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TRO SMITH reveals Social Media successes from top international destination visitors bureaus

Theodore Koumelis - 30 August 2013, 10:50

Destination Management Organizations VisitEngland, Promote Iceland, and Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions Showcased.


TALLAHASSEE, FL – TRO SMITH is unveiling compelling secrets to destination social media marketing according to top tourist authorities. The new online destination and collaborative forum focused on providing travel and hospitality companies with insightful, high-quality information on the topic of social media marketing, is pleased to present these novel tips and hints to help tourism, travel and hospitality organizations learn how to effectively implement social media into their marketing strategies.

"We are really excited to be showcasing the efforts of destination marketing organizations worldwide. So many of them are deploying campaigns in new and innovative ways that we think it's worth highlighting. Our goal is to help others learn from their peers and innovate for their destination as well,” said Sophie Bujold, Editor-in-Chief of TRO SMITH.

Here’s a look social media strategies and successes from three top Destination Management Organizations including VisitEngland, Promote Iceland, and Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, compiled by TRO SMITH:

VisitEngland
For VisitEngland, it’s all about engagement!  Rebecca Holloway, Head of PR at VisitEngland says that over the past few years VisitEngland has undergone a ‘digital transformation’ and social media now stretches across the PR, Editorial, Digital and Corporate Communications department, holistically engrained in their organizational culture and activity. Their consumer facing channels sit within the marketing team, with consumer PR looking after Twitter and the content team looking after Facebook.

VisitEngland's most successful social media campaign to date has been their 101 Things To Do Before You Go Abroad. Targeting the domestic UK market, the campaign is designed to inspire the nation to take more domestic holidays.  VisitEngland devised a consumer and trade generated bucket-list to remind Britons of the fabulous range of experiences offered in England. The initial four-month campaign, launched on the 14th of January 2013, peaked on St George’s Day with the announcement of the final list. The campaign is now in its second phase with a new-look Facebook app, which features an interactive map with all 101 experiences, a downloadable list – so it can be printed, and taken on holiday along with a checklist, so travelers can tick off everything they’ve done. It’s all completely shareable, so travelers can compete with your friends.

In total, the campaign has generated over 2.5 million page views on the Facebook app, gained 30,707 new Facebook fans (19% increase), 3,871 new Twitter followers (10.3% increase) and increased engagement by over 300%.

Promote Iceland
According to Sveinn Birkir Bjornsson, project manager in charge of publications for Promote Iceland, their social media initiatives are a team effort where laying out an activities plan for two weeks at a time is part of their success. Of their various campaigns, social media is at the core of the Inspired by Iceland campaign aimed at creating awareness of Iceland as a destination. Going into the campaign, one of the things they learned through research is that people who travel to Iceland are more likely to recommend it and tell their friends about the trip than most other destinations. They knew people wanted to tell their story of Iceland. So they created a platform for people to share their stories. The Inspired by Iceland campaign is now entering its fourth year, and during that time they have seen a surge in tourism, with year over year increase in tourism being close to 20% on average. During that time, their efforts have also been geared more and more towards Social Media and online marketing, and have added increasing use of video and imagery to their overall social strategy.

Another winning campaign that stands out for Promote Iceland evolved around the name “Iceland” and what it means. Many people remember the joke about the confusion surrounding the names for Iceland and Greenland (Iceland is green and Greenland is covered in Ice). Promote Iceland thought about ways in which they could be a little playful and at the same time counter that notion of Iceland being a very cold place (It is not, really. Average winter temperatures are about the same as New York). At the same time, they wanted some input and to give travelers a platform to talk about Iceland. The idea for an alternative name for Iceland came through that discussion. "What would you call Iceland if you were the first person to name it?" Promote Iceland set up a site to collect suggestions from tourists. They received a huge response and several thousand entries, which they had to review and select the 10 best entries. Then selected two finalists, and allowed people to vote on their favorite, and "Isle of Awe" was the winning entry.

Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC)
Rosina Shiliwala, Director of Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions in North America, says that their latest campaign “Holland. The Original Cool” has already seen “global sensation” success. “Holland. The Original Cool.” is a joint marketing campaign between four like-minded organizations: the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Marketing, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. These four organizations each have a vested interest in driving economic development in Holland from the tourism sector. By investing in a three-year growth plan for American tourism to Holland, these organizations have recognized the need to augment existing activities in the U.S. market to stimulate additional tourism.

Their primary aim through social outreach is first and foremost to get their message out to the target audience in America, and inspire them to learn more about Holland and book their trips to Amsterdam via KLM Airlines through Schiphol Airport. Together the four organizations devised a content strategy and created inspiring, fresh content that has resonated with people all over the world. They wanted to show new and compelling reasons for travelers to be inspired to visit Holland, starting with Amsterdam, and show Americans that what many people find cool nowadays – boutique shopping, artisanal foods, and biking for example – have always been a part of the Dutch way of life.

They have seen people across the globe sharing the video through their own social networks, one of the primary reasons that the organizations chose video as the main delivery strategy for this campaign. The first YouTube video for this campaign received over three quarters of a million hits in the first week alone. Social media has been incredible in helping to spread the word about their campaign and they have seen many positive reactions from people all over the world. They’ve also seen an influx of visitors to their landing page, Holland.com/cool, during the campaign period.



Photo caption: The NBTC campaign includes a video featuring Pim de Koel, ambassador of the Netherlands’ greatness, and chief of cool.

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