With the tourism industry becoming ever more competitive, the onus is on destinations to market themselves more effectively to potential travellers. With this in mind, the French tourism development agency, Atout France, has recently run a Facebook campaign aimed at engaging potential visitors to France with the nation.

Testing the Francophile

The basis of this particular campaign is to test what kind of ‘Francophile’ a visitor to the Facebook page is. To explain this expression briefly, a Francophile is simply someone who has a certain passion for, or predilection toward, the culture of France.

In order to establish the category of Francophile that visitors may fit into, visitors to the Atout France Facebook page are encouraged to answer seven different questions on a variety of France-related topics. The questions touch upon such subjects as users' perception of French people as a nation, the ability of users to speak French, various cultural aspects of France as a country, and opinions on French geography, landscape and motivations for visiting the nation.

The personality test is intended more as an entertaining exercise than an intense examination of people's reasons for visiting France. But it is a way of encouraging people to engage with France as a destination in a fun way. It is also worth noting that at the end of the campaign there is a message encouraging people to share test results on Facebook, and to encourage friends or peers to participate in the test themselves. This has the intention of ensuring that the test goes viral, and additionally helps create a communal aspect to the personality exercise.

Utilising Facebook

The decision of Atout France to work with Facebook applications is an interesting one, as this has not been witnessed in the tourist industry too much of late. One of the last notable Facebook campaigns was the “Send your Facebook profile to Cape Town” app, which achieved massive success for South Africa as a destination.

What should be borne in mind and taken out of the Francophile campaign being run by Atout France is that intense engagement with an app is not necessarily important. Actually, the more complex and convoluted an app is, the less chance there is that the general public will really engage with it. Limited engagement and interactivity is in fact preferable, and it is also advisable to have a call to action at the end of a campaign. Attempting to direct people to either a website, campaign site, or social media platform in order to enable DMOs to continue engaging and interacting with potential visitors to a nation is also to be recommended.

Creating demographics

This may not have been the goal in the case of the Atout France campaign, but it does seem something of a missed opportunity for them not to attempt this. It would surely have been invaluable for this Facebook campaign to direct participants to other websites or social media campaigns. From this point, Atout France would have been able to gather further information from people who have taken the personality test, and perhaps ascertain to what extent the data can be utilised in future campaigns and marketing activities.

All data related to marketing can come in useful, but creating nuanced and intersected data which categorises people based on demographics can be extremely valuable. While it is worthwhile to make marketing campaigns as simple and as fun as possible in order to ensure that a large number of people participate, it is also worth bearing in mind that the data gleaned from such campaigns will be limited by its simplistic nature. Atout France has gained an impression of what attracts people to France from its campaign, but this information could become even more valuable if the organisation was able to acquire follow-up data to strengthen its impression of the people participating in the campaign.

Nonetheless, these light-hearted and community-based feel of the campaign is the sort of vibe and approach that destinations should generally seek to imitate in their marketing.

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