The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is the entity that’s responsible for the Visit Jamaica brand and bringing the millions of tourists to Jamaica each year. In 2010, JTB had relied as usual on traditional marketing – tv ads, billboards, print ads,traditional pr and press junkets.
The global financial crisis in addition to the glaring fact that 70% of all travel decisions and transactions are now being made online: in the United States Jamaica’s largest tourist market 83% of travel planning is done online (TIA); and 70% of consumers trust online recommendations while only 14% trust advertisements. So destinations were now being asked to reinvent fresh ways of gaining mindshare and sales. In 2010, JTB had no digital marketing/ social media presence other than a website and a dormant Twitter account. I was engaged by Geejam Media to lead the digital marketing efforts.
The established goals were:
1. To help drive positive brand awareness for Jamaica online to support the Jamaica Tourism Industry.
2. To engage with consumers in new and exciting ways that generates trust directly and build loyalty with consumers.
3. To keep conversations and word of mouth about brand Jamaica online growing.
4. To build a community around Brand Jamaica across targeted touch points online. e.g. Social networks, Twitter, Youtube.
5. To drive relevant, targeted and measurable audience matching traffic to visitjamaica.com.
-Create their first 360-degree 12month long Digital Marketing Strategic Plan for Destination Jamaica Online including:
-Launched and created content for a standalone travel blog called Islandbuzzjamaica.com
-Negotiated Deals and Early Partnerships regarding Facebook and Youtube.
-Created YouTube Channel Partnership that enabled JTB to set up 3 YouTube Channels vibesjamaicajtb, aboutjamaicajtb and myjamaicajtb with a distinct editorial focus and plan.
-Developed a travel webisode series called ‘Pon Di Road’.
-Opened and maintained Twitter accounts with clear strategy and focus
-Launched full scale Facebook campaigns which included:
Contests and other frequent promotion strategies
Facebook ad campaigns
Proactive online reputation management
The Results -Outstanding Achievements -A Few Firsts
1. The VisitJamaica Facebook Fan Community doubled in less than 6 months. JTB achieved the distinction of being the first and leading Destination Brand in the Caribbean to have achieved those numbers over 100,000 Facebook Fans. When we handed over to JTB internal team in May 2012, The Fan Page Community had over 150,000 fans from the top 3 target markets – USA, United Kingdom and Canada with Italy and Germany as 4th and 5th largest fan groups.
2. JTB was the first to create and do travel webisodes in the Caribbean called ‘Pon Di Road’ which showcased people, places, culture and events through the eyes and adventure stories of a young married couple. Phenomenally successful and in its second season.
Season one of the webisodes has garneredover 400,000 channel views on the MyJamaicaJTB channel and has set up Season two, which started 8 weeks ago, for even greater success.
3. JTB was the first Destination Brand in the Caribbean to create a standalone Travel Destination Blog – islandbuzzjamaica.com. The Blog which garnered over 10,000 unique readers monthly was voted Best of the Web by Caribbean Travel and Life magazine whose readers have an average net worth of US$1,253,970. The magazine has a per magazine readership of 375,000.
4. JTB was the first Destination Brand in the Caribbean to organize a Bloggers Meetup. It was co-created and co-produced The Jamaica Tourist Board’s first Blogger’s Meetup, which invited 12 influential bloggers from top markets, added 3 top Jamaican bloggers who acted as authentic de facto guides. The result: a resoundingly successful event that yielded over US$100k in PR/Media value and has created a new template that was used for the 2011 series of Blogger’s Meetups.
5. Of JTB’s three Twitter accounts, the leading Twitter account @VisitJamaica had over 9,000 followers -individuals and entities representing travelers, agents, travel media, travel publications with an estimated reach of over 20 million people worldwide. It is the largest Twitter following of any Caribbean Destination brand.
6. Twitter account @AskJamaica was created as a crisis management 24/7 customer service tool during the “Tivoli Incursion” affair. It has evolved into an online concierge for tourists coming to Jamaica. When we handed over to their internal team, the account have over 7,000 Followers-individuals and entities representing travelers, agents, travel media, travel publications with an estimated reach of over 20 million people worldwide
The Social Media Foundation was handed over to internal team at JTB on April 2012.