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  • Writer's pictureAlice Parodi

Territorial marketing as an opportunity to relaunch and development of the city of Albenga

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

The goal of the thesis project carried out by Alice Parodi is to draw up a territorial marketing plan for her city, Albenga. In the elaboration of the plan the collaboration with the Municipality was relevant, in particular with the councillors of tourism and events, and with SL&A – Tourismo e Territorio, a tourist consultancy company in Rome, formally in charge of drafting the marketing plan.

The objectives of the research were, in fact, formally dictated by Albenga Municipality:

  • Promote more effectively the Albenga image, aimed at its economic development and tourism growth through the overall enhancement of the territory and natural resources, cultural, historical and related to food and wine

  • Develop a communication campaign also on digital channels and social networks to strengthen the presence of Albenga also on these channels;

  • Create the conditions for the seasonal adjustment of flows with the consequent expansion of the tourist season.

Thanks to a series of in-depth qualitative interviews, it was possible to draw up a very detailed quantitativesurvey, distributed using CAWI methodology. The distribution of the questionnaire resulted in a total of about 1,500 valid and usable answers for analysis.

The first analysis that should be highlighted is the market segmentation, aimed at identifying some clusters as unique as possible in their peculiarities. With this goal, the first step was a Factor Analysis, thanks to which it was possible to identify a structure underlying the 23 variables submitted to the evaluation of the sample and find a new set of variables, of smaller size than the original one, able to express the points in common between the variables themselves. As a result of a series of attempts it was decided to choose the 9-component solution that, both statistically and strategically, was the most valid option. The factors identified are the following: Commodity and Relax, Movida, Culture, Hospitality, Transport, Sport, Hot Topics, Beauty of Nature, Local Product Experiences.

Once the Factor Analysis is completed, with the intention of concretizing the market segmentation, we proceed with the Cluster Analysis. It was decided to opt for a non-hierarchical clustering through the k-means method. Analyzing the final center table, the segmentation to six clusters results the best interpreted from a strategic point of view. A radar graph is provided to show which factors best characterize each cluster, thanks to this vision it was possible to attribute a name to each segment and to assign them a first characterization.

Just for some factors related to the intrinsic characteristics of each cluster, the strategy will focus only on The Tourist, Casinari, Low Cost Traveler and Mangia, Prega, Ama. Pantofolai and Commodity-ed are not in line with the type of tourist image that Albenga turns to assume: less anchored to the idea of seaside resort and closer to the idea of a cultural destination, related to food and wine and capable of offering numerous activities related to the incredible natural landscape that characterizes it.

With the aim of deepening the assessment of the localities of Western Liguria and to identify the elements with the greatest impact on the overall satisfaction of the traveler in a post holiday phase, it was decided to carry out a Linear Regression Analysis based on the satisfaction judgments of the only respondents who declared to have spent at least one holiday in Western Liguria.

We decided to use the Stepwise method, step by step mode, we set a threshold value of the variables in the model equal to 5% and an exit threshold equal to 10%. Valuating the validity of the model, we note that the R-square is equal to 59.6% indicating that a large part of the variability of the dependent variable is captured by the variations of the other explanatory variables.

From the graph you can see the weight of each variable in impacting overall satisfaction in a post-holiday phase: you can see that the beauty of nature is the most impactful element. It was decided to highlight the presence of suitable accommodation facilities and the easiness of moving through the territory because from a comparison with the most relevant attributes to total sample, and therefore not referred to the only destinations of Western Liguria, almost all the variables were found to coincide with those identified as having the greatest impact on satisfaction, except for the presence of suitable accommodation facilities and the easiness of moving through the territory. For this reason, these two elements are identified as watch-out points for the destinations of Western Liguria, as elements recognized as impacting in a vertical and specific way for these destinations.

With the aim of deepening the knowledge about the perception of Western Liguria cities by tourists it was decided to do a Linear Discriminant Analysis in order to realize perceptional map. The visited city was the qualitative variable of the model and the quantitative variables are satisfaction assessments on the variables already used in Linear Regression.

As you can see from the map, the X axis represents the contrast between culture and fun: to a greater value of the X corresponds a positioning more focused on culture, as the X decreases, there is a more focused positioning on fun and nightlife. The Y axis reflects the care of a certain locality, in terms of safety, tranquility and cleanliness: to a greater value of the Y corresponds a destination more accurate and enjoyable from these points of view. Turning to the evaluation of the position of the cities analyzed, it is possible to say that Albenga is the city best positioned from the cultural point of view, a result that can be expected given the presence of the historic center and the vast museum offer; on the other hand, tourists think that Albenga is characterized by a poor offer in terms of sources of entertainment and nightlife. Albenga perception related to the locality care (safety and cleanliness) is lower than the position assumed by all the other towns considered, except for Alassio. Wanting to deepen the positioning of Western Liguria localities about the issues of food and wine resources and outdoor activities, the orthogonal projections of the various towns have been traced with respect to the axes passing through the attributes of this analysis. As a result, both with reference to outodoor activities and food and wine resources, Albenga emerges as the best located location.

Thanks to the results emerged and experts in different tourism sector consultation, it was possible to proceed with drafting the Tourism Marketing Plan for the city of Albenga. The main initiatives identified for each cluster are now presented. It should be noted that each initiative has been studied starting from the specific characteristics identified on each segment.

Being the Mangia, Prega, Ama travellers who spend their holidays mainly as a couple, with an average age of 43 years and a high concentration of guys from 24 to 35 years, that show a particular interest in culinary experiences and for all that is related to local traditions and that appreciate the weekends as a time to devote to travel, we thought to a Tour of Taste among the main food and wine Albenga companies, with the aim of gifting a completely immersive experience in the local culinary tradition, in line with the expectations and preferences shown by this segment.

Focusing on the search for dynamism, the propensity to travel in a group and the desire to keep low the costs of the holiday that the Low Cost Traveler have expressed, was thought for this cluster to an organized tour to discover the Albenga hinterland. The tour will be distributed over several days, each of which will be characterized by the discovery of one of the valleys that characterize Albenga hinterland and will have as base camp Albenga, flat gathering all the towns and for this convenient point of departure and arrival. In sequence the Low Cost Traveler will have the opportunity to visit: Erli, Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena, Zuccarello, Balestrino, Toirano and its caves, Castelbianco and Vendone the Ligurian Stonehenge. For the last day a cycle path was designed between the greenhouses, to get in touch with a reality that strongly characterizes Albenga plain. It is relevant to note that the tour will be guided by the knowledge of the guys of the delegation Albenga-Alassio FAI.

The Casinari is a cluster tendentially young, with a high concentration of under 24, whose most relevant elements in the selection and evaluation of the tourist destination are related to the nightlife and outdoor activities. It is possible to say that Albenga has all the potential to meet the needs of this segment of travellers: the city, in fact, has witnessed a significant repopulation and redevelopment of the historic center, thanks to the presence of many places that every evening attract young (but also less young) from all over the area; In addition, in recent years the offer of outdoor sports has increased significantly throughout the area. From the perceptional map we noted that if, on the one hand, Albenga is well positioned from the point of view of outdoor activities, the same cannot be said with regard to entertainment and nightlife, being more unbalanced towards the culture and history of the city. The strategy that needs to be adopted with reference to the cluster of Casinari is, therefore, to communicate the image of a city suitable for fun and able to accommodate a younger tourist population.

The first communication strategy that we intend to implement is closely linked to the use of social networks, going to act directly on the management of them and proposing an innovative communication style in the field of tourism. The Casinari claim to use social networks to search the pages owned by the Municipality, with the aim of finding information related to the interested destination: the proposal is to "give in management" the social pages of Albenga (@scoprialbenga) to some citizens, so that they can show to potential tourists everything that the city has to offer in terms of activities and fun, making a real takover of the social pages of the City.

The second communication strategy aimed at the Casinari cluster has a specific focus on the under 30 and is based on a partnership with a company operating in the tourism sector and, in particular, with an Influencer, ambassador of the company. The company in question is Utravel, the Corporate Startup of the Alpitour Group, which offers organized trips to young people under 30 through all-inclusive packages at prices that are definitely accessible to a young target. The startup offers trips around the world and one of the sections proposed is just "Italy Mare", among whose destinations offered stand out Sardinia, Sicily and Puglia. The idea is to propose the inclusion of Liguria among the selection of proposed destinations and to include Albenga among the locations affected by the tour. The ambassador we were talking about is Emanuele Ferrari, aka Emilife, Influencer of 25 years who, over the last few months, has concentrated part of his communication proposal in the exhibition of tours of the main Italian regions, in the name of good food and landscapes more "instagrammable".

With the knowledge that the Casinari cluster attaches great importance to social life and nightlife, and with the idea that Albenga lacks points of aggregation and attraction for young people, two great events are proposed during the summer season to make the city attractive to a large audience, also coming from neighboring cities: the open-air cinema and the end of summer show.

The latest initiative is aimed at the segment of The Tourist, market segment that shows greater propensity towards culture, giving great importance to the presence of museums, guided tours to sites of historical interest and characteristic villages to visit. Already from this description it is possible to say that this is the most suitable cluster to appreciate the historical and cultural side of Albenga, with one of the largest historical centers in Italy, an extremely varied museum network and, for this, attractiveness and an inestimable cultural heritage. To give greater prominence to this side of Albenga and with the aim of making the locality known and recognized for its culture, we propose a cycle of Cultural Weekends to be repeated throughout the year and mainly during the low season in order to boost the seasonality of flows and the expansion of the tourist season. The arts that have been decided to give space within the cycle of the Cultural Weekend are the following:

  • Musical weekend, with the organization of a series of concerts in the main squares of the historic center and a vintage market linked to the world of music;

  • Theatre weekend, based on the realization of an itinerant theater inside the squares of the historic center;

  • Literary weekend, based on a series of literary events aimed at giving space and visibility to the authors of the area;

  • Weekend of architecture, with the opening to the public of the main historical buildings of Albenga and the organization of related tours led by the FAI.

With the aim of prioritising the initiatives proposed as a result of the analysis, each idea has been subject to two validation criteria in order to assess, on the one hand, its appreciation and, on the other, its feasibility. The intention was to be able to insert all the main initiatives within a Feasibility-Appreciation matrix, in order to identify the winning ideas and guide a potential implementation of them: in the selection of initiatives to be put into practice will certainly be chosen as priorities ideas with high appreciation and high feasibility (where feasibility means ease of implementation, taking into account the effort and the potential administrative risks or impediments involved).

To evaluate the feasibility of each proposal it was decided to consult the main entities involved in the organization of the different initiatives, first of all Albenga Municipality. To have, then, an estimation of the satisfaction that each idea could generate on the tourist population, all the initiatives were enclosed in a survey, this time addressed to a homogeneous group of potential tourists (on both criteria the ideas were evaluated on a scale of 1-5).

Combining these assessments in a dispersion graph, having on the axis of the ordered the feasibility and on the axis of the ascisse the appreciation (Feasibility-Appreciation matrix), you get a potential order by which to prioritize the ideas contained in the territorial tourism marketing plan for the year 2022:

It is possible to conclude that the Tour del Gusto and the Cultural Weekends are the most appreciated and feasible initiatives to give, therefore, absolute priority in the implementation; follow the Utravel Package, the Late Summer Show and the Hinterland Tour and, finally, certainly secondary priority to the Outdoor Cinema.


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