Such a respectable number of visitors requires all-round flawless organisation. In 2015, we devised our first version of the Merano Christmas Market website and since then we have been managing its annual recurrences, guaranteeing the organisation of all of its online communication.
Over 500,000 visitors each year
How we got started
Our work got underway with the need to communicate the entire market experience: an invitation to those who had never been there, a pleasant reminder for those who had. The idea was to tell the story of what goes on in the period prior to the market’s inauguration, the moment when it goes ‘live’ from the end of November to Twelfth Night, and the time afterwards. This was therefore a type of communication that, using the website and social networks and aided by web marketing with a promotional budget, would be able to tell of the magic of Christmas at Merano all the year round.
A welcoming website reaching a peak of 6,000 visitors a day
We recreated the typical South Tyrol-Alto Adige welcome during the festive period in the navigation experience, too. ‘Welcome’ means simplicity, ease in finding your way around (for example, with a way to seamlessly bridge the gap between online and offline, with an interactive map of the stands), colours in line with the market brand officially recognisable within the tourist sector in an instant, with many non-official players.
Everyone's a key player
All the main players of the event are given great importance on the webpages: stallholders (each with a detailed page featuring images and presentation), hoteliers, restauranteurs and sponsors are presented and given plenty of space without creating the impression of being invasive. We then allocated the most space to the stars of the show – the market-goers. Visitors have the option of sharing their experiences with others by means of leaving reviews or publishing their photos on Instagram, which automatically merge into the site to give the most complete account possible of the event.
An moving account
The communicative potential of an event like the Merano Christmas Market was evident to us from the start. This is why, since 2012, social networks have been the channel of choice to feed the real experience of theMerano Christmas Market using a Twitter account and Facebook page capable of ensuring great results instantly (with over 28,000 ‘likes’ to date) in terms of exposure and, mainly, for creating a ‘collective awareness’ of the event. There is an additional story on the official Instagram account of the town of Merano.
By involving people directly, we have created communication campaigns based on the hashtag (#xmasmerano), online competitions and the participation of visitors in the collective storytelling process. Encouraged to send in personal images and videos with their own takes on the event, visitors have painted a unique picture in recent years.
Web marketing mainly took place on Facebook, with the dual objective of increasing public interest in the Merano Christmas Market and encouraging the participation of people in the collective storytelling process. Managing the budget available for each year, the response of people to the incentives allowed the creation of a wide network of enthusiastic promoters who told their friends, relatives and acquaintances about their positive impressions of Merano Christmas Market. Newsletters that we prepare and send every year to provide people with information and make them feel involved were an additional part of the advertising.
Feedback collection on Survey Monkey
Web marketing mainly took place on Facebook, with the dual objective of increasing public interest in Merano Christmas Market and encouraging the participation of people in the collective storytelling process. Managing the budget available for each year, the response of people to the incentives allowed the creation of a wide network of enthusiastic promoters who told their friends, relatives and acquaintances about their positive impressions of Merano Christmas Market.