With over twenty years professional experience in branding and marketing, Jenny E Kaiser, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Visit Sweden, led a team that accomplished a prize winning "Sweden on AirBnB campaign.
Jenny E Kaiser, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Visit Sweden
By Swapna Raghu Sanand
Indians love to travel abroad and Sweden is one of the countries that has been witnessing a larger footfall of Indian travellers in recent years. With over twenty years professional experience in branding and marketing, Jenny E Kaiser, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Visit Sweden, led a team that accomplished a prize winning “Sweden on AirBnB campaign.
Having been president for Visit Sweden USA, she is now working with locally strong brands such as Tele2, Blocket, PostNord and Scandinavian Airlines, among others. In this exclusive interaction with The Financial Express Online’s Swapna Raghu Sanand, Jenny E Kaiser adds, “India will remain one of our focus markets where we will continue to invest in.”
What has the COVID-19 impact been on Sweden’s tourism and hospitality segments?
As all other destinations, and most other businesses, tourism in Sweden has of course been struck hard by the pandemic. From the big brands and chains to the small entrepreneurs and everyone else in-between. Together we are working hard on doing what we can to drive demand where and when it’s possible at the same time being humble and responsible in the process and in every aspect.
What initiatives are you specifically taking to boost domestic tourism in the country?
Of course domestic tourism is important to boost, especially since Sweden has chosen a different route compared to many other countries. Therefore domestic tourism has been key which has enabled the summer-season to be somewhat “okey”.
When do you expect it to return to pre-COVID level of normalcy?
We are following the trends and predictions for the recovery as everyone else where the data tells us right now that we could be back on the 2019-levels by 2024.
But what the “new normal” will be is too early to predict, we take it one day at the time.
Tell us about your experience of leading the prize winning campaign on AirBnb for Sweden. What drove you to come up with this campaign and what were the key takeaways?
“Sweden on Airbnb ” was Visit Sweden’s last so called “pilot” in our at that time digital transformation process.
It was an initiative that launched our brand promise “Welcome to something else”, a creative manifestation of what Sweden is all about.
We don’t have tourism icons such as The Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls or a Big Ben. Not even a tropical beach. Instead we have our progressive lifestyle and our accessibility to nature – the so-called Freedom to Roam.
We made that monument and placed the entire Sweden on Airbnb to prove it and told the story of Sweden as a sustainable destination.
Our biggest takeaway was how big of an impact you can have with small means when you have something that truly connects with people’s hearts.
And also – that you need to plan for success as much as you plan for difficulties in the activation plan.
Having been at the help as President, Visit Sweden, can you elaborate on what the experience was like?
Moving to the US and living there for a couple of years was for starters a fantastic experience for both me and my son. An adventure that gave us both lessons for life and loving memories only we share. But in regards to work it was amazing to see my home country “from the outside”, through another culture’s eyes. This really made me fall in love with Sweden again.
Even if I´m not religious I feel blessed that I have had the fortune to be born in Sweden as I truly believe in the foundation of our culture and values where everyone is welcome.
Yes, we are different in a good way.
And I also understand why we´ve been successful in so many areas from engineering and pharmaceutical to tech, music, design and food.
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And with our unspoiled, clean and accessible nature including northern light, midnight sun, 100.000 lakes in combination with our modern and cultural big cities we have space, freedom and unique experiences that gives every visitor a sense of well-being.
In your opinion, how important is India in the context of Swedish tourism?
It’s very important, India is a growth market for us where we see more and more Indians looking toward Sweden as a must destination to visit. India is also a country connected to “workation” as we have a lot of skilled professionals visiting us.
And when it comes to going on romantic trips, Sweden beats everything in the warm and welcoming hostess ship for all couples of love disregarding sexual orientation.
Are you rolling out something unique that can entice Indian travellers?
As in all marketing, we need to be relevant for our chosen target audience. And always consider culture differences between markets. So, yes we do but at the same time people have more in common across borders and culture than we believe.
So we choose to work both globally and locally depending on focus areas, B2C or B2B, if we market Sweden alone or together with our Scandinavian siblings.
Tell us more about Sweden-India cultural ties and any unique/cultural initiatives that you have done earlier in this regard or you are planning on.
As we are right now working on our business plan and global marketing plan I need to get back on this. But India will remain one of our focus markets where we will continue to invest in.