Bloom Consulting (BC), consulting company based in Madrid, is specialised for branding of nations, regions and cities. BC has published 2014/2015 Tourism edition of Country Brand Ranking. According to the ranking, Montenegro is positioned 37th in Europe out of 41 countries; and 106th in the World out of 180 countries included. According to BC, Spain is ranked 1st in Europe and 2nd in the World, after the USA.
The methodology which was used in the research was based on four tourism-related variables. The final results of our ranking not only measure perceptions of a tourism specific Country Brand, but also classify its relative branding performance in a tangible and realistic manner. The algorithm accounts for both the economic prowess of a country’s tourism sector and its online performance, thus considering hard and soft data in an accurate and objective Brand Ranking. The variables included:
- Economic performance,
- Digital Demand – D2 ©,
- CBS (Country Brand Strategy) Rating, and
- Online performance.
The economic performance of a country’s tourism sector is a key variable in Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Ranking. Economic success is the most important aspect in measuring an effective Country Brand; the brand of a country’s tourism industry cannot be strong if the country does not achieve financial gain from international visitors. Tourists will travel to a country with a stronger appeal and greater attractiveness as a tourist destination, traits governed by the success of that country’s brand. The economic performance variable is based on the following data calculated from UNWTO international tourism statistics: tourism receipts (average of total annual tourism receipts of international tourists within a country, 2008-2012) and tourism receipt growth rate (2008-2012)
The D2 © (Digital Demand) tool measures the total online search volume for tourism-related activities and attractions within each of the 180 countries included in the ranking, allowing us to assess the online behavior and decision-making processes of international tourists. The more online tourism-related searches a country has, the more appealing the brand is. According to the Google Traveler report, nearly 70% of leisure travelers utilized the Internet as a trusted source of information when choosing a destination for travel. The same study indicates that 64% of travelers use search engines specifically for this purpose.
To note is that Google as in 2015 blocks word Montenegro in certain search results, especially in Google auto complete. Word Montenegro is blacklisted as Google blocks all the therms consisting the word “negro”, including the term Montenegro!
Country Brand Strategy (CBS) evaluates the accuracy of the strategy by each National Tourism Organization (NTO) for all 180 countries included in the ranking. BC measures the NTO’s branding accuracy by means of formulae that compare the most popular brandtags (as measured by D2 © tool) for a specific country to the brandtags most heavily promoted by that country’s NTO. A Country Brand receives a higher rating if that country’s NTO focuses its strategic and promotional positioning on the tourism-related brandtags with the highest demand as measured by total online searches from international tourists. A poor rating can suggest either the inappropriate promotion of the least popular brandtags (as measured by online search volume) by an NTO or the lack of focus on the brandtags in highest demand.
Montenegro’s NTC promotes online mostly yachting, wildlife, rural tourism, hiking, canyoning, birdwatching and rafting. Thus, Montenegrin strategy branding was assessed as slightly good – B.
Online Performance takes advantage of web analytics and social media data to analyze and evaluate the total online presence of a Country Brand. Seeing as a country’s NTO functions as the gateway to its Country Brand, its online diffusion, both through its official website and presence on additional online platforms, contributes greatly to the brand’s overall success. BC utilizes a website analytics tool to calculate the number of total visits to and average total time spent per visitor on the official webpage. The algorithm rewards websites with a higher number of visitors and greater digital reach. Algorithm additionally accounts for the social media diffusion by evaluating its presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram, with less weight.
However, to note that those social media are not as popular in BRICS countries as in Europe or in the States.
Montenegrin National tourism brand, according to BC is ranked low in Europe, along with neighbooring South-Eastern European countries. The only exception is Croatia which is ranked 28th in Europe and 12th in the World.
Beside all the disadvantages of published BC’s County Brand Rankings, the fact is that Montenegro is a small country, which is still not well-known in the World. Montenegro’s NTO probably should revise National Tourism Strategy and pay more attention to national branding and online campaign in the future, in order to improve country’s image.
Source: Bloom Consulting 2014/2015