There can be few nations on the planet that are more hospitable to tourists than Ireland. The Emerald Isle is known for being a particularly friendly country, and with its devastatingly beautiful scenery and rich culture, Ireland has a lot to offer tourists from all over the world.
No nation can rest on its laurels, though, in the competitive contemporary tourism world, and the tourist board of the Irish nation has thus recently been busy preparing new marketing projects related to Ireland’s tourism industry. Tourism Ireland deals with the whole of the Irish nation, despite the political divisions which are well-publicised, and the tourist board has recently launched two campaigns in order to promote the two capital cities of Eire and Northern Ireland.
Kiss me I'm Irish!
The campaign to promote Dublin has been dubbed "Kiss me I'm Irish”, and is a light-hearted campaign run by Tourism Ireland which is intended to take advantage of the popularity of online videos and social platforms. The DMO invites Internet users to watch videos and pictures of eight couples kissing at iconic Dublin landmarks. Quite a novel concept in and of itself, but Tourism Ireland is also asking Internet users to guess whether or not the individuals kissing are actually real-life couples!
To make the process more fun, Tourism Ireland has ensured that the results are easily shareable via social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. It is stated by Tourism Ireland that the idea for the campaign came through a Facebook post that it happened upon randomly. Thus, the DMO has made a conscious decision to particularly target this unique campaign at UK Facebook fans, while Tourism Ireland has also created a YouTube video illustrating the campaign.
The campaign is also linked to another item of content related to activities in Dublin, which is named Craic Dublin after the Gaelic term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation. This campaign highlights some of Dublin’s unique and particularly outstanding cultural pursuits, emphasising that the city is a vibrant and exciting place to visit.
Journey across Dublin
Aside from creating a general image of Southern Ireland’s capital city, Craic Dublin also encourages tourists to take a 48-hour journey across the city. By utilising the website, visitors discover a wide range of cultural things to see and do across Dublin, with a recommended schedule to accompany them. The campaign could be likened to the journey taken in James Joyce’s classic novel ‘Ulysses’, although that takes place over a single day.
To make the prospect more attractive, Craic Dublin has littered the website with videos, both embedded in YouTube and auto-playing, and a series of attractive photographs.
Concurrently, Tourism Ireland has also launched a campaign to promote the capital city of Northern Ireland. The campaign focused around Belfast has a lot in common with the Love Dublin approach, as it is also focused on a test based on an octet of images. But this time the eight photographs are of iconic places in Belfast, with the crux of the campaign being a challenge to Internet users as to whether they can decipher if the pictures have been taken via vintage camera or a retro iPhone app.
Tourism Ireland has also created social media content and YouTube videos related to this promotion, as it encourages tourists to visit the historic city of Belfast.
The two Irish campaigns are indicative of a general trend in destination promotion and marketing. In order to stand out from the crowd nowadays, it is necessary for destinations to create unique content based on unusual and unique campaigns. The aim of this is firstly to really imbue the destination with a particular character or image; a classic example of branding.
Importance of social engagement
Additionally, the importance of focusing destination marketing on social media and social sharing in the contemporary world cannot be underestimated nor understated. Creating a community via social media feeds and interactive content is extremely valuable, as increasingly tourists like to feel engaged with a particular place before travelling there.
A previous Digital Tourism Think Tank report focused on a study carried out by one of our partners TripAdvisor, which found that building positive customer relationships through social sharing can be extremely beneficial for tourism-related companies and organisations. In addition, the recent initiative of destinations offering holidays to vloggers in exchange for the video makers posting innovative home-made videos which are then shared on social channels, is another indication of the increasing prominence of this trend.
Simply making your destination look attractive to travellers is no longer enough to be successful, no matter how established you are as a tourism honeypot. DMOs should reflect that attracting the modern traveller, particularly from the younger age demographics, is very much reliant on a two-way communication via social media platforms.
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