event was around €1.22 billion, with fan zones generating €300 million, ticketing €230 million and other tourism expenditure €690 million.
How to make the most out of Euro 2024
In this section, we’ll share the most effective strategies to get the most out of Euro 2024. We’ll discuss how to get more visibility by improving your online sales strategies, the best practices for ranking better on Google, the importance of staying in touch with your new customers, and much more!
Increase brand awareness with OTAs
It’s clear from the data above: The Euro will bring an incredible number of foreign tourists to the host country. For this reason, increasing your brand awareness among international audiences should be a top priority. Unless you have a huge marketing budget, that’s easier said than done. Fortunately, you can quickly expand your online presence by working with online travel agencies. OTAs are massive digital storefronts that aggregate the offerings of countless tour operators and activity providers, allowing users to easily compare options at a glance.
The most popular OTAs attract literally millions of visitors each month, guaranteeing their partners plenty of visibility. The only downside is that most of these sites charge a commission, typically 20% to 30% of the price of your tickets, so you need to plan your distribution strategy carefully. Ideally, you will want to use OTAs to gain exposure and capitalize on it through your direct channels.
When deciding which OTA to join, keep in mind that each is popular with a different audience. In our case, your goal is to attract tourists from the major European countries, where the most popular OTAs are Civitatis, Musement, Viator and GetYourGuide.
You should also keep in mind that most OTAs won’t accept your application unless you have a way to update your availability in real time. You can do this with the help of a reservation system, a specialized software that industry professionals use to sell tickets online, manage reservations and connect with resellers. Regiondo – the leading solution in this field – integrates a powerful Channel Manager that allows you to manage your listings on multiple OTAs at the same time.
- Blog article: 8 OTA Marketing Strategies to Increase Your Visibility & Sell More
- Guide: How to Join and Connect with the Major OTAs
- Learn more about Regiondo’s Channel Manager
Localize your website and offers in multiple languages
To attract and engage the diverse international audience at Euro 2024, it’s essential to localize your website and listings into multiple languages. By offering content in the languages spoken by your target audience, you increase the likelihood of capturing their interest and ultimately converting them into customers.
Keep in mind that localization goes beyond simple translation. It involves adapting your messages to the cultural preferences and expectations of your new audience, which may require the help of a knowledgeable professional. This is especially true since, for optimal results, this content should be optimized for search engines in each target language. This includes researching relevant keywords, creating localized meta tags, and tweaking your site structure to improve navigation. It may seem like a lot of work, but ranking well on Google will give you a huge boost in visibility and help you make the most out of Euro 2024.
- With Regiondo’s Website Builder, you can easily create a multilingual website by choosing one of our pre-built templates. It will only take you a few minutes, even if you don’t have any programming experience! Find out more here.
- Regiondo’s Booking System natively supports 11 languages – from German to French – allowing you to offer a seamless booking experience to your international customers. Click here to learn more.
Leverage online and mobile bookings
In today’s digital age, providing a seamless online booking experience is critical to attracting international customers, especially for events like Euro 2024. That’s even more true when it comes to younger consumers, who make up a large demographic of European soccer fans. In fact, an increasing number of travelers appreciate the ease of booking online and receiving immediate confirmation of their purchase, rather than waiting for an email or spending time on the phone. Recent data shows that 83% of Gen-Z and Millennials prefer to interact with tour operators and activity providers that offer online booking options.
Here is a list of best practices for creating a mobile-friendly booking site:
- Responsive layout – Make sure that your website is designed with a responsive layout that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes and resolutions to provide an optimal viewing experience on a variety of devices, such as smart phones, tablets, and desktop computers.
- Touchscreen-friendly design – When designing your website, make sure all buttons, links, and interactive elements are large enough and spaced appropriately for easy tapping on touchscreens. Do not use elements such as hover menus, which can be difficult to navigate on mobile devices.
- Pop-ups – Reduce the use of pop-ups, which can interrupt the user experience and frustrate mobile users.
- Mobile bookings – Streamline the booking process by minimizing the number of steps and required form fields. Use mobile-friendly input methods such as drop-down menus and date pickers to make it easier for users to complete the booking.
- Images and videos – Use high-quality images and videos to showcase your tours and activities, but always verify that they are properly optimized for mobile devices to avoid slow load times.
- Click-to-call buttons – Include click-to-call buttons for your phone number, allowing mobile users to quickly contact your business without having to manually dial the number.
- Blog article: The benefits of online booking systems – Streamlining operations
- All templates included in Regiondo’s website builder have a responsive design that looks great on both desktop computers and smartphones. Our booking engine is also optimized for mobile devices, including the admin panel. This way, you will not only provide your customers with a superior booking experience, but you will also have the convenience of managing your business while you’re away from the office. Learn more by clicking here.
Offer multiple payment methods
We’ve said it many times, but it’s important to reiterate this concept for emphasis: the European Championship will put the host countries in the spotlight of a broad and international audience. Your potential customers will have different payment preferences depending on their country, age and comfort level with technology. If you’re looking to boost your online bookings, keep in mind that many countries whose national teams are likely to take part in the tournament do not use the euro as their official currency, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden.
Given these considerations, in you want to make the most out of Euro 2024, offering a variety of payment methods and supporting multiple currencies is critical to maximizing both reservations and onsite sales. Also, make sure to handle transactions through a trusted payment gateway to guarantee the security of your customers’ data.
- Regiondo’s booking system supports 16 currencies, a wide variety of payment methods such as Paypal and Alipay, and bank-level security thanks to 256-bit encryption. Learn more.
Provide flexible booking options
When it comes to traveling abroad and attending a big event, your clients may be stressed about having to cancel their plans due to unforeseen events. To avoid alienating your audience and make them feel more secure, offer them flexible booking options. In particular, we recommend to:
- Allow them to reschedule their reservation for free or for a nominal fee.
- Also, give them the option to cancel without penalty.
- Whatever your booking and cancellation policy is, be sure to define it clearly and include it in your listings.
- When a customer books one of your experiences, provide them with a copy of your cancellation policy along with their booking confirmation.
Optimize for local search
In the context of international travel, the booking window for experiences is typically short. This means that tourists often purchase tickets for tours and activities just a few days before their vacation begins, or even upon arrival at their destination. This makes it even more important to optimize your website for local search, which means making sure it ranks well on Google for location-specific queries (e.g., “things to do in Berlin”). This will guarantee you more traffic, which should hopefully translate into more bookings and increased revenue.
To help you rank better for local search, here are our top three tips:
- Google My Business – Claim and verify your Google My Business (GMB) listing to increase your visibility in local search results and on Google Maps. Complete all relevant information, including your business name, address, phone number, website, and business hours. Don’t forget to add high-quality, eye-catching photos!
- Keyword research – Identify popular keywords related to your listings and host cities and incorporate them into your site’s content, meta tags, and URLs. This will help Google understand your site’s relevance to specific locations and rank it higher in search results.
- Reviews – Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and other relevant platforms. This is extremely important because reviews can have a significant impact on your local search rankings and overall reputation. Remember to respond to all feedback you receive, even negative ones, to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
Run targeted advertising campaigns
To increase your brand awareness and connect with international customers, consider running geo-targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads, Facebook, and Instagram. As the name implies, geo-targeting allows you to reach specific countries or regions and tailor your ads to the interests (mainly football, in this case) and preferences of your audience. Here are some ideas you can explore to make the most out of Euro 2024:
- Leverage social media platforms – Soccer fans are active on various social networks discussing games, sharing experiences, and connecting with other enthusiasts. You can take advantage of this by running targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thanks to their integrated tools, you can use demographic information, interests, and location data to narrow your audience and effectively reach potential customers.
- Run Google Ads campaigns – Google Ads can help you target potential customers who are searching for tours and activities related to Euro 2024. By using relevant keywords and phrases such as “Euro 2024 tours” or “things to do near [host city name],” you can show your ads to users who are actively searching for experiences during the event. For your paid search campaigns, it’s important to optimize your ad copy and landing pages to ensure quality results and better ad placements.
- Retargeting Campaigns – Retargeting campaigns can be an effective way to re-engage site visitors who have shown interest in your tours and activities but haven’t completed a booking. Retargeting ads are supported by both Google and social network such as Facebook and Instagram, so you can remind potential customers of your offers and encourage them to return to your website.
Engage with online soccer communities
- Identify relevant online forums and social media groups – Start by researching and identifying online football forums and social media groups where football enthusiasts – especially those who will be attending Euro 2024 in person – meet. These platforms may include Reddit, Facebook groups, Twitter communities, and soccer-specific forums. We encourage you to focus on communities with active discussions and high levels of engagement.
- Create a presence and contribute valuable content – Once you’ve identified suitable online soccer communities, establish your presence by creating accounts and actively participating in discussions. You can start by sharing valuable content, such as informative articles, videos, or tips on local attractions, to showcase your expertise and build trust with community members.
- Offer exclusive discounts or promotions – To further engage with these online communities, consider offering exclusive discounts or promotions to their members. The goal of this strategy is to encourage potential customers to choose you over the competition, so be sure to tailor your offers to the specific interests of each community and clearly communicate the terms and conditions of your promotions.
Collaborate with influencers and sports bloggers
- Find the right influencers and bloggers – Research and select influencers and sports bloggers who have a significant following among football fans and are relevant to your target audience. Ideally, you want to look for individuals who have an authentic connection to both football and travel.
- Contact them for collaboration – Once you’ve identified potential influencers and sports bloggers, reach out to them with a proposal for collaboration. To give you a few ideas, you could ask them to create sponsored posts, reviews of your tours and activities, or even co-created content that both parties can share on their platforms.
- Leverage influencer content – After a successful collaboration, use the content created by the influencers and sports bloggers to increase your visibility and reach. In particular, share their posts on your social media channels, feature their content on your website, and use their testimonials to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Offer multilingual services
- Hire multi-lingual staff – To cater to an international audience during Euro 2024, consider hiring multi-lingual staff (primarily tour guides and/or the staff who will run your experiences) who can effectively communicate with customers from different countries. If your staff can speak the same language as your visitors, you will eliminate potential language barriers that could hinder bookings and customer satisfaction.
- Provide language-specific customer support – In addition to providing multilingual tour guides and staff, it’s critical to provide multilingual customer support, which means having support agents who can communicate with clients in their native language. This makes it easier for customers to ask questions, address concerns, and make bookings, thereby improving their overall experience with your company.
- Promote your multilingual services – Highlight your multilingual services in your marketing materials, website, and social media channels. Attracting a diverse audience is the best way to make the most out of Euro 2024.
Don’t lose touch with your new customers
- Collect customer contact information – At the time of booking or during your tours and activities, be sure to collect contact information from your customers, including email addresses and, if possible, social media profiles. As you can imagine, this will allow you to maintain communication with them after their experience and build long-term relationships. To streamline and automate similar processes, you can use a CRM, which is software that allows you to store and manage customer data.
- Send post-experience follow-ups – After your customers complete their tours or activities, send personalized follow-up messages to thank them for choosing your business and ask for their feedback. There’s no better way to show your customers that you value their opinions and care about their experience.
- Send regular newsletters and updates – Keep your customers informed of your latest offers, promotions and news by sending regular newsletters (at least monthly). Make sure your content is relevant, engaging and tailored to your audience’s interests.
- Regiondo’s booking system boasts a state-of-the-art CRM you can use to track your sales, get real-time booking data, manage and respond to your customers. – Find out more.
- Implement a referral program – Empower your new customers to refer friends and family to your business by implementing a referral program. You can offer incentives such as discounts, freebies, or exclusive access to special events for successful referrals. In our experience, this is the cheapest and most effective strategy for attracting new customers through word-of-mouth.
In conclusion, Euro 2024 offers tour operators and activity providers a unique opportunity to increase sales and attract an international audience. By implementing strategies such as optimizing digital marketing efforts, working with influencers and offering multilingual services, you can effectively cater to the diverse needs of football fans and stand out from the competition. Seize this opportunity to grow your business, create memorable experiences for your customers, and build a strong foundation for future success in the competitive tourism industry.
To learn more about Regiondo, the leading reservation software for tour operators and activity suppliers, you can schedule a free demo with one of our consultants.