Travel Leisure Network Logo

How to market an island: Baltus Communications’ loyal partnership with Formentera Tourism Board

Since 2015, Baltus Communications has been dedicated to promoting Formentera to the Benelux region, including Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Their enduring, 8-year relationship with the Formentera Tourist Board has given them extensive knowledge of the island and has made them a trusted insider. Their efforts have led to increased exposure and tourism for this idyllic Spanish destination.

A bit of background

Formentera is a small, exclusive Balearic island in the western Mediterranean Sea near Ibiza, known for its pristine beaches and upscale boutique hotels. The island’s off-the-beaten-track reputation stems largely from the fact that it is only reachable by ferry (it doesn’t have an airport). High-rise buildings are forbidden on Formentera, further contributing to its untouched, rustic character. The island also boasts world-class restaurants and a foodie culture, and is frequented by Dutch celebrities seeking its barefoot luxury, an indication of its high-end appeal.

Impressively, from January to September 2023, Ibiza and Formentera collectively attracted over 3 million tourists, including just under 340,000 who were from the Benelux region.

We explore how Baltus Communications overcame key challenges in promoting Formentera to the Benelux market. Their strategies? They revolved around engaging the travel trade, leveraging curated partnerships, connecting the travel trade dots and creating a personalised approach – which earned them impressive media coverage.

Key challenge: Encouraging travel agents to promote Formentera

Baltus Communications initially faced a significant challenge: persuading travel agents to promote Formentera as a week-long destination rather than just a day trip from Ibiza.

To engage the travel trade, Baltus Communications focused on promoting Formentera’s reputation for having some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. This helped create interest and attract potential travel trade partners.

Baltus Communications also participated in targeted, niche trade shows like TravDay, where they interacted with agents and upscale tour operators. They used the opportunity to demonstrate how Formentera offers a more relaxed, pristine, hippie-luxe vibe compared to its lively neighbour (Ibiza), making it a unique destination they could offer their clients.

One successful example of a tour operator partnership was Eliza was here, who created first-of-its-kind Formentera bike packages. Normally, packages include flights, accommodations, and rental cars, but for Formentera, they cleverly swapped out cars for bikes. Given that Formentera is only 82 km2 and has mostly flat terrain, this kind of package hit a nerve. It also showcased the island’s laidback, far-from-civilisation attraction.

Connecting the travel trade dots

Initially, most hotels only took direct bookings, making it difficult for agents to sell Formentera. However, after an intensive campaign led by Baltus Communications and the Formentera Tourism Board, almost all the island’s hotels are now accessible to the travel trade.

Strategic FAM trips, featuring carefully selected agents who perfectly aligned with the brand and could make the greatest impact in the target market, proved highly effective in solidifying Formentera’s robust brand identity on social media. This approach not only heightened awareness but also bolstered the island’s relationship with the travel trade.

A personalised, niche approach

Baltus Communications found that a niche, personalised approach resonated best with the target market and travel trade. While brochures and maps were plentiful, directly reaching agents through targeted newsletters and one-on-one sales calls proved most effective.

Baltus Communications positioned Formentera as a hidden gem suited to discerning travellers seeking an exclusive beach destination beyond the mainstream. They conveyed Formentera’s unique vibe with superb branding that shone on social media and in imagery. This tailored outreach showcased the island as an ideal upscale choice for clients wanting more than just typical tourist offerings.

Several independent agents subsequently consulted with Baltus Communications and created their own Formentera social media campaigns and newsletter campaigns.

Earned Media

In 2023, Formentera earned 64 pieces of coverage in the Benelux market, with an impressive €114K media value and an estimated 2.2 million views. The island secured articles in both print and online outlets, including exposure in top publications like National Geographic, Ladify, and De Zondag. This expansive reach through reputable media channels boosted Formentera’s visibility significantly.

Baltus Communication’s loyal partnership with the Formentera Travel Board illustrates how close client ties built over years have significant and fruitful outcomes. The in-depth knowledge Baltus Communications has earned over the eight-year client relationship has allowed them to successfully increase Benelux tourism to Formentera and implement effective PR and communications strategies totally in tune with the destination.