Get it Across drives next phase of OTT engagement in Germany
OTT is preparing for the next exciting phase of international expansion with the appointment of three specialist country and regional marketing agencies.
We‘ve appointed agencies in Germany, USA and Australia to help further engage clients and business through our network of country websites. Our newly appointed agencies will drive clients‘ social media campaigns and produce dedicated OTT blogs and newsletters for the countries or regions they represent.
Fingers crossed, in 2021 we‘re hoping our marketing partners will be able to run events for our clients and other in-market activities.
We‘ll be introducing our new country representatives through our News pages. This week, we talk to Albert Jennings, Ines Niehues and Julia Hoevelkamp of OTT‘s representation agency Get it Across, who will be working across Germany, Switzerland and Austria to boost client engagement.
Read on to find out why the great outdoors continues to be a travel aspiration within this key market and why new EU directives mean training travel agents has become “all the more important” within the country.
Albert, in your own words, tell us a bit about your agency...
“Get It Across (GIA) is a full service marketing and public relations agency, based in Cologne, Germany. Albert Jennings is the Owner and Managing Director. I am an expatriate American, and have lived and worked in Cologne since 1988. I established Get It Across in 1999 based on my travel industry and public relations contactsin the German-speaking market”
“GIA services foreign destinations and their hospitality industry in the European markets. GIA has established close relationships to all major European tour operators in its markets. Together with our clients, GIA is an established and well-respected partner for marketing programmes, roadshows, full PR exposure, market analyses and fam trips. Get It Across is ambassador, advisor, and project manager at the same time. Get It Across is your bridgehead - we connect people and products.”
How long has your team been working in travel?
Albert: 26 years
Ines: 28 years
Julia: 6 years
What trends are you seeing in your markets right now?
Albert: “With travel and border restrictions due to Covid-19, we’re yet to define the “new normal.” But what we do know is the preferences of our clients. Germans do a lot of online research and LOVE maps. They love the great outdoors and holidays that are off the beaten path and in wide, open spaces. Emerging trends within the country include camper vacations and individual fly-drive breaks.”
How important is the role of the travel agents within your country?
Albert: “The role of a travel agent is an extremely important one within Germany for long-haul travel. Germany has the highest concentration of travel agents world-wide, with over 11,000 brick and mortar agencies and multiple associations of at-home travel consultants. Within Germany, travel agents are not “bound” to any one particular tour operator.”
Can you describe the importance of training travel agents within your country?
Albert: “New EU directives defining what a “packaged tour” is means that basically every travel agent now can be considered a “tour operator”. This means that travel agents sell both packaged tours from tour operators (as a middleman) and can also package products together as well.”
“Travel agents look at both tour operator products and look to DMCs within a destination for unique travel products for their clients. Training travel agents has become all the more important because of this dual functionality. Travel agents need to know substantially more about destinations in order to deal directly with local DMCs in addition to German tour operators.”
“Through OTT training modules, travel agents become knowledgeable and confident about a vast variety of travel products and world-wide travel destinations.”
How do you think technology is changing the way people learn about and book travel?
Albert: “Germans research a lot online for long-haul travel, but continue to book offline with travel agents. New technology introduced by different German tour operators allow for more individual fly/drive itinerary creation and pricing. German tour operators still produce printed catalogues, but these are becoming more inspirational pieces for clients to flip through.”
“During travel agent appointments individualised tours and itineraries are worked out, packaged and booked through new technology. Similarly, new tools from travel agency associations and airline consolidators make travel products available from smaller specialist tour operators that otherwise would not have “made the cut” for brochure space in retail outlets.”
What you are most looking forward to while working with OTT?
Albert: “Making the OTT brand more well-known through association contacts.”
Ines: “Expanding OTT’s distribution channels into Germany, Switzerland and Austria.”
Julia: “Telling the community more about OTT by creating blog content and a Facebook page from scratch”
Can you recommend a destination within the country/market you represent - and a brief description why?
Albert: “With the current “re-focus” on Germany, I can highly recommend Lindau on Lake Constance and Coburg in Franconia – Prince Albert’s ancestral home.”
Ines: “A dear colleague introduced me to the Moselle wine valley, which I have explored a lot in the past 20 years. Nothing better than enjoying a glass of Riesling (and snacks) with friends in our vineyard. Together with five friends, we visit the vineyard multiple times a year and work hard to grow a nice Moselle Riesling, perfect to enjoy with family and friends!”
Julia: “I love my hometown, Cologne, there is always something new to discover, you can sit on the river and watch people, ride your bike in the nature, enjoy food from all over the world, every part of town has a different vibe and the people are really open-minded and friendly.
Where would you most like to visit… anywhere in the world?
Albert: “I have been to Armenia and am highly interested in visiting Georgia.”
Ines: “I fell in love with Cape Town and the Western Cape SA and I still have Australia on my bucket list.”
Julia: “I would love to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia.”