In News

With a new public/private sector partnership, the Visit Isle of Man executive agency, taking shape to drive tourism in the Isle of Man, Richard Slee will be taking on full-time responsibility for the marketing of the sector  in the New Year. He outlines some of the activity that has been taking place during 2017 and touches on what’s in store for 2018.

2017 has been a year of great change for tourism in the Isle of Man and the start of 2018 promises to follow in a similar vein.

During 2017 we continued to use an integrated marketing communications approach in delivering our marketing strategy as outlined in the Destination Management Plan (DMP), by trying to create a unified experience for our visitors and potential visitors to interact with our tourism proposition.

As outlined in the DMP we target the following audience profiles for our marketing efforts, which were identified as primary growth segments through extensive market research:

2017 Year Review

The year has been a positive one in many respects. We entered 2017 having just delivered a key supporting objective of the Destination Management Plan with the launch of a new and redesigned Visit Isle of Man website. During the year we have continually monitored how it was performing and have made improvements accordingly. This has resulted in some excellent results with a 20% increase in visits and new visitors to the site compared to 2016. 

Alongside this we have continued to run an ongoing and extensive PR programme to present the compelling reasons why people should visit the Isle of Man in the UK national and international media, specialist interest magazines and increasingly special interest blogs with some blogging sites now followed by hundreds of thousands of people.

The programme has also included assisting broadcasters with filming in the Island.  We have enjoyed some great coverage, in particular the episode of Julia Bradbury’s ‘Britain’s Best Walks’ which showcased the Island’s natural beauty to millions of primetime viewers. Overall, the Isle of Man has attracted PR coverage across UK and international media which has been independently assessed of being worth £2.2m to date this year, in terms of the AVE (advertising value equivalent) generated. 

Complementing this was a smaller-scale TV campaign than had been run in the past, with a £60,000 campaign running in the NW of England and Scotland. The adverts were targeted to the Island’s key audience profiles set out in the DMP, with the channels, programmes and times specifically chosen to make the most effective use of the campaign. The regions selected directly link to the promotion of new air routes in Scotland and the nurturing of the visitor market emanating from the North West of England.

We put less reliance on print advertising than we used to – mainly because it can be pretty expensive with some specialist magazine titles asking up to £18,000 for a single page advert. Instead, we have been doing a lot of digital advertising this year with an ongoing campaign being conducted via Google and Facebook, which offers an increasing capability to target potential visitors using specific demographic and lifestyle criteria.

This has been complemented by the content we post on social media channels to drive increased engagement with our audiences and we have seen a 16% increase in the number of people engaging with us on Facebook and Twitter.  We post daily onto our social channels so we’d be delighted if you would visit our Visit Isle of Man Facebook page every day and like and share away!

We’ve also made good use of our customer database with nearly 1 million emails sent out so far this year to both consumers and industry via bespoke newsletters.

What’s in store for 2018?

2018 promises to be an exciting year for the industry and in how we promote the Isle of Man as a visitor destination. The creation of a new Visit Isle of Man executive agency will enhance our ability to focus on working in partnership with Isle of Man businesses, helping to create exceptional visitor experiences, developing new product offerings and directing our marketing communications to our target growth markets as outlined in the Destination Management Plan.

I’m really looking forward to taking on the responsibility for tourism marketing full-time so I hope to catch you at the annual Tourism Industry Day in February. At that we will be launching a brand new creative approach for tourism and I’ll be highlighting the promotional plans that we have in place to deliver the objectives laid out in the Destination Management Plan.

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