For the second year running, Tourism Ireland took the top digital marketing award at last night’s All Ireland Marketing (AIM) awards, organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, beating off strong competition in the same category from the likes of Microsoft Ireland and Penneys.
Accepting the award, Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director, said: “Digital media has grown to dominate the world of travel and tourism, fundamentally changing how people make their holiday decisions. This makes it incumbent upon Tourism Ireland to excel in getting people around the world to talk about Ireland online. We believe that our recent successes in doing this underpinned the return to growth in visitor numbers to the island of Ireland last year.”
Tourism Ireland’s international website www.discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors in 2011. The organisation maintains blogs in four languages and has a database of some 2.2 million consumers around the world, with whom it communicates regularly. It has grown its Facebook fanbase from a couple of thousand at the beginning of 2010 to over 750,000 today, with fans in 16 markets around the globe. In addition, in China Tourism Ireland has more than 110,000 fans on three social networks: Tencent, Douban and Sina Weibo. Tourism Ireland also has 44,000 Twitter followers, spread across a dozen countries. Collectively, this makes Tourism Ireland one of the largest tourist boards in the world online.
Some of Tourism Ireland’s social media successes have included:
- the first social game ever created by a tourist board, a Farmville-style game called ‘Ireland Town’, launched on Facebook on St Patrick’s Day 2011, which has had over 215,000 players to date;
- a St Patrick’s Day Flashmob video in Sydney which has been viewed over 2.4 million times on YouTube;
- crowd-sourcing initiatives such as "Nick and Sam's Ireland Road Trip" and “Mission Irland” – which offered Facebook and Twitter communities in Great Britain and Germany the chance to vote for the places around Ireland which a GB couple and a German blogger would visit on their holidays here.
The All Ireland Marketing awards are organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland; they recognise marketing excellence and the success of Irish companies and marketing professionals (www.aimawards.ie).