Greece: Online Reputation Management & Destination Marketing

For an online reputation management program to be successful at a destination level, it is clear that Tourism Boards and DMOs need to follow an organized and methodical approach. Setting clear objectives, communicating it to all stakeholders and coordinating their activity while having integrated the program with existing marketing and operational activities are the basic steps to success.

This post focuses on Greece as a tourism destination and on the most recent initiatives taken at a national, regional and local/city level towards the targeted promotion of tourism on key strategic themes and using online reputation management practices.

Meanwhile,  abouTourism is glad to have contributed to the development of three of these projects.

Online Reputation Management & Brand Monitoring Mechanism for Greece

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (G.N.T.O) has recently introduced “True Greecean Internet-based initiative which aims to further promote the positive publicity of Greece as a tourist destination online, especially utilizing social media.

True Greece is a dynamic web based platform which is fully integrated in the existing marketing plan of the organization. This tool is utilized to directly clarify through facts, any existing “inaccuracies or speculations” that concern the wider operational and service environment in the country as well as the safety and security levels at Greek tourism destinations.

The mechanism has been designed to allow the organization to track, register and manage accordingly all comments, reviews and observations that refer to Greece as a tourism destination on an ongoing basis. The Internet and social media applications are already being used very successfully by the G.N.T.O to post news and to communicate the tourism “brand added value” of Greece. “True Greece” aims to further promote the positive publicity of Greece as a tourist destination online, utilizing effectively social media platform network externalities.

The initiatives’ key priorities are a) the promotion and communication of key elements and competitive advantages of the Greek tourism product and b) the promotion and dissemination (through social media) of positive messages/opinions that visitors have about their experiences (via video spots, web testimonials, reviews, posts, tweets). Based on these priorities a content strategy was developed mapping the target media and providing the basis for customized content and activities to be constantly disseminated to  third party channels.

In line with the real time and social nature of the project, the following phase of the initiative calls for support from volunteers who tweet and share the truth about Greece by responding to inaccuracies or speculations they may come across online. «True Supporters», is a team of volunteers responsible for monitoring and responding to online comments and mentions regarding Greece as a tourist destination. The «True Supporters» idea is based on the concept that the most effective response to negative mentions and inaccuracies is provided by real people that feel passionate about the destination.

The third phase of the project saw the development of a Facebook campaign which invites users of the Visit Greece Facebook page to create their own “True Greece” photo album, by selecting their favorites from the existing picture gallery of Greek destinations and win their True Vacations in Greece. The prizes comprise of vacation packages with return air tickets and 4-day accommodation for 2 for 150 lucky winners and the deadline has already been extended to the 27th of August due to high levels of participation.

As far as cooperation and coordination goes, the initiative is already being supported by a series of government agencies including the Greek Radio Television S.A., the Athens News Agency and the Hellenic Foreign Ministry. The agencies will be assisting the effort by tracking and gathering news and other related material as well as working with local, national and international media outlets.

abouTourism is glad to have been assigned to develop the concept as well the content planning & creation strategy for this initiative in partnership with Mindworks digital marketing agency (Business Unit of ATCOM).

More info onwww.truegreece.org

New Promotional Video for Athens Business Tourism

The Athens Convention Bureau has just released its first ever promotional video for the business tourism product of the City of Athens as part of its action plan and strategic direction towards the further development and promotion of business tourism.

Through the eyes of a business traveller visiting Athens for 3 days, viewers can get a glimpse of all the city has to offer in terms of conference, accommodation, and public transport facilities, as well as cultural, gastronomic, and other leisure activities.

Through the video we are invited to follow the delegate during the conference participation, site inspection, and sightseeing in the historic and cultural center of the city, the gastronomical journey and the Athens coastline. The video features over 20 locations and facilities in the Athens center and the greater surrounding area.

The video spot showcases the business tourism product of Athens under five key strategic themes; the Olympics heritage and specialization in congress and events organization, the business product at the city center and the surrounding areas, cultural heritage, conference facilities and additional activities at the coastal zone of the city as well as regenerated industrial multi-purpose venues.

Event planners are informed of the wide selection of modern infrastructure, and can choose from 40 conference and exhibition venues, more than 379 meeting rooms as well as satisfy any accommodation requirement from 695 hotels around Athens. Furthermore, they are invited to take a tour around unique sites and museums of world cultural heritage, sample refined and modern Mediterranean cuisine and explore activities for every taste and of the highest standards.

More informationwww.athensconventionbureau.gr

This is MY Athens Program Celebrates 1 Year

This is MY Athens, the visitor greeters program for the City of Athens celebrated 1 year of successful operation in July.

This is My Athens is free program available to visitors to Athens and staffed by volunteer Athenians who are excited to show visitors “their city” and all it has to offer.

Launched during a challenging period at a national and local level, during which tourism- an industry the destination is relying heavily upon- was also affected, the This is MY Athens program, a concept and developed by abouTourism, was greeted with unprecedented enthusiasm from Athenians and has received strong interest from the city’s prospective visitors during this time.

During this year we have organized numerous exciting events to keep the Athens Locals’ engagement and excitement high about the cause of the program. One of the activities was a special flash mob-like- event which was organized at a central city square. The event came alive with the participation of Athens Locals as well as the delegates of the EuroXpro 2012 Conference,  organized by AIESEC in Athens, who first experienced a walk with  Athens Locals.

A few days ago celebrating the program’s ‘birthday’, all Athens Locals were also invited to celebrate along with visitors, joining us all to a special birthday event which included a lot of music and special happenings!

We are glad to see that Athens Locals are as excited as ever to show even more parts of their favorite city to the world. At the same time the dedicated surveys show that Athens visitors are appreciating more than anything the opportunity to discover parts and secrets of the city that they would not have been able to discover without the help of a local.

More info: thisisathens.org

‘Incredible Crete’ Promotional Video for Reputation Management

The Region of Crete has just released a series of promotional videos showcasing that life in Crete is as beautiful as ever.

The videos attempt to directly tackle some key perceptions which have been formed and reproduced by mass media, inviting visitors to visit and “See for yourself, feel for yourself”.

The videos featuring the island have been uploaded on YouTube and Vimeo, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. They are also currently being aired on the Travel Channel, the leading international travel broadcaster, with which the GNTO (Greek National Tourism Organization) is already collaborating.

Official sitewww.incrediblecrete.gr

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Online/Offline Marketing Integration Case Study: This is Athens

Destination Marketing for Business & Pleasure

The MICE industry is reportedly experiencing a ‘moderate growth’ through out 2011 and into 2012 as the need for international corporate presence increases.

As companies are now ‘savvy’ at seeking out deals, to remain competitive, suppliers will need to understand their business customer and be able to provide added value to their accommodation, travel and facility offerings.

Key trends include the identified need for better collaboration between planners and suppliers, good quality venues and facilities, and greater content for MICE. Being able to meet corporate social responsibility requests will give providers a competitive edge, sustainability will remain a key objective for companies, and growing usage of technology is already visible within the industry.

A number of reports highlight the potential increase in the industry ‘dabbling’ with virtual channels and social media. Technology and alternative virtual channels are predicted to become more mainstream as interaction, innovation and ‘connectivity’ become more important, perhaps changing the way the industry works and communicates. The online environment is no longer seen as a threat to the live event circuit, but as a tool to deliver a greater impact and involve even more professionals.

So, how have destinations recently used this environment to attract business tourism to their area?

Tourism Ireland’s Twitter Tour for MICE

Tourism Ireland’s British office recently announced a new business tourism promotion offering senior executives a chance to win a tour of Ireland by Twitter.

In collaboration with the International Special Events Society (ISES) and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Tourism Ireland launched a competition aimed at senior executives involved in the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) sector. The prize on offer is a ‘t’weetour’ a tour of Ireland that can be followed on Twitter.

Members of ISES and ICCA who are active in social media are being targeted to enter the competition. Three winners will be selected to travel to Ireland this month, courtesy of Tourism Ireland, and each will have their own itinerary. Winners are  invited to live tweet their experiences in Ireland, highlighting the country as a destination to their network of colleagues in the industry.

Source: www.siliconrepublic.comwww.tourismireland.com

Tourism New Zealand “Beyond Convention”

Tourism New Zealand has just introduced a new campaign to internationally market the business events sector. “Beyond convention” is the creative territory that will provide an umbrella theme for all Tourism New Zealand’s destination marketing material for the business events sector.


A sneak preview of the theme and marketing material was revealed at MEETINGS 2012 at SkyCity in Auckland.

Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager Marketing Communications Justin Watson said it is the first time a creative theme has been used by the organisation for this sector. “…Beyond convention can be applied across the sector – for meetings and conferences, convention relates to the event. In the incentives space, it is more about promoting that there is nothing conventional about an incentive trip to New Zealand.”

The theme will be rolled out promoting New Zealand across a range of concepts such as “beyond the meet and greet”; “beyond the morning break” and “beyond the cityscape”.

Source: www.tourismnewzealand.com

Visit York 4 Meetings

Visit York, the city’s official tourism agency, hasjust launched a new business tourism brand: Visit York 4 Meetings.

The changes will also see the first ever ‘Visit York in London’ meet the buyer event, aimed at attracting conference buyers from London and the South, as well as a number of international business tourism marketing opportunities in partnership with Visit England.

Other projects the Visit York 4 Meetings team are working on include the Conference Ambassador Programme with 30 Ambassadors on board, a dedicated sales day working with York venue sales staff to drive business conference bookings to the city and a programme of exhibitions and workshops promoting York’s conference venues.

Source: www.visityork.org

Business Events Offer More to Destinations than Tourism Dollars Alone

Australia’s leading convention bureau, Business Events Sydney (BESydney), has released the second phase of its Beyond Tourism Benefits: Measuring the social legacies of business events research, which quantitatively examines the extensive social, innovation and knowledge benefits of business events.

Lyn Lewis-Smith, Acting Chief Executive Officer of BESydney comments, “Our industry has long struggled to measure the important legacy effects of hosting conferences and conventions. This research is a huge step in the right direction: we believe this is the first quantitative research examining this subject.”

The Beyond Tourism Benefits research, undertaken by the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) on behalf of BESydney, demonstrates that the international norm to evaluate the lucrative business events sector in tourism terms alone overlooks perhaps the most valuable legacies – the many educational, intellectual, trade and investment outcomes from business events.

“If we don’t measure the multiple, long-term benefits, such as the ability to increase professional knowledge, improve local education offerings and career opportunities, disseminate the latest technical practices and forge international networking, research and business collaborations, we are undervaluing  our industry.

“The research highlights that business events offer much more to our destinations, economies and global community than tourism dollars alone: they are a key driver in knowledge economies,” Lewis-Smith concludes.

The key outcome of the research was an innovative framework developed to classify and understand the diverse and valuable benefits outside of the tourism sector. Five broad legacy categories – social, intrinsic, practice, economic and attitudinal – comprise the framework and relate to benefits delivered to delegates, sponsors and exhibitors, professional bodies, the host destination and even the wider community.

The lifeblood of any business event, delegates are the benefactors of a large number of the legacies identified. Over 90% of delegates surveyed believe that congresses have facilitated the dissemination of new knowledge, ideas, techniques, materials and technologies and 85% indicate that they have applied these new insights to their professional practice.

Collaboration is a key outcome from the shared social interactions created at business events – 95% of respondents agreed business events fostered networking that led to the sharing of knowledge and ideas, whilst almost 60% agreed events either acted as a catalyst for research collaboration (58%) or resulted in business relationships (57%).

Professor Roy Green, Dean of the UTS Business School and BESydney Ambassador agrees business events provide essential opportunities for collaboration.

“In a knowledge economy, education and innovation are principal drivers of productivity and prosperity. And innovation is driven by collaboration, not silos. Innovation requires the exchange of ideas, skills and passion. Business events provide opportunities to network and collaborate locally and globally.”

The Beyond Tourism Benefits research also found that legacies extended to sponsors and exhibitors. Those surveyed reported an important economic legacy, with 90% confirming they gained product exposure and awareness, and also obtained leads for further business. Although, not applicable to the whole sample, one respondent indicated that they had benefited from investment worth more than $10 million as a result of exhibiting at a business event.

And at a time when the education and training of the young workforce is so topical, the research revealed that business events equip the destination’s workforce with skills and knowledge and foster global networks and collaborative projects to drive innovation. 82% agreed that the events exposed local delegates to cutting edge research and the world’s best practice and 76% agreed the capacity of the professional sector was enhanced post-event.

From a destination’s perspective, the host city (for this research, Sydney) was shown to also benefit from a wide range of valuable legacies. Sydney’s reputation for driving social change and action was enhanced (52% agree) and the business events increased the attractiveness of the local education sector for delegates from outside of Sydney (60% agree).

Full Report and information here.