Question: Which Romanian government agency has unlimited budgets linked to a very old-fashioned communication strategy?
We have to be honest and admit that before the weekend we were not asking this question, but after a visit to London it is now at the forefront of our minds.
A member of the Bucharest Expat team spent the weekend in London catching up with old friends and a game of rugby. Knowing of our interest in all things Romanian, some friends were very keen to show the crown jewel of the global drive to increase tourism to Romania – the Romanian National Tourism Office.
Believe it or not, in its growing attempts to brand the Country as a whole and promote tourism and the “allure” of this area (more specifically the delta region and Transylvanian regions) Romania “branches out” to bricks and mortar. In this case, The Romanian Hospitality Industry welcomes you with open arms into their new, ultra-high end, streetside tourist office… well… sort of.
Curiosity engaged, we took a stroll to have a look and to see if we could get some information worth sharing. The office / shop is in a prime London location, just off Marylebone High Street. If you are also curious and you would like to visit (if in London) then you can find it at:
22 New Cavendish Street
London W1G 8T
+44 207 224 3692
Having seen the office, the strategy behind this place is not exactly clear. Establishing a physical presence is an interesting approach to take in this day and age. Most countries establish a customer focused website to enable maximum communication potential for minimum cost. Countries with bigger budgets advertise on CNN. The Romanian budget is clearly in the A League as they have taken a prime piece of real estate in one on London’s more exclusive and expensive areas. Maybe this is to send a message to other countries competing for the premium end of the tourism market and establish a niche.
We stood outside the ‘office’ and speculated about the decision making process behind this. Considering the investment in the location, the limited variety of brochures in the window was not inspiring. We concluded that there might be more inside, plus some on hand expert knowledge to draw from.
Take a look at the photo here. You’ll see the simple laminated sign in the window, allegedly hung by a one-armed fellow with three fingers, the IKEA-esque desk on the inside with well-situated government issue metal framed chairs, and the make-shift window shelf for the sole purpose of adequately displaying everything Romania. Clearly a work in progress.
The challenge is going to be actually catching someone to speak to. Having established the office in this prime location, an element of budgetary reality must have been set in. To keep running costs (personnel, electricity etc.) down the office is only open for restricted hours. The options to pop in for some holiday inspirations were clearly posted on the door to the office. Visitors can call in during the following hours:
Monday / Wednesday / Friday
12:30 – 17:00
Tuesday / Thursday
09:00 – 14:00
From this we can draw several conclusions. The first is that no thought has been put into this venture and that budgets have no restriction as real estate in this location is almost the most expensive in London (and therefore the UK). The second possibility is that the person responsible hasn’t got a clue about anything other than the fashionable Marylebone area. The third is that the Romanian tourist department has no idea about modern age communications as a UK dedicated website would have cost a fraction of what the office is costing and have a massively broader reach and may actually have led to some tourists visiting the amazing nature of Romania.
Combine this with the enviro-leaf branding campaign for Romania that has been a global hit (ha ha) and it is no wonder that tourism into Romania is at an all time high. I would venture to guess that Bucharest Expat alone has been responsible for more tourism to Romania than the entire branding campaign of Romania. During your next visit to London, stop in and say hello; make their investment worth the while.