Tell us more about Failte Ireland’s DM strategy?
With the advent of digital we know that how people research and book holidays has fundamentally changed. The internet plays an essential role in both the inspiration and planning phases of the consumer journey for travel.
61% of tourists rely on the internet as a source of inspiration (only second to friends, family and colleagues at 62%) and the number one source for planning travel with 80% of tourists going online to plan their holiday.
Image by Raymond Fogarty
Once a destination has been chosen, our own Paths to Purchase research (Arkenford 2014) found that 92% of people use the internet to search for more information about their destination. Once on holiday, 83% of people were going online to search for holiday information. Post-holiday, 1 in 5 tourists will write an online review (which will act as a planning tool for future tourists) and 34% post on social media.
It’s clear to see that the role which digital plays at all stages of the consumer journey for travel is vital and is therefore a key enabler to Fáilte Ireland’s business objectives of increasing international tourism numbers and revenue. People no longer rely on single sources of information to be inspired, plan, or book holidays; instead they use multiple sources.
A robust digital strategy is crucial to delivering on the Fáilte Ireland Corporate Strategy. Digital allows us to demonstrate to potential visitors how we have moved away from a product based destination to an experience based one by ensuring that our brands deliver on the consumer needs at each stage of the consumer journey in the channels where they are. Digital allows us to cost effectively increase our profile amongst the business tourism industry and through our digital empowerment programmes we are helping to up skill the Irish tourism industry enabling them to leverage digital to help grow their business and revenue.
— Fáilte Ireland (@Failte_Ireland) February 12, 2016
Any underestimation by Fáilte Ireland to recognize the opportunity or to under invest in digital will mean that competitor cities and destinations will eclipse Ireland in the digital space; decreasing awareness, consideration, and booking, in market spend and repeat bookings across our programmes.
In 2015, we used our proven content marketing model to reach over 13.3 million people globally.
— Fáilte Ireland (@Failte_Ireland) February 15, 2016
FI is doing a great job on twitter – was this a conscious strategy?
Twitter is a fantastic tool for tourist boards looking to communicate with potential customers. Unlike Facebook you can engage with people before they follow you, and you can search for people actively talking about your destination and join in with the conversation
The travel industry, perhaps more than any other, is constantly looking to make the most of the opportunities that social media presents. Word of mouth, positive reviews and user generated content are key motivating factors for consumers looking to book their next break. Brands using social media successfully are well aware of this, and the need to come across as human and approachable to the community.
Creating content that meets travellers motivations and keeping up with what the twitter community is pushing out, is vital. The use of # also allows non followers to join the conversations and raise awareness of your band and destination.
— Wild Atlantic Way (@wildatlanticway) February 15, 2016
The Wild Atlantic Way is a fantastic approach to re-branding – what was the story behind that?
The vision for the Wild Atlantic Way was to create a world class, sustainable and un-missable experience brand that engages and energises the visitor so that they become powerful advocates and leave them wanting to return for more.
International experience shows the packaging and branding of assets into defined touring routes increases visits from domestic and international visitors.Touring routes also help attract more people, get them to stay for longer, make more repeat visits and spend more money, often in rural areas. Internationally, touring routes are increasingly seen as a powerful regional economic development tool for rural areas and can deliver additional jobs and grow the local economy.
— Raymond Fogarty (@RaymondFogarty) March 9, 2015
You have some great photographers out there gathering spectacular footage of the western edge of Ireland – what sort of impact is it having on tourism to Ireland?
Imagery and video play a vital role in raising the awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way. To quote the old adage “a picture paints a thousand words” bringing a destination to life. We feature fan photos regularly on our social channels.
User generated imagery is very important, it is considered more “authentic” to the visitor and peer to peer influence is huge. Consumers are more likely to engage with other visitors stories.
The Star Wars effect? Has it happened yet, how do you see it playing out over the next 18 months or so?
According to our latest report on visitor attitudes (2014) 7% of visitors were influenced by films to choose Ireland, indicating that over 200,000 people may be influenced to a greater or lesser degree by a film to choose Ireland as a holiday destination.
For many people, a compelling film or memorable movie forms an emotional ‘pull factor’ and can create a curiosity about a destination that may not have previously existed. A film like Star Wars, with its incredibly loyal and committed fan-base, will raise the profile of the Wild Atlantic Way even further within the home holiday market and encourage many more domestic consumers to get out there and discover one of our most beautiful natural assets – our wild rugged Atlantic coast.
From a digital perspective the Star Wars effect is just starting, we capitalised on the release of the “Force Awakens”, but we believe that there is much better to come.
We saw a +34% increase in organic reach from our social channels. Our content had just under 35,000 Engagements. The success of the Star Wars content demonstrates the advantage of shaping our content in response to topical events – in this way bringing Wild Atlantic Way into the conversation.
The Real Skelligs
We also interact with popular travel bloggers, as is currently happening for example with this account below.
— Dave and Deb (@theplanetd) February 15, 2016