Heili Klandorf-Järvsoo is the Head of Tourism Marketing at Visit Estonia, and she will be joining us at #DTTTCampus alongside a panel of other DMOs to share insights on the in's and out's of Visit Estonia's 'Storytellers Nest'. We caught up with Heili ahead of the event to get a sneak peek into what we can expect at #DTTTCampus.
1. Please introduce yourself and your organisation
Estonian Tourist Board or Visit Estonia, belongs under the Enterprise Estonia together with other pillars - Trade Development Agency and Estonian Investment Agency.
Visit Estonia team consists of some more than 30 people. It has three departments: Strategic Development, Business Marketing (B2B) and Tourism Marketing (B2C). I am the Head of B2C Marketing unit with a team of 12 people – a great team of professionals I took over in January 2018.
Before jumping head over heels into tourism, I worked 12 years in media industry. I have held the position of Marketing and Communications Manager of Estonian leading TV channel as well as being Editor in Chief of Spanish format magazine Hola! (Hello!) Estonia. Before entering tourism, I was the Director of Marketing and Communications of the biggest media company in the Baltics with 56 brands to handle.
Why tourism? Because it is the other exciting industry besides media ☺
2. What do you consider key to making Visit Estonia an inspiring and attractive brand?
Have you ever been in a country, which is just a little bigger than Denmark, Switzerland, or the Netherlands, which situates on crossroads of Northern, Western, and Eastern Europe, a country of which half is covered by forest, has 3,800-km-long coastline and 2,200 islands? If not then it is time to Visit Estonia - we do have a lot of space, pure air and clean nature to offer additionally to super Instagrammable places. Without Estonia, Visit Estonia would not be a brand of this kind. Our key is to preserve all good we have, introduce it to the rest of the world, but also keep the balance…
The key to making Visit Estonia an inspiring brand is high level visual and digital storytelling that lives up to the hype in real life, smart product placement and data-driven decision-making.
3. Please tell us a bit more about the concept of Visit Estonia's Storyteller’s Nest?
Storyteller’s Nest makes bloggers, vloggers, influencers with love for freedom feel like at home when they visit Estonia. The guest (+1 is possible) can stay in an apartment in the heart of Tallinn up to 5 nights. We also provide a car, fuel, WIFI, restaurant vouchers if possible, and personal tips.
We wish that our guests enjoy their time here and spread the good word about Estonia as a great travel destination to friends and followers.
But, before you start to make your travel plans, an application must be filled and a confirmation waited from our project manager as the project is quite successful.
4. How did it start and how has it evolved since?
To be honest, the initial idea to do something like Storyteller’s Nest, was born on DTTT event many, years ago, when Italian region Emilia-Romagna introduced their bloggers’ home. We decided to give the project a try in April 2017.
We searched for an apartment in a good location, preferably with a view to our UNESCO World Heritage old town. We found one just on the border of the old and the most modern quarter of Tallinn.
But we wanted the influencers to experience the whole Estonia, not only the capital Tallinn. In order to show them the diversity of the country, we provide them with a car and fuel. This gives our guests freedom to go where they want and when they want.
The main concept has remained pretty much the same from the beginning with some minor changes.
5. What are the main challenges of this concept?
Like with everything in life - plans may be done but sometimes they are not meant to be. We try to find out how to minimize the % of last minute cancellations (in 2018 - 13,4%).
We also happen to be a country with high and low seasons and some seasons are not that popular as others.
Our apartment is probably so cosy that many guests just want to stay in Tallinn. We are particularly happy when guests travel outside of the capital as well. There is a lot to experience.
6. And what are the main opportunities?
Influencers really like the concept, especially because everything is so easy for them. Therefore, they are excited to create some amazing content about the country.
We still can develop towards getting to know our guests more and by providing them with tailor made tips about the places that might be of their interest. Maybe even create a possibility to meet a local “best friend” to take around and show hidden treasures and more of “live like a local” side of Estonia.
7. How do you select your chosen Influencers and Micro-influencers?
Everyone who has a “channel” with certain number of followers, fans, engagement can apply (Application form: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/why-estonia/feelingestonia-storytellers-nest-application-form). Our selection is based on applicant’s social media and/or channel’s performance, tone of content and of course, if the apartment is free or already occupied.
8. Does this strategy shape most of your content?
A big part of our strategy is having an excellent content on Estonia everywhere we can, not just on our own channels. Storyteller's Nest definitely plays a big role in duplicating the great content about Estonia in influencers' channels as we most likely wouldn't manage to offer press trips to most of the guests that stay there.
The guests of the nest spread the word and the beauty of the country, so it plays a very important role in our content and if the content is good, we gladly share. This project definitely helps us to reach out and introduce Estonia to target groups we might not reach otherwise.
9. Based on your experience, do you have any advice for other DMOs when developing a strong influencer strategy?
Make sure you get what you expect when starting a co-operation with an influencer. This happens when you either let the influencer decide about the topic, or choose an influencer who is passionate about the topic you have in mind for him. Influencer fee does not guarantee that you get what you want and expect. You know: the best things in life do not have a price-tag. Influencers are happy to explore the country on their own when given an opportunity - just give the means to do that.
10. What can attendees expect from your talk at #DTTTCampus?
I planned to talk about all of the above, but I guess now I have to change the subject...
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