Helping an Albanian rafting centre define its brand

Through EBRD advice and funding from Luxembourg a hotel and water sports centre business has expanded it's online presence.

With the help of the EBRD’s Small Business Support (SBS), Castle Park, a hotel and rafting centre in central Albania, transformed their marketing approach. Within a year of completing the project, Castle Park hotel turnover had increased by 30 per cent.

The project was made possible through funding from Luxembourg. Since 1993, Luxembourg has committed €7 million in funding for 586 Small Business Support projects helping small and medium-sized enterprises access business advice through local consultants and international industry experts in thirteen countries that EBRD work in.

Family run business

This family-run business started in 2005 and is located near the town of Berat in one of the best-known holiday destinations in Albania. Despite the dramatic canyons that surround the nearby river, rafting is almost completely unknown in Albania and Castle Park was the only tourist centre in the area to offer this sport, therefore, the business needed an effective marketing strategy to promote this new activity, particularly to clients from abroad.

Connecting to consultants

The EBRD connected Castle Park with a local marketing consultant. The consultant provided a range of services: developing separate corporate identities for each part of the business; preparing a comprehensive kit of promotional materials; updating the business’ website in both look and content and connected them to social media; and training Castle Park’s staff in using modern online marketing tools to gather data on their online presence.

Armed with new promotional materials and an updated marketing approach, the company attracted visitors from the UK, Italy, Ireland and the USA. In the summer following the project, the hotel had a 100 per cent occupancy rate – and 90 per cent of those guests had booked online. The rafting group’s website has also been a huge success, receiving more than 1,500 visitors a month. The company also received an award from the Albanian tourism quality standards organisation.