More than 100,000 Facebook fans across the globe are following Tourism Ireland to learn more about the island of Ireland. Newly released figures from Tourism Ireland show the organisation passed the milestone figure in the past few days and now boasts 101,482 fans (at the last count).
As part of its overall marketing strategy, Tourism Ireland is capitalising on developments in social media to inspire potential holidaymakers to come and visit the island of Ireland. The organisation has a significant presence on Facebook, with fans across 12 key markets – including Great Britain, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, India, Japan and the Gulf Countries. Fanbases in the US and Britain markets are the largest, with about 36,000 and 21,000 respectively. Tourism Ireland also has Twitter accounts in eight countries, with over 14,600 followers at the last count.
Brian Harte, Head of Customer Engagement for Tourism Ireland, said: “Services like Facebook and Twitter are being used to share experiences and get ideas from friends and peers, on all kinds of subjects including travel. The impact of online word-of-mouth cannot be underestimated, particularly when it comes to travel and holiday decisions. Tourism Ireland aims to be part of a lively conversation about Ireland, to engage with fans and get them talking about the many great things to see and do here. This is part of our overall marketing strategy which increasingly uses social media to complement both our traditional and other e-marketing channels.”
Sites like Facebook and Twitter are also increasingly important for Tourism Ireland as a tool to listen, understand and respond to potential holidaymakers’ queries and issues. “Our Facebook pages and Twitter profiles are localised – translated into the relevant languages and carrying specific messages to meet the needs of individual markets. We respond to tweets posted about the island of Ireland, giving suggestions, offers from our partners, links and advice to potential visitors”, continued Harte.
Tourism Ireland encourages fans and travellers to upload and share their experiences and favourite photos of Ireland; other fans then comment and recommend great places to visit and things to see and do. Written in a fresh and friendly style, the regular updates and messages to Facebook fans help to spread the good news about the island of Ireland. These can range from stories like celebrating Graeme McDowell clinching the Ryder Cup victory for Europe (and reminding fans how great the golf in Portrush is), to highlighting upcoming festivals and events like the Cork Jazz, Wexford Opera and Belfast Festival at Queen’s.
Social media is now an integral part of all Tourism Ireland promotional campaigns, complementing the other more ‘traditional’ elements of marketing, like advertising and publicity.
A recent campaign in Britain, promoting Dublin as ‘Europe’s Friendliest City’, included a fun ‘Friendly Enough For Dublin’ competition on Facebook – inviting fans to nominate someone who may have “fed the cat, lent you a tenner or given you their last Rolo”, someone who deserves to win a short break to Dublin.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland t: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• 7.6 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2009, delivering revenue of €3.46 billion.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 41 different websites, providing information in 19 different languages covering every continent. In 2009 discoverireland.com attracted a record 13+ million unique visitors, a +34% increase in visits on 2008.