The luck of the Irish: How Ireland leads the way in shaping destination brand image
With its rolling hills and fairy glens, some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – and let’s not forget the famous black stuff - Ireland oozes appeal to holidaymakers far and wide. Digital marketing agency, Hugo & Cat have worked hard with Tourism Ireland over the years to transform Ireland.com into a digital experience that shifts consumers from awareness to action.
Hugo & Cat were asked by Ireland’s tourist board to turn holiday seekers into visitors. Ireland is one of the world’s most loved countries; people everywhere want to explore its rugged coasts, rolling hills and lively pubs.
Our challenge was to get tourists to do more than just think about Ireland, and to actually book a trip.
We created a destination image to make Ireland a top choice. By using data gleaned from customer insights and targeting key customer segments, we were able to build a strategy that treated Ireland as a destination of choice.
We knew a great digital experience would help our customers plan and book. But research suggests that destination image plays a key role in how we choose a holiday. So we created a digital platform where people can really see the experience they want to get out of a visit to Ireland. Putting activities and experiences front and centre rather than travel information translates into millions more website visits and views, creating the opportunity for conversion.
Ireland.com tells inspiring stories through powerful imagery and captivating content, giving visitors an immersive experience by tapping into their personal passions. Whether you’re into catching the waves or sampling the black stuff, there’s a holiday in Ireland just for you.
We kicked off our three-year strategy by rebuilding Ireland.com from the ground up. Researching the top seven markets in Europe and North America, the outcome was to build a responsive experience live in nine languages across 27 markets.
We continue to build on the site’s success with innovative, creative campaigns. Coast of Charms (2012) and The Fantastic St. Patrick’s Parade (2014) generated over 200,000 sign-ups, contributing to a wealth of enriched data. The new Ireland.com plays a key role in making sure Ireland is a top choice for holidaymakers.
The results following launch were impressive with a 32% increase in traffic and a 16% increase in page views. But that was only the beginning…
In 2015, the number of visits jumped up by an impressive 4 million in just a year. Commercial sales for flights, hotels and tourist attractions doubled to 1.1 million and the number of registered users taking advantage of offers, discounts and competitions increased by 3 million. In 2016, ireland.com received 19 million visitors.
Recognised by the industry as best in class, Tourism Ireland’s site has won the coveted Travel d’Or award four years in a row.
Tom Good is a lead experience designer at Hugo & Cat.
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