Jörg Peter Krebs, Director Central Europe & Middle East, Switzerland Tourism

“Peoplespotter” Jörg Peter Krebs has been on the road for Switzerland for over 35 years. He is and has been in various positions at Switzerland Tourism. After years of work in Frankfurt, Madrid and Hamburg, he was responsible for marketing in Zurich and later for all national communication for the EURO 2008 football tournament. As he is also a developer, he was drawn to Dubai to reposition and to expand the markets of the Gulf States and India. After five years, he returned to Frankfurt in 2013 as Director for Germany, Central Europe and the Middle East, where he also lives. 

Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Jörg shared his professional trajectory, the secret sauce behind his success, future plans, words of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Jörg. Can you please share a little about your experience, professional career, and how it feels to work at Switzerland Tourism?

Well more than 30 years in a few words: When I came to Switzerland Tourism I didn’t know that I would stay so long. I had just come back from Mexico and wanted to go abroad again to gain more international experience….. Since then, I have filled a wide variety of roles at ST. I have been able to shape projects like new products, new hotel cooperations, creating major events, shaping the brand….. Yes I’m a bit proud of that. And now worries I am still curious and hungry for the next years. Working at ST and for Switzerland is just a lot of fun. A job for and with people! I am convinced that we are one of the best tourist (country) brands with an incredibly beautiful product.

Are there any significant differences between the marketing of products or places, such as destinations?

The biggest difference is “we do not sell directly”! When we reduce the customer journey to “Dream-Plan-Go” we focus on the first two phases. We do not have direct control over product sales (including pricing/yield, steering, allotments). But we always have to look at the whole thing (the big picture).

Do you think tourism destinations nowadays make every possible effort to provide creative and innovative solutions to position their products, services, regions, or cities?

Smile…. It is like in sports. Some perform strongly, some surprise, and some need more training.

How has the use of technology and digitalization affected tourism promotion?

I can no longer imagine working without digital media (or who else can calculate and issue a flight ticket by hand…?). We can work much more precisely and more agilely and, above all, communicate with our customers (end customers as well as our trade & media colleagues). It is partly a very short-term business, which, thank God, has become quite transparent. But it requires resources. Human as well as financial. And of course, marketing and communication budgets have shifted significantly towards digital communication and live comm in the last decade.

Do you feel social media has changed tourism brands’ conversations with the audience/ visitors?

We have always tried to integrate the guest into our digital communication. It’s no coincidence that our website is called “MySwitzerland.com” and has been for almost 30 years! Of course, we have to decide on a case-by-case basis which social media channels we use. AI also creates further opportunities.

How do you measure the effectiveness and success of your destination branding?

We do have different measuring instruments: e.g. a specific yearly survey about our brand called the Brand equity monitor. This year we also did a specific guest survey with 20’000 to 25’000 respondents. It is the largest national guest survey in Switzerland. The survey covers a wide range of topics, including sources of information, tourist needs and activities, touristic strengths and tourist satisfaction.

What are the main challenges for your sector/category over the next 12 months?

To win back Europe! And mainly to win back Germany!

In 2018, you were honoured with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the German Location Awards. Our readers would love to know the secret sauce behind your success.

A German professor once said: nothing makes you more successful than making others successful…

What’s a productivity tip you swear by?

Honestly I am not always productive, for me it is the old teaching of Management by Exception. Subsumised it is: Trust in the team, in their work and in the decisions they make themselves. And with all the daily business one should plan generously in advance.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Maybe as a mentor and coach for young talents. And preparing my next “3-month-road-trip”….

One piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring professionals from your industry.

The biggest industry in the world is also the best and expecting you. Stay curious! Have fun! Decide! Be an entrepreneur! Never forget: the team is the star.

Content Disclaimer

Related Articles