The first-ever audit of what consumers say in online blogs and forums about holidays on the island of Ireland shows that nine out of ten visitors describe a positive holiday experience. The audit, commissioned by Tourism Ireland, looked at 5,000 freely-expressed opinions about holiday experiences here across social media sites, such as Tripadvisor.com and Blogspot.com, in 14 countries.
The most popular topics in online conversations are about holiday activities and accommodation. When discussing activities, people are most likely to praise the dramatic Irish landscape and natural attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher, to comment on our attractive castles and historic ruins, or to talk about the warm Irish pub experience. When commenting on accommodation, the staff and the quality of service, cleanliness and the quality of our food and drink are what people are most interested in discussing. The ordinary people of Ireland come in for regular praise for their attitude to foreigners, their friendliness, helpfulness and openness.
The few negative opinions offered generally concern elements beyond the control of the tourism industry such as the weather, the difficulty of driving on the left or the poor condition of secondary roads. Some contributors take issue with the general cost of items in Ireland, although others compare our food, drink and accommodation costs with other European countries and don’t rate Ireland as expensive. The study has identified some areas of feedback where improvements can be made by the tourism industry, such as extended opening times for visitor attractions, better management of overcrowding at our most popular tourism sites, and improved noise control in city centre accommodation.
Commenting on the research, Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s Central Marketing Director, says: “We are now in a world where word of mouth – be it good or bad – is accessible by potential customers globally in an instant. Today a satisfied customer does not just tell 10 others about their holiday experience, potentially they tell 10,000 others.
“Tourists are increasingly reliant on social media sites to inspire and inform them about holiday choices – much more so than on ‘traditional’ sources of information such as holiday fairs and guidebooks. Our research highlights that the excellent holiday experience most visitors have here is one of our tourism industry’s greatest assets, while at the same time emphasising the importance of high levels of customer service in generating further growth.”
The research findings are published in The Wonderful World Wide Buzz report which can be downloaded from today at www.tourismireland.com.
For further information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland, tel: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027
Norman Pratt, Weber Shandwick, tel: 01 676 0168/ 086 151 8921
Note to editors:
Direct web link to the report:
Some quotes from the online community include:
“To be in Ireland on St Patrick’s Day is like being in Washington DC on the 4th July. It was a great day…” (www.travelblog.org)
“Ireland is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, but spring is glorious in highlighting its charm, revealing its natural attractions, literature and music, not to mention exposing you to the lively local population.” (www.tripadvisor.com)
“I had imagined myself standing majestically on the precipice of the Cliffs of Moher…Then the view of the crashing sea and the mist swirling amongst the crags of rock humbled me even further.” (www.Blogspot.com)
“…I would return there [Malin Head] in a heartbeat for another painting trip. I had a huge shared kitchen with an attached sitting-room and a wood burning stove where I kept a warm pot of tea ready while I painted at the bay window…” (www.Blogspot.com)
The survey of social media was carried out in the following countries:
* Great Britain
* The Netherlands
* Hong Kong