Last weekend, I travelled to Bodyke, Co. Clare. My family have an annual thing, a regrouping, a retreat of sorts and this year stayed at the East Clare Golf Village. Located in what is best described as the middle of nowhere – it was amazing. 30 minutes from Limerick City, 25 minutes from Ennis and not a bar of reception! Perfect for what we needed.
Saturday morning, we headed off exploring the area. We hiked the most beautiful mountain with amazing views of Lough Derg. We spent more than 6 hours taking in the most fantastic views, breath-taking in more ways than one! That evening, we went to the local (as in 15 minutes away!) pub in the free shuttle bus. The pub, Peppers, was a quaint, Irish pub. Full of character and fun, it has retained its traditional feel. The man, Garry was also the taxi driver and tour guide and was one of the most fantastic ambassadors of Ireland I have ever met. He fed us, showed us how to pour a pint of Guinness, gave us a piece of real turf that the Americans are always in awe of and kept us up to date on the rugby match as gaeilge!
Each summer, the village of Feakle is full of tourists, primarily Americans and it is no wonder. Garry and the rest of the locals made us feel so welcome, and really made us want to go back again in the future. We will definitely be returning to the East Clare Golf Village, and have recommended it to everyone!
How did we find such a lovely spot? Social Media.
Social media has become a vital part of tourism marketing; it has transformed the industry and has in lots of cases replaced a large part of the traditional communication.
Social Media can help you promote business, increase brand awareness, attract more visitors on your website and increase profits. This is equally true when referring to the tourism sector. Social media can help you promote business, increase awareness of your hotel, guest house, tourist attraction and so on and it can also attract more visitors to your hotel/guesthouse etc. Social media can increase your profit.
Why does the Irish Tourism Industry need Social Media?
Social Media networks have reformed the tourism industry in Ireland. Now it is not only the “industry experts” that publish their reviews on travel related websites and but also everyday internet users that rate destinations, create content, write their reviews, exchange experiences, publish their videos and photos etc.
Additionally social networks make it possible to spread information even faster and with less cost. The word of mouth has been proven an effective way to promote businesses and several viral marketing campaigns have been developed in order to engage the internet users.
Following a recent study by Accenture, 67 per cent of consumers now use social media to explore their options before they buy while 46 per cent write about personal experiences on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. (via @IrishTimes http://bit.ly/GDcvYz)
Social media is a necessity for companies that belong to the travel industry because they can help them promote their services with less cost, attract user attention and above all generate buzz around their brands, services or travel destinations.
While I strongly believe Discover Ireland ads are brilliant, we need to get down to the lower level of the tourism sector. Ireland is a magnificent country – let’s show it off to the world.
If you are a hotel, BnB, hostel, guest house, petting zoo, historian, tour guide or own any other business which falls under the tourism sector and want to get social media working for you, get in touch. It’s not too late to get ready for summer 2012.
Follow on Twitter: @aoiferigney