Few cities in Europe are likely to match the insights on visitor demand that Athens now has, thanks to our research for This Is Athens & Partners (previously Athens Tourism Partnership), a consortium of public and private organizations (City of Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, Greek Tourism Confederation, Aegean Airlines and Athens International Airport) dedicated to promoting Athens as a year-round city break destination.

In short, our work was to produce a comprehensive analysis of city tourism insights and guidelines for marketing initiatives during a time of high growth for city trips in Europe. That would help This Is Athens & Partners to enhance their market targeting ahead of a series of destination campaigns and pursue a higher return on investment for their work, on behalf of the city. 

Such an ambitious project required a clear methodological framework. First, we gathered material from the consortium itself (1st party data). Second, we made special requests to key partners (2nd party data) and produced grouped findings from a vast amount of desk research resources (3rd party data). Finally, we added data from an online survey completed by more than 5,000 respondents in 5 key outbound markets. For 5 primary & 5 secondary target markets, research triangulation was achieved through carefully designed stages of data collection and analysis. 

The wide range of data resources used to inform conclusions and recommendations included:
  • Quality consumer research on city visitor behavior: Key attributes such as city trip duration and composition, sources of travel inspiration, booking channels and in-destination activities, were examined for different phases of the customer journey.
  • Google Trends data on city travel searches over an 8-year period: Here we analyzed the position of Athens against groups of cities such as the Global Champions of the Mediterranean (e.g. Rome, Barcelona, Madrid) and the Cultural Meccas of Europe (e.g. Prague, Edinburgh, Budapest).
  • User data by Google and Trip Advisor on the origin and the seasonal pattern of city travel searches in 2016-2017: These sources shed light on monthly peaks along with variations between primary and secondary markets.
  • User data by Trip Advisor & ReviewPro on hotel ratings and reviews: Our focus here was on the quality of hospitality services in Athens and key competitors, based on the views the visitors share with their peers after a trip.
Based on all these resources, our work among numerous activities also included:
  • City visitor profiling & persona development: Here we applied the methodology of Six Traveler Tribes by Amadeus to enable a transition from the analysis of visitor types to the analysis of travel personas. Results on Amadeus’ psychographic items were associated with results of strong ‘Intention to Visit Athens’ and key geo-demographic items among groups of travelers. 
  • Brand image perception study of Athens: High and low scores of perception attributes (e.g. expensive Vs. affordable, exciting Vs. boring) were integrated for city travelers who did not intend to visit along with prospective visitors and repeaters.
  • Destination supply & product analysis: We made a list of 9 (more) products that worth showcasing the diversified offering of Athens. 
  • This Is Athens online audit: An interactive website was created to compare search behavior analytics and technical findings between the official website of destination Athens and respective websites of 25 leading DMOs. 
  • Data-driven marketing strategy & campaign planning: All previous data was used to inform campaign guidelines on preferred travel personas, recommended messages and practical tips to strengthen customer engagement. 
The depth of triangulated data and the variety of research resources triggered a wider debate about future opportunities for Athens competing more effectively on key target markets.

TOPOSOPHY leads on strategy building and destination development

 Interested to know more about our work on strategy building and destination development? Find out more about our past work on these projects below: 





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