Top European Cities exchange know-how to improve City Cards and go towards a common city cards brand

Over thirty five product managers i.e. 60% of the experts from the 42 leading European Cities recently met in Berlin to exchange knowledge and best practice in one of the most significant growth areas in city marketing – city cards.

The City Cards expert meeting is an initiative of European Cities Marketing, an association that improves the competitiveness of cities through a collaborative approach to marketing and insight based on benchmarking performance.
At the meeting, the cities discussed in small groups themes such as technologies and digital practices in city cards, cooperation with transport companies, or human resources and organisation dedicated to city cards.

“The goal of this yearly event is to strengthen a network of experts working in the field of product management for City Cards. The ECM knowledge groups play a pivotal role in helping Cities develop new ideas, products, insight and solutions to European Cities’ competitive barriers.” said Ignasi de Delàs, President of ECM.
Towards a common brand
Part of the meeting was also dedicated to the presentation of the 2014/15 strategy which will include a new common branding around the City Cards product in Europe to communicate towards the travelers, with more interaction on social media to increase consumer awareness and encourage their purchase of city cards when travelling. With the help of the website, the app, advertising tools and information on social media, the traveler will be able to make optimum use of city cards and enhance its customer experience.

Olivier Occelli, chairperson of the knowledge group, explains: “last year, more than 2.7 million cards were sold among the leading cities in Europe. City Cards are an important tool within the City Hospitality mix since they can enhance the visitors experience in a City. Through knowledge exchange, ECM assists members to fine-tune the product, the message and provide case studies of successful marketing.”

Value for money perception and competitiveness
The challenge is increasingly important, as illustrated in a recent report from TCI research on the value for money perception in European Cities : besides key elements in the visitors’ budget (accommodation and food) non paying and intangible experience also strongly impacts visitors’ overall stay value for money satisfaction.
Safety feeling, local people hospitality and value for money are secondary but key elements since visitors associate value to the whole experience, and not only to price related specific items. And this is exactly what City Cards aim to offer the traveler.

The stakes are high : the survey shows that European Cities tend to contribute more for fulfilling expectations, but are outperformed by Non-European Cities when it comes to value for money and price related indexes. For example, the price of public transportation is much more perceived as expensive in European Cities than in Non-European Cities. The City card is therefore the best remedy, transport being included in most of the leading city cards brought together under

Overall fulfillment of expectations towards European Cities is high, and may mean that prices’ level is a secondary issue. However, this is increasingly important as compared to global competition, European Cities need a special focus in improving food, shopping and accommodation, given their importance as key drivers in value for money perception among visitors.

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