England may have lost out to Russia in their bid to host the 2018 World Cup but at least they can claim the title of European DMO Social Media Champion. Our most recent ‘Social Media Watch’ benchmark analysis covering 25 National Destination Marketing Organisations in Europe shows that VisitEngland (www.enjoyengland.com) is the clear winner in their use of social media, with an overall score of 68 (out of a possible 104); a composite score covering the number of social media channels used and the depth/level of engagement with each channel. The benchmark criteria used covered social media use on the DMO’s own web site as well as their active participation in external social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc (see our previous post for a detailed description of the methodology used in our ‘Social Media Watch’ series).
Compared to most of the other DMOs studied, VisitEngland were clear leaders in their innovative use of social media on their own web site. Notable features included the active encouragement of user generated content (text, images, video); visitor ratings and reviews; the use of rich Internet applications to enhance the online customer experience (widgets, mash-ups, podcasts); social bookmarking; RSS feeds; together with very clear links to their external social media channels.
VisitEngland’s use of external social media channels was even more impressive with a Facebook fan page of 45,500 plus ‘likers’ and a Twitter following of 9,000 plus. Good use was also being made of iTune podcasts, mobile apps, an Enjoy England blog and mapping tools. Youtube, flickr and location based services were also being used although with more limited engagement compared to the previous channels.
The nearest rival to VisitEngland was Switzerland Tourism (www.myswitzerland.com) but with a total score of just 36. Indeed, only 6 DMOs scored more than 30 out of the 104 possible. This supports our earlier 2008 conclusions that the leading DMOs in Europe are not yet fully embracing or engaging with social media for building sustained customer and competitive advantage. This is a very worrying conclusion give the revolutionary impact that social media is having on global travel, tourism and hospitality
Full results of our benchmark analysis to follow…..
As usual, comment and feedback are welcome.
Jim and Alan