New Reputation Management and Targeted Marketing Campaigns

Japan Going Social to Revive Image

Engaging influencers to suppress negative sentiment and creating brand ambassadors to promote a positive image of the destination, is certainly one of the crucial steps of online reputation management.

Japan National Tourism Organization is inviting international bloggers and twitterers to visit areas devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The goal is to write about the progress made in rebuilding disaster-ravaged communities and let the world know that the area still remains an appealing holiday destination.

Deciding to mobilize the immense communicative -better yet influential- power of blogs and Twitter, the Foreign Ministry earmarked some 21.5 million yen for the project for the current fiscal year through March, while it aims to invite a total of over 10 influencers by the end of March.

According to a recently announced draft tourism plan, Japan sets a goal of increasing the annual number of foreign visitors to 18 million by 2016. The number of foreign visitors to Japan, which hit a record high 8.61 million in 2010, is estimated to have dropped to 6.22 million in 2011 following the serial disasters while the previous plan aimed to increase the annual number of foreign visitors to 10 million by 2010.

The new plan’s implementation is set to start in March, which shows that the bloggers initiative, expected to be completed by then, is put forward to prepare the grounds. So, planning, an indispensable part of reputation management, is on the making, which it reportedly also calls for the launch of a public-private sector partnership to swiftly disseminate accurate information on natural and other disasters.

As for the initiative announced by JNTO a few months earlier, offering  10,000 Free Round-Trip Tickets to Japan, the plans are yet to be officially confirmed. The concept and aim however was quite similar as the selection of international travellers to get the tickets would be based on their online influence and their ability to share their experiences through social media.

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Aruba Making the Most of Super Bowl

Even though they lost Super Bowl, New England players can still find something to smile about this week on one happy island.

As part of their marketing campaign, and in a clever attempt to draw some of the enormous Super Bowl attention towards their side, the Aruba Tourism Authority has extended a complimentary vacations offer to every member of the New England Patriots team.

The Aruba Tourism Authority is offering them the chance to touch down and score some happiness with all-expense paid trips to the tropical island known for its cheerful vibe.  At the same time, Aruba is poking fun at the fact that Disney World only offers a vacation to the winning team’s MVP by extending the offer to everyone on the Patriots team.

“While only the MVP of the winning club has the opportunity to jet set off to another well-known destination, Aruba is making the offer to the entire New England squad”, the ATA said in a press release


Jump into Ireland

Tourism Ireland has unveiled a new integrated campaign, ‘Jump into Ireland, in a bid to raise the profile of the island internationally over the next three years.

Created to reflect the island’s sense of playfulness and its natural beauty, the ‘Jump into Ireland’ campaign is being rolled out online first in Australia and New Zealand.  Targeting experienced travellers, the campaign will also celebrate key cultural events taking place in Northern Ireland this year, including the Titanic Belfast Festival, Peace One Day concert and the 50th Belfast Festival at Queen’s University.

The new initiative had been designed to build on the increase in visitor arrival numbers achieved last year, and to regain market share over rival destinations. The campaign spans TV, radio, press, cinema and online advertising and will include ramped up social media activity as the tourism body looks to make the channel a more integral part of its marketing.


Guam targets Japanese Families

The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) recently launched the “Omoide Guam” campaign in Japan, Guam’s largest visitor market.

Omoide is the Japanese word for memory and “the idea behind this campaign is to invite our Japanese visitors to come to Guam with family and friends to make memories that will last a lifetime,” said GVB General Manager Joann Camacho. “After the triple disasters, we wanted to continue offering our Japanese visitors a way to recuperate, but at the same time to be sensitive to the issue and show support for their efforts to rebuild.”

The campaign kicked-off with a new interactive website which has several features that allow potential travelers to discover more about Guam, and is highly integrated with social media. Visitors can create custom postcards and albums with photos uploaded direct from Facebook, and then share what they create on Facebook, Twitter and Japan’s most popular social media site, Mixie.


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Growth Expected for Online Holiday Sales This Year

Ecommerce sales growth this holiday season will be similar to or even surpass last year, according to first-half 2011 online sales estimates and the consensus view of a panel of digital marketing experts interviewed by eMarketer.

That would mean growth of at least 12% this year, according to comScore’s historical data. The firm reported that online spending grew 12% on volume of $32.8 billion for the 2010 holiday season, which it defines as the months of November and December.

“First-half ecommerce sales estimates are strong and industry experts have reasons to be optimistic about the 2011 online holiday shopping season, but the volatile global economy could cause consumers to cut back on spending,” said eMarketer principal analyst Jeffrey Grau. “Affluent consumers, who account for a high share of online sales, spend freely when their stock portfolios are healthy. But market downturns have historically undermined their sense of financial security, causing them to pull back on discretionary spending.”


Destination Marketing on the Web: Trends, Challenges & Best Practices

According to the latest statistics, the internet is nowadays involved in almost 85 % of holiday purchases while smartphone mobile usage is steadily increasing along with the demand for more travel information and location based applications. Word of mouth gets a megaphone through social media networks, whose influence on travel purchase decisions gradually grows.

2011 is the year that large travel suppliers strengthen their position on the web which means that destination bodies will need to catch up with them and stay relevant. DMOs have already started to swift their attention to online media, largely due to budget cuts and increasing pressure for result measurement. Even though many DMOs want to incorporate social media in their marketing efforts, many face difficulties in determining the best way to proceed, while facing challenges in providing quality information online.

Since a DMO’s role is not only to promote the destination as a whole but also the tourism businesses and suppliers in that destination, considering the latest web developments they need to go where the consumer is instead of trying to convince them to come to them. Towards this direction a DMO website should be visually appealing, easy to use and providing value adding features and information in order to keep the visitors.

An effective social media strategy needs to be created through quality market knowledge and value adding content in order to engage with the audience and promote the destination’s advantages. The DMO therefore needs to assess the social activities of its target groups, set the right objectives, plan the relationship they want to establish with their target market and finally decide upon the tools that best fit their objectives and strategy.

Take a moment and check out our latest presentation titled ”Destination Marketing on the Web: Trends, Challenges & Best Practices” on slideshare and feel free to share your comments. Enjoy!