Brands embrace virtual Oktoberfest as live celebrations canceled
He says he hopes the Bavarian brewer’s new campaign, which also includes promotional retail elements, will encapsulate Gemütlichkeit, a German-language word that roughly translates to a feeling of friendliness and camaraderie. “Munich is Oktoberfest, and Oktoberfest is Munich,” he adds.
That ethos can pose a problem for would-be Oktoberfest revelers, since Germany’s largest, most-attended version of the festival has been axed for the first time since World War II. However, adult-focused travel operator EF Go Ahead Tours has an alternative to attending the 210-year-old event.
“Everything we do is around experiential learning,” says Heidi Durflinger, president of EF Go Ahead Tours. With most non-essential international travel on pause, the company wanted to create a way to “bring the world to travelers’ homes,” which culminated in the creation of EF’s “Online Escapes” virtual program, executed in-house.
Between Sep. 19 and Oct. 4, the original dates the Bavarian festival was slated for, the company will be offering five small-group Online Escapes hosted by Alex Peterson, a longtime German tour guide and Munich resident, all designed will simulate an at-home Oktoberfest.
During the one-hour virtual excursion, participants will enjoy a brief Oktoberfest history lesson, learn traditional beer hall songs, and gain insider tips for when they can attend the festival in person one day—all while bringing their favorite German brew to the webcam to Prost! as a group.
And an added bonus of EF’s virtual programs: “It gets people dreaming and understanding what it would be like to be on a trip, and leads them to sign up,” Durflinger says.