How Iceland Rode a Social to Tourism Success
Iceland is a country with a unique landscape and rich cultural heritage and tradition. Tourism is a major source of income for this country, but natural disasters influence the decision of a considerable number of people who want to visit it. They begin to fear that, instead of comfortable rest, they will be emotionally stressed due to the dangerous surroundings. For this reason, Iceland invests in creative promotion campaigns to remain competitive in the tourism market. It takes care to explain the current situation in the country to retain its customers, attract new visitors, and gain a competitive advantage over other tourist destinations. This paper provides the research in the strategic moves made by Iceland in order to restore its image after natural disasters.
Iceland faces a strong competition, and its major rivals are the United States and Scandinavia (Markelz, n.d.). These countries have beautiful nature and a high quality of living. All of them are able to provide exceptional customer service and care. Their cultural background is another advantage that attracts tourists around the globe. In particular, the United States has a strong promotion due to its mass media production. The country is widely represented in films and music and it is also known thanks to American multinational corporations. Moreover, the United States has a high economic level and provides high-quality services together with ensuring complete safety while traveling. High standards of living are also present in Scandinavia. Among these countries, Norway is the biggest competitor, as it is believed that it offers visitors better tourist facilities, cultural experience, and entertainment (Gudlaugsson & Magnusson, 2008). Despite its scenic beauty and opportunities for adventure, Iceland has lost an image of a safe place for tourists, which means that it should offer something new to its visitors to win trust.
Iceland has a complicated target market because it includes wealthy and educated consumers (Markelz, n.d.). As a result, it should constantly find new ways of how to attract and impress them. Moreover, target tourists may be difficult to reach because they prefer to book vacations without any help. Such tourists may visit the country regardless of the season. They may search for a sophisticated destination to experience new emotions and bring a new story back home (Markelz, n.d.). It should be mentioned that 62% of customers are inspired to visit a particular country through online search engines (Markelz, n.d.). It proves the tourists’ independence and self-confidence. At the same time, they strive to learn the country’s culture and participate in its traditions. The most important characteristics of tourists comprise the level of education and their financial situation. They are crucial because income defines the budget that they are ready to spend on holidays while education forms a perception of advertising that must be smart enough to attract their attention.
Three Campaign Pillars
First, Iceland used word-of-mouth advertising to retain the majority of customers and win a new position in the tourism market. In such a manner, it has built a new brand and attracted new tourists as well. For example, it promoted stories of real people on the Internet who described their unique emotions from various kinds of tours (Markelz, n.d.). It was a strong PR campaign, which helped to build trustworthy relations with the help of people having different positive experiences. Additionally, to support their opinion, the country engaged popular and international celebrities to create a pleasant atmosphere around the promotion campaign.
Another pillar included the ‘Honorary Icelander’ campaign that aimed at bringing people even closer to the local culture (Markelz, n.d.). The country showed that it welcomes tourists from around the globe as much as it can. Particularly, it entrusted them with honorary citizenship and made sure that they spent their time in the best manner. As a result, tourists noticed the land’s exclusive service and friendly attitude and wanted to come back one more time for additional positive feelings. The president’s family also participated to show their care about the guests.
The third campaign pillar was answering tourists’ questions (Markelz, n.d.). This method was efficient because some guests could have fears or doubts about visiting Iceland. The campaign persuaded them that it offered only safe tourism. Additionally, the country used ‘individual approach’ to each tourist, showing that it wants every guest to feel special and welcomed. It took time to answer all tourists’ questions to understand what they expect from the trip.
Iceland understood crucial needs of its customers, which included comprehending the country’s traditions and respecting natural heritage (Markelz, n.d.). Therefore, it decided to launch a few campaigns using social media to reach potential guests and communicate with them. Apart from the campaigns discussed above, the land also used ‘Iceland Academy’ in which customers had an opportunity to participate. All these efforts not only attracted more attention but also straightened relations with tourists. They also helped to reveal strengths and weaknesses of the destination and, as a result, promoted its strong sides (Morrison, 2013). It became possible due to such functions as PR, brand building, as well as increasing the product’s value. In the end, campaigns were successful because the number of tourists in the country increased by 49% (Markelz, n.d.). Additionally, they restored Iceland’s brand, which had been lost after natural disasters.
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Rio de Janeiro after the Olympics
Although sports events help to unite people around the globe, Iceland’s campaigns would not be appropriate for them (Kaser & Oelkers, 2016). Sports event destinations have another atmosphere when people of different nationalities compete with one another. Often, they do not need additional advertising because sports fans are ready to visit any host country. They do not question the destination itself, as their interest concerns information associated with sports activities. During such events, people also raise the questions of ethics, but the destination of fans will be changed as soon as a new event takes place (Kaser & Oelkers, 2016). For this reason, many countries may host sports events, but none of them can build a sustainable brand around it because, eventually, the interest of the sport will be shifted. The Olympics already provide powerful advertising for the country where they take place. Another reason is that all fans are different, which creates difficulties for forming the target segment.
Disney resorts have some similarities with Iceland because both tourist destinations offer unique landscapes. Moreover, they have a special atmosphere, which is a big part of their brand. For example, the resorts attract tourists who want to experience their childhood dreams (Woodside & Martin, 2008). Thus, both places know exactly which expectations their guests have and they try to provide them with unforgettable emotions. Disney can be also considered as a separate land for children, and it has own structure, irrespective of the country where it is situated. For this reason, the same campaigns can be effectively adapted to these resorts because they help to straighten relations with customers. Moreover, PR campaigns have a positive influence when people are already aware of the brand. However, Iceland can offer only nature while and Disney can offer additional adrenaline entertainment. Roller coasters create a different type of experience, which serves as a major difference between the two places.
Iceland has managed to overcome difficulties associated with natural disasters using effective advertising campaigns. It has applied much knowledge gathered from guests and visitors and added a sense of novelty to try to fulfill all customers’ needs. The country showed its care about tourists, and even the president expressed his personal welcome. It used social media to communicate productively with its tourists. In such a manner, Iceland serves as one of the best examples of the use of successful PR campaigns.