Elisabeth Heinrichs is Social Media Coordinator at Visit Helsinki, she is specialized in destination marketing and social influencer relations.
From the beginning of 2016, the #HelsinkiSecret Residence serves as a base for international social media influencers reporting from the city center of Helsinki. The #HelsinkiSecret Residence is an initiative by Visit Helsinki and represents a globally unique form of city marketing utilizing social media. This as PR activities are playing an increasingly important role in promoting Helsinki abroad. The residence comprises a studio apartment in the city center that will be open for the entire year, accommodating up to 100 international social media influencers with expertise in tourism, start-ups, education and the creative industries, for example. The #HelsinkiSecret Residence is a great example of the distinct, multi-sectored and partner-based form of marketing that Visit Helsinki believes in.
- Evolution 2012-2015: Traditional blog & vlog trips
- Revolution 2016: #HelsinkiSecret Residence for social influencers
Goal: Let’s make Helsinki the topic of the social conversation of 2016 with #HelsinkiSecret
Statement: Helsinki is a year-round destination
As summer approaches the buds on the trees turn into leaves in all shades of green. In autumn these colors are transformed into brilliant red, orange and yellow foliage until the winter blizzards cover the trees under a layer of ice and snow. The changing seasons reflect the four sides of Helsinki, each of them unique and special.
Before the #HelsinkiSecret Residence, Visit Helsinki has planned and carried out seasonal and event-related blog trips. The #HelsinkiSecret Residence is a neverseenbefore concept that runs throughout year 2016.
Key learnings during 2012-2015:
- Social influencers need time
As the average overnights in Helsinki are 2,09 nights (09/2015), we dared to introduce a concept that allows the residents to stay in Helsinki for 3-6 nights. It turns out, as good as all of them prefer to stay six nights, and some of them even extend their stay on their own cost.
“Traveling more slowly allows you to form a stronger connection to the place you’ve visiting and you feel much less rushed. With a "slow" itinerary, you won't experience the stress of attempting to knock out every site in your guidebook. Instead, you'll stay in one place long enough to recognize your neighbors, shop in the local markets and pick a favorite coffeehouse.” Sarah Schlichter, Indipendent Traveler
- Social influencers need trust & freedom
For the first time, we organize social influencer trips without any fixed program, allowing the residents to freely plan their stay by themselves and find their own secrets of Helsinki. By merely giving the social influencers practical tips & suggestions on what to see & do in Helsinki during their stay, we let go of the control of the Helsinki brand and trust the fact that the city and its local actors will deliver.
“Let go of control, build a team. Don’t forget, they want to share their stories. Build advocates. Give their content a platform / Invite them to share, making it worth their while / Give them opportunities to create content / Facilitate existing behaviors.” Nancy Smith, Travel Alberta, #SoMeT15EU
- Social influencers want to live like locals
By offering an alternative accommodation form, in this case an apartment hotel, we tap on the sharing economy trend and allow social influencers to genuinely live like locals in Helsinki. By styling the apartment with one main local interior brand partner & media partner, and several Helsinki Survival Kit partners, the residence looks, sounds and smells like a Finnish home. We also believe that the most interesting content is born out of interactions. That is why the international social influencers will have a Local Friends' network, where local social influencers can share and show off their home city's secrets and favorite spots. At the same time, the local social influencers can network with their international colleagues and share their experiences as well as function as representatives of Helsinki.
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