Donegal is to shake-up how it interacts with tourists to the county with a new digital strategy planned for next year.
A proposal document seen by Donegal Daily outlines new proposals for a number of towns across the county.
Fáilte Ireland said it undertook a review of how it shares tourist information nationwide with visitors, both online and in-person.
The review identified a need and an opportunity for Fáilte Ireland to introduce a new and comprehensive plan in response to changing consumer behaviours, digital trends, and declining visitor numbers to tourist information offices.
“People rely increasingly on their digital devices to access information and tourist information is no exception. Traditionally, visitors have used guidebooks and tourist offices to find tourism information in a destination, but visitors’ habits and expectations have changed due to the growth of digital and the desire for convenient and quick access to information.”
Fáilte Ireland is now implementing a new approach to providing Local Tourism Information in Letterkenny, with multiple touchpoints that they say will reach 7 times more visitors in the area.
It will maximise engagement with the domestic tourism market and respond to international consumer preferences, with the optimised mobile-first discoverireland.ie website servicing an exponential growth in online holiday searches.
Fáilte Ireland is investing in a new network of local high-impact Tourist Information Kiosks in high-footfall Donegal locations to expand accessibility to tourist information, including in
Letterkenny Bus Station, Glenveagh Castle and Grounds and at Slieve League Visitor Centre.
Discussions underway with Donegal County Council on Town Centre locations for Tourism Information Kiosks.
85% of visitors to the tourist information office are international with the majority of footfall during the busy 4-month summer season (June – September). Therefore, there will be a Tourist Information Centre operating in Letterkenny on a seasonal basis from June to September 2022.
In addition, new Letterkenny town maps and a Donegal regional map are being distributed free of charge to all hotels across the County.
There will be a significantly enhanced web presence for Letterkenny town and County Donegal with 497 attractions, activities and places currently listed on discoverireland.ie. This will be continuously updated to include local highlights, reasons to visit, recommended visit duration, hidden gems and suggested itineraries.
An enhanced contact call-centre service will be operational 7 days a week including extended evening hours.
The Letterkenny / Donegal Local Expert Programme, which empowers the frontline staff in tourism and hospitality to share with visitors all there is to do and see in their area will re- launch in 2022.
The proposal explains why Failte Ireland are seasonalising the Letterkenny Tourist Information Centre.
￼It explains how the four months of summer account for just under 70% of annual footfall.
Under this new approach, Failte Ireland explains how it will increase the number of visitor interactions across all touchpoints to 161,000 interactions in 2022.
The Letterkenny Office will be one of 11 offices that will be seasonalised under this new model (June 1st – Sept 30th)
For the eight months that the staff affected will not work in the Letterkenny tourist office they will be redeployed to other key areas in Failte Ireland where their experience, local knowledge and insights will be leveraged to help the tourism sector overcome the many challenges it is facing from labour supply and skills shortages to digitalisation needs.
The staff will work in the following areas:
• Digital marketing content & online supports for Donegal businesses.
• Localised initiatives to help deal with labour supply & skills shortages.
• Administration support for industry co-ordination and Donegal networking
Failte Ireland says this fresh approach is about efficiency, effectiveness and serving the needs of visitors in convenient channels they now demand, and critically will work for domestic and overseas visitors.