Social media pilot project
Our adventure tourism social media pilot project with celebrity, Shay Mitchell, outlines how social media marketing can work for tourism businesses.
Fáilte Ireland is a member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and we are working with the ATTA on a number of projects to develop the Adventure Tourism product and experience in Ireland. The ATTA approached us with a really exciting opportunity to pilot a social media campaign with celebrity/actress Shay Mitchell.
Shay appears on 'Pretty Little Liars', America’s top scripted basic cable series with an audience of women aged 18-34. Shay and a blogger friend visited Ireland for six days in March and uploaded their experience to her digital footprint (Facebook, twitter, Google+ and her website).
Shay’s itinerary showcased the best of Ireland’s outdoor activities alongside fabulous food, culture and the famous Irish welcome. Highlights included trips to the Aran Islands, Galway city, Westport, Cashel and Killarney National Park, as well as sea kayaking and a ‘turf run’ in Killary Harbour, surfing in Castlegregory and horse-riding in Ventry on the Dingle Peninsula. The trip ended in the capital city with a visit to the Guinness Store House.
A good example of how the social networking aspect worked was Shay’s ‘mud run’ with her Dublin fans. She posted a photo of the run on Facebook, which gained 6,000 + likes within 13 minutes. When Pretty Little Liars then shared the photo on Facebook, over 20,000 'likes' & 400 comments were generated within twenty-four hours. A number of media outlets then picked up the story, including JustJaredJr.com, which attracts over 11 million unique visitors per month.
Even at the outset of the project, thousands of people ‘liked’ the photos and stories and hundreds have since commented on them. Upon Shay’s return, she told her fans how much she enjoyed her trip and then announced that she had teamed up with www.discoverireland.com to offer a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ireland for one lucky fan. This competition ran for the month of May and we expect it to add at least 10,000 fans to Tourism Ireland’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DiscoverIreland.
The ATTA's role
The ATTA has been working with Richard Janes, President of Fanology Labs, a Los Angeles-based social media studio that specifically focuses on managing celebrities’ digital footprints, to identify ATTA members as possible destinations and partners. The pilot project helps draw immediate attention to adventure tourism, one of the leisure tourism industry’s highest growth sectors, and a style of travel which supports thoughtful and engaged tourism practices.
“Building creative partnerships for the adventure travel community in a way that draws mainstream attention to travel while leaving minimal footprints and instilling cultural understanding and appreciation for the environment is exciting,” said ATTA President, Shannon Stowell. “Joining Shay with Fáilte Ireland and Vagabond Adventure Tours was a great way to demonstrate not only the power of reaching large numbers of potential visitors, but the fact that not all celebrities are looking for vacations just for sunning or shopping. Shay’s connection with local culture and nature is fantastic. We hope that over time, this kind of promotion of responsible travel will help move the needle towards a more sustainable industry.”