Managing in the Service Industries
Traditionally, the island of Ireland has been a popular tourist destination for Americans. This has been the case because of the big number of Americans with Irish roots. American visitors to the island of Ireland have tended to come from the North-East of the US but research by Tourism Ireland in recent years shows that more Americans from places other than this traditional source have been touring the island in recent times with increasing numbers originating in the West and South of the US. The main objective of Tourism Ireland is to increase the number of tourists visiting the island.
With America as the main main source of tourists, Tourism Ireland’s virtual marketing is deliberate and is based on marketing segmentation techniques. When launching the campaign to attract more North Americans in 2006, the Minister for Tourism, John O’Donoghue T. D. observed the increase in American visitors without Irish roots and expressed the aim of the Ministry was to attract not just the traditional visitors but also the growing segment of visitors from the non-traditional American sources.
In addition to the US, there are many tourists to Europe from Canada and Tourism Ireland was targeting these visitors as a potential new source
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The use of virtual marketing had as its targets the traditional visitors to Ireland as well as the North American visitors to the rest of Europe. In joining Second Life, Tourism Ireland joined a long list of corporate entities that have increasingly taken advantage of the interactive nature of the virtual means of communication. From Churches to Universities to Embassies and Corporate enterprises, more and more people are making their presence felt on Second Life. These corporate entities take advantage of Second Life’s means of carrying out research, conducting meetings and even offering training.
The features of Second Life that are revolutionary and which make marketing sense to the corporate entities include the ability to hold private conversations as well as the ability to hold meetings where keynote speakers can address entire groups. In choosing Second Life, Tourism Ireland knew the marketing potential it possesses based on the users of Second Life. One of the factors that influenced Tourism Ireland in choosing Second Life is the fact that close to 60% of the users of Second Life come from the traditional sources of tourists to Ireland.
The users are located in the US, Germany and France and all these countries have huge potential for providing tourist to the island of Ireland. In addition to the location of the users, the age requirements for participation in Second Life makes it ideal for marketing. To participate in Second Life, you need to be above 18 although there is grid that is used by teens who are between 13 and 17 years of age. The average age of users of Second Life is 30 and this makes it ideal for marketing for Tourism Ireland. For Tourism Ireland then, the two main segmentation techniques used are Demographic and Geographic.