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This year, Aruba Tourism Authority embarked on creating an inspirational travel brochure with an offline and online integration. The content has a user-generated feel to it, showing the many different things to do in Aruba from activities and beaches to culinary and culture. We caught up with Sharmin de Vries, PR-manager Netherlands & Belgium at Aruba Tourism Authority, to find out more about the inspiration behind this new content.

We loved looking through Aruba's new 'Things to do' brochure - it's really well done and the visuals are amazing! Can you tell us a bit about what inspired this project?

People are increasingly using social media and Instagram in particular for travel inspiration. Not only to uncover lesser-known places or places that are photogenic, but also to source the best restaurants, coffee places etc.. At the same time, we have seen the offline & online integration trend gain traction, as consumers are also interested in obtaining something tangible. Having attended two Content Campus conferences as well as the DTTTGlobal convention, we noticed that more destinations and other travel organisations were producing content with an online & offline integration (e.g. places to visit with social media handles) and this inspired us to produce a similar booklet and put our very own Aruba slant on it.

Even when giving presentations about the destination we notice, whether it pertains to journalists or travel agents, that they are interested in learning more about specific things you can do on-island and other interesting nuggets of information focused on special themes, events or activities, rather than the standard destination overview. So this booklet very much fits into our overall content strategy of focusing on certain niches that are important for the respective markets we operate in.

How was the content created? (e.g was it all done in-house, was it all new photography?)

The booklet was created in-house and was the result of a three-way collaboration at the Aruba Tourism Authority EU office between Sharmin de Vries (PR Manager Netherlands & Belgium), Willemijn van Rossem (Branding Specialist) & Caresse Imon (Management Assistant, who is also partly responsible for our social media handles). Caresse coordinated the project from a logistics perspective, while I wrote the copy and Willemijn designed the entire booklet, and together we sourced the right photos either from our own media library or by obtaining them from the places featured in our booklet. We then had an external printing office that we work with print the booklet.

How long did the whole process take?

Approximately four months, which includes the financial procedure preceding the actual production of the booklet.

What are the main channels used in its promotion?

For years we have produced traditional destination brochures, which contained a lot of information, however, as we know this is no longer the way forward, the booklet has somewhat replaced the traditional brochure and as such is distributed mainly at events, e.g. at B2B events for the travel trade industry, but also at press and blogger events we take part in.

Is it also printed and if so, where is it mainly distributed?

Yes, see the aforementioned answer as to where it is distributed. At present, we are mainly using it in the Netherlands, however, we have produced the booklet in English and will be using it across all EU markets in which Aruba is promoted, this includes the UK & Ireland, the German-speaking countries & Italy.

What were the main objectives when creating this?

The main objective was to create an inspirational booklet that focused on things to do, be it activities or off the beaten path places to visit, which would create an offline & online integration and which would very much have a user-generated feel to it, as we knew this would appeal to consumers and travel agents and other industry professionals alike.

Has it had the desired impact so far? How do you measure this?

The booklet has not been in use very long and we have only started distributing it at events, so we cannot measure it as yet, but the response so far has been very positive. The size, the look & feel and the selection of places have all been well received.

Was this a standalone project or part of a wider content strategy?

It was very much part of a wider content strategy which is twofold. On the one hand, focused on creating an offline & online integration and on the other hand replacing the traditional brochure filled with stock images with an inspirational booklet that has a user-generated authentic feel to it. In-line with our overall marketing strategy to use locals and local places to tell authentic brand stories about Aruba.

There is a really vast range of experiences and locations on offer - has this helped bring awareness to the lesser-known things to do as well?

Yes, it certainly has. We really wanted to create the right mix and e.g. with regards to accommodation we decided to highlight certain lesser-known, boutique-style properties, however, we also sought to highlight experiential activities or unique restaurants at the more established hotels in Aruba, so that we could still include our valued hotel partners, yet ensure it was completely in-line with the objective to focus on more authentic places and activities.

What kind of impact has this had on the island as a whole?

The booklet has only just been printed so it will take some time before we can assess what impact it has had or will have on the island as whole, but judging from the feedback we have already gained from various stakeholders who are present in the booklet and who supplied us with content, we know that people are really enthusiastic about it.

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