Developing a Social Media Strategy for Tourism Destinations

Slovenia Social Media Marketing Strategy  2011-2012

In 2011, TEAM Tourism Consulting prepared the ‘Slovenia Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2012’ for the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB).

STB, responsible for the planning and implementation of promotional activities for Slovenia, is one of the national tourist boards which have not only been successfully following the latest developments in digital tourism but also been proactive in using them to fully engage their customers and their partners. The Board’s established online presence included successful initiatives such as a series of Facebook Campaigns for key markets, which resulted in high awareness, sales turnover and partner satisfaction. Another progressive initiative as far as the social media approach by tourism destinations was concerned was the joint social media platform named DiscoverSlovenia.

Project Overview

In 2011, STB decided to commission the preparation of the strategy order to take its marketing activity to the next level, broadening the range of channels through which the Slovenian tourism product could be accessed and exceed the expectations of today’s online travel consumer, aiming to become a benchmark for European National Tourism Organisations.

In the light of the latest developments in the social media arena, the goal was to

  • raise awareness of Slovenia as a tourism destination online and support the brand,
  • increase the visitation numbers in its social media channels and website and digital communication while,
  • forge a unified, coordinated and practical social media marketing and management model to guide the entire organization through the latest digital developments.

Considering the growing popularity, variety and use of social media channels and given the challenging funding environment most of DMOs are facing, it is necessary to prioritize different areas of digital marketing, including social media channels, and have a well-planned, well executed and results oriented investment plan.

Integration of digital and traditional media is a key goal for a successful destination marketing strategy, says Manolis Psarros, TEAM Associate & Project Leader/ abouTourism Managing Director. “In regards to the Social Media Strategy for STB, great emphasis was placed on brand integration in all planned activities while developing social media workflows and inter-developmental cooperation plans in order to enhance all relevant processes and ensure the effective implementation of the strategy, maximizing social media benefits.”

Digital media and technologies now affect every single stage of the visitor’s journey to a destination, during his stay and even after this.  The purpose, throughout this project was to develop a holistic digital marketing strategy targeting the decision-making process of planning a trip to Slovenia, providing useful visitor info while being in Slovenia and utilizing attractive social media tools for sharing their memorable experience upon their return home.

As far as marketing integration is concerned, results until now have shown that social media activities can only be effective when they are interwoven with existing traditional media marketing efforts as an integral part of their overall marketing strategy.

Project Processes

Based on this perspective, STB’s Social Media Marketing Strategy was developed in two phases.

The first phase consisted of the situation analysis which was performed through consultation workshops with the Board’s relevant departments and partners as well as through extensive research providing:

  • An assessment and analysis of Slovenia’s online presence and digital marketing activities
  • A review and evaluation of the Board’s operational procedures

The second phase, saw the development of the strategy which included the following:

  • Selection of appropriate social media channels where STB should invest based on the available resources and the set goals and objectives
  • Development of an appropriate content management strategy to accompany every channel’s guidelines
  • Specific digital media operational plan with appropriate resources and activities definition in order to ensure practical implementation
  • A partnership development plan focusing on travel-related digital media and tourism stakeholders following an established TEAM model, and
  • Monitoring and tracking guidelines. By monitoring the digital environment relating to Slovenia as a destination and by tracking the performance of STB’s marketing efforts through specific KPI’s, the aim was to validate the feedback/insights for further review and to fine tune the digital marketing strategy.

Tinkara Pavlovcic Kapitanovic, STB’s Head of e-Business and Strategic Projects, commented: “as the NTO we should know and understand what to expect from social media engagement, what are the goals to be achieved and that social media should be seen and handled as a part of the overall online activity of every tourism organization”. Measuring results is critical and is now integral to STB’s work.

In the presentation below we can see how the strategy has been put into effect being used as the basis for coordinated social media marketing efforts and effective implementation of targeted marketing initiatives, relating product developments to identified audience needs.

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