Traveling From Space to Ireland

An Astronaut’s Guide to Ireland

Commander Chris Hadfield of Canada

Concept: After tweeting pictures of Ireland from space, Commander Chris Hadfield of Canada became a Tourism Ambassador for Ireland. Hadfield, his wife and a camera crew traveled around Ireland for five days and visited key attractions in Ireland. The camera crew filmed Hadfield and his wife at the Wild Atlantic Way, a Hurling lesson, Titanic Belfast and the Guinness Storehouse. Hadfield is a retired astronaut who is visiting Ireland for the sake of advertising how wonderful the country is. Can I have this job?! Sign me up!

Strategy: In order to encourage holidaymakers from around the world to visit Ireland, the film crew put together four different films of the destinations mentioned above. The goal of the campaign was to entice prospective visitors to follow in his footsteps and begin planning their trip to Ireland.

According to Langan, Hadfield was very excited for his trip to Ireland. “I don‘t think you have to be from somewhere to appreciate it and maybe a stranger’s set of eyes will help other people see it even better. I’m just delighted, I don’t exaggerate my role at all. I’m happy to meet as many people as possible over the next few days,” Hadfield stated (Langan, 2014).

Tactics: The four videos were released to Discover Ireland’s YouTube channel in March of 2014. Unfortunately, this was the only tactic for the campaign. In a time when social media has become extremely useful and prevalent, I was expecting more tactics from Tourism Ireland with this campaign. Watch the films below:

With just four films released online, it’s hard to imagine how promising this campaign could be. However, Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons remains confident that the popular and global figure will inspire holidaymakers to sample Ireland for themselves (Driver, 2014). When he made this comment, I wonder if he looked at the number of views on the videos.

The Wild Atlantic Way video has 43,768 views, the guide to hurling video has 28,116 and the last two have an even less number of views. The Wild Atlantic Way video has the highest number of views making it the most successful. Why weren’t the other videos just as successful? Is it because the Wild Atlantic Way video is the first one of the four? Or is it because the Wild Atlantic Way is a more popular desired destination? Honestly, I can’t answer that, but there is a significant pattern with the number views on the videos.

destinations-235942_640When it comes to travel campaigns, it’s important to show viewers everything that that place has to offer in multiple different forms. I sat down with Becky Donaldson, a travel agent at Travel Connection, to talk about what gets travelers to visit specific countries. Donaldson said, “Places with more visuals on social media tend to get more visitors.” Travelers want to see the places they see and learn about in travel advertisements. “Travelers want a good cultural experience and I think knowing more about the destination makes individuals want to go there,” Donaldson stated. “Travelers wants to experience something different.”

As far as celebrity endorsements go, using a well-known, public figure to advertise has become increasingly popular due to its astounding effects. According to Gang, Guang and Hia (2015), a celebrity endorsement can help increase trust with customers, increase chances of brand being remembered and attract new types of audiences (p. 357). When choosing a celebrity endorser, it’s necessary to look at the fans of the celebrity, the impact value of the celebrity on social media, and the degree of matching between the celebrity and the product (Gang et al., 2015, p. 368).

Overall, Tourism Ireland limited its audience reach just by having the videos for An Astronaut’s Guide to Ireland on YouTube. Especially after talking with Donaldson, it is clear that travel campaigns need to reach any and all audiences on all kinds of media platforms. Having a celebrity endorser is important and can positively impact a company, but that is only if audience members know who the celebrity is. Some people may not know who Hadfield is, especially travelers from other countries.

What do you think? Do you think this campaign is successful or is the success limited due to its tactics? Comment below.

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