Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category

Céad Míle Fáilte

June 27, 2018

Prince Charles visiting Cork

On Thursday the 14th June, Grand Parade in Cork was full of school children, the media and hundreds of friendly faces all there to catch a glimpse, or for the lucky few a chance to meet, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

As the royal couple made their way to the English Market, where they followed in the footsteps of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2011, they were greeted by onlookers at every turn and the smiles on their faces showed how much they appreciated and enjoyed the warm welcome they received.

The English Market is one of my favourite accounts to work on for many reasons, and this royal visit was a major highlight. As I stood on the red carpet waiting for the arrival of the highly anticipated guests, I was filled with excitement and pride as I looked around and saw the ‘Céad Míle Fáiltewaiting for them.

It’s true to say we really do give a hundred thousand welcomes and quite literally roll out the red carpet to welcome all who visit Ireland. The royal couple spent approximately an hour in the English Market as they laughed, chatted and even cut the 230th birthday cake for the English Market.

Prince Charles visiting Cork

Some people may not favour the royal family or have their own views on the royal couple but the friendliness of the Irish was well and truly on show and the fun and laughter enjoyed by the royal couple on the day really made me proud of all involved and all who and welcomed them with open arms.

This visit has been great for the relationship between our two countries and it also puts a another big spotlight on Ireland as a great and friendly place to visit.

Thank you Charles and Camilla!

Edel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion Communications

Fuzion Communications are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Finding the Right Fit – Part 2

September 7, 2017

Norwegian Airlines - Cork to Boston

Five years ago I wrote my first blog which looked at the importance of finding the right fit for your requirements.

This is something I still firmly believe in, and which was reinforced this summer when I travelled on the new Norwegian Air direct flight from Cork to Providence in Rhode Island.

Some people were a little sceptical of this new option, which was billed as a more affordable way to get from Ireland to the USA; saying things along the lines of:

That’s not bringing you directly into Boston, Providence is miles away… a completely different state in fact!” and

But you have to pay extra for your bags and meals.”..

..and yes, they are correct in saying those things; however for me, the flight into Providence was exactly what I was after as I was holidaying in Rhode Island.

And better yet, we travelled for that very reasonable price we kept hearing about!

So what am I getting at here?

I could have chosen to fly in a little “more comfort” with Ireland’s only 4 star airline, directly into Boston; but it would have meant a two hour or more journey to either Shannon or Dublin on this side of the Atlantic, and a similar transfer at the other side; all the while costing me more.

That wasn’t the right fit for me on this occasion, whereas this new option did and so I was more than happy to give it a go and if necessary, learn from my mistakes.

I think the same goes when choosing business partners to work with.

You may have people “advising” you, saying things such as:

You must work with X, Y or Z – everyone who’s anyone works with them” or

They’ve been around for years, they must be the best.

..but at the end of the day, what it really comes down to is whether or not they are going to be able to fulfil your requirements and bring you where you need to be, via the most direct route, and of course, at the best price for you!

When it comes down to it, a business option that compares to Norwegian Air’s offering, where you can pick and choose add-ons as required, is something definitely worth considering – you may find they’ll bring you exactly where you need to be.

Alison O'Brien, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing & Design, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Things you didn’t know about Máire Coffey

September 23, 2014

 

Sha Ra Princess of Power

My favourite holiday..

When I was a child I spent some time in Central America, predominantly in El Salvador, but also covering Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. It was coming towards the end of the civil war in El Salvador so it was a very interesting time.

Easily four of the most beautiful countries that I have ever been to and the people were extremely admirable, humble and gracious. The tropical climate was incredible with 40 degree heat most days and a complimentary hour long downpour daily!

El Salvador Civil warThey also had fantastic toys, so for a child it was heaven! Although I was quite young, I remember it very vividly and I’ve always said I would love to go back. Someday I hope. Apart from that… NYC is always a winner in my book too.

My dream car..

Up until last year I hadn’t lived at home in Kildare for 10 years so I only learned how to drive when I returned home last year. It’s still quite a new thing for me so it’s exciting! I have my sights set on a Mini.

Alanis Morissette - Jagged LittlePillMy first album..

Alanis Morrisette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’. I asked for it for my 10th birthday.

 

The part of my job I love most..

I love interacting with clients. Everyday there is a new challenge and I really enjoy that. Getting coverage for my clients is also really rewarding as you can see the growth of their business and visualise where their brand is headed for. On a daily basis my job is very varied and here at Fuzion we deal with all types of PR across the board including consumer, corporate, charity, crisis PR and media training.

There is never a dull moment and the array of different clients makes for a very united and interesting work environment.

Who is the most famous person you have met?

Before Moving into PR this year I worked in the TV industry for seven years. I previously worked for the BBC in London for a few years and was really lucky to meet an array of talent and celebrities. The most notable of them being Prince Harry, Rihanna and JK Rowling.

Channel 7While working for Channel Seven in Sydney for the last few years before returning home, I worked in the same studio where ‘Home and Away’ was filmed so I used to meet the cast on a daily basis. They used to find it both funny and flattering how much Irish people loved the show!

The best advice I was given..

 Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something.

Who would you most like to have dinner with (dead or alive)?

My paternal grandfather, as he had passed away before I was born. Also, I’m a huge Kennedy fan and am intrigued by the family, so JFK would be a cert.

Favourite Movie..

I’ve two for this question… Almost Famous and Forrest Gump.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 things, what would they be?

Sunscreen (being a red head with pale skin, it would have to be number 1!), A long book, probably Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ (slightly fitting don’t you think?!) and my iPod… I would find it hard to live without music.

What superhero would you be and why?

She-Ra Princess of Power! I was a big fan as a child.

Máire Coffey - FuzionMáire Coffey

Máire is a PR and Events Executive with Fuzion Marketing, PR & Design who have offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Destination Branding and the special “DNA” of Corkonians

March 24, 2014

Cork region

We’ve been privileged to have been working on a really interesting marketing project in conjunction with Colliers International, Placematters and Location Connections for the Cork region, which was commissioned by some of the key stakeholders.

Destination branding is something all cities and regions must now consider as they must market themselves in a clear, concise and consistent way to all target audiences they wish to attract. How a region markets itself must be believable and true so that the actual experience matches the reality.

As part of this marketing process you must first understand what the offering is, decide what parts of this offering are attractive to relevant target audiences and then package this offering in a clear brand description for the region.

All the subsequent marketing of the region should be consistent by all stakeholders so that maximum return on investment is achieved and that target audiences develop a clear understanding of the unique offer from that destination.

As part of the research work we conducted about the Cork region we discovered that many people are attracted to the size of Cork, “it’s not too big and not too small“, they love how quickly you can get from the city to the country, they love the nearby  coastline  and they also love the friendliness, humour and warmth of the people.

Even the Huffington Post identified Cork as an “overlooked city in Europe that must be visited in your lifetime!

It is easy to understand the physical attributes of the region but the people dimension is one that is more difficult to pinpoint.

The Queen visits Cork, Friendly City

Is it really true that Cork is a friendly city just as the Lonely Planet Guide declared in it’s Top 10 List of cities to visit? The guide praises the city saying ‘Cork is at the top of its game right now: sophisticated, vibrant and diverse, while still retaining its friendliness, relaxed charm and quick-fire wit.

How can you explain this friendliness?

Do Corkonians really have this special “friendly” gene in their unique DNA?

In our research in Cork we conducted questionnaires with many foreigners working in the Cork region and they consistently told us how they had no intention of staying initially but this is now home and they would not be leaving. Cork is great fun and the people are very “friendly“.

As much as this proud Corkman would like to think people from Cork do not have a special gene, no more so than people from any other part of Ireland.

If it’s not a special gene then why do we behave in such a manner?

  • In Cork you can enjoy a good career with small SME’s or with large multinationals without the big commute.
  • You and your children can receive a great education right on your doorstep
  • You can enjoy a vibrant and friendly city where strangers still chat to each other that is easy to access
  • It’s a relatively safe place to live, visit or go to college
  • You can be in the country or walking on a beach within half an hour
  • You can enjoy a lively, entertaining, art loving, multicultural place where independents can still thrive
  • The food and entertainment offering is diverse and top class
  • You are connected to the world and major city hubs via an airport that is 10 minutes from the city centre.
  • On the very practical side of things Cork is a significantly cheaper place to live than Dublin and a more economical place to do business.

While the career opportunities aren’t as great as in Dublin or London, an internet world makes this less of a problem and the overall sense of well-being from an exceptionally better life balance makes the Cork region a very clever place for people to choose to live their lives.

So why are people from Cork friendlier, warmer and wittier?

Maybe this ideal sized region with an abundance of natural attributes just makes us happier?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Colliers International offer Destination Consulting services

Placematters are Destination Branding experts

Location Connections are an International FDI  site selection consultancy

Cork ghosts and more things we love ..

September 3, 2013

Cathedral and Shandon - Cork

We are working on a project at the moment and as part of this exercise we asked people a very simple question: “What do you love about Cork?

As you can imagine we received all manner of responses, which are quite revealing about our great City and County.

One particular response from Fiona Whyte is worthy of special attention as it is so brilliant:

What I like most about Cork are the ghosts, the ghosts of the older city, guarded behind the imposing presence of Father Matthew.

Move away from Father, over the bridge, along the quays and up Shandon Street, you leave behind the modern city and its quest for sophistication. Here, in amongst ebony skinned youths and pink-haired girls, the ghosts emerge from steep steps and lane ways.

A man in a long brown coat tips his hat at me as he passes by and I swear it’s Frank O’Connor. Shop fronts cry out Polski. A teenage girl at the bus stop checks out her Facebook updates on her smart phone. But the buildings can’t cover their origins of decades and decades ago and everywhere the music of the Cork accent rings out loud, louder even than the bells at the top of the hill.

Going past the North Cathedral and down Cathedral Walk – my mother still calls it Chapel Lane – children in the school yard are shrieking as they fly from a pig-tailed pursuer.

Girls are whirling ropes and one chants rhymes as the others skip. I think she’s my grandmother. I learned those same rhymes from her, and No. 3, the house where she was born, is just nearby. Its walls have been recently painted white but this cover up of its natural grubbiness is temporary, I’m sure.

What’s more, I’m certain now that if I walk through the front door, beyond the heavy curtain which separates the three foot square alcove from the not much larger living area, I will be greeted with a welcoming if toothless smile from the tiny woman who inhabits the chair in the corner. Her white hair is pulled back in a bun. Her black skirts reach the ground and a heavy black shawl is wrapped tightly around her. She holds court from the corner, though she rarely speaks. But all eyes are trained permanently in her direction, for just above her head, perched on a sloping shelf, is the miracle box, a chest of moving black and white images accompanied by muffled sounds. My grandmother’s mother, she lived to be ninety-six.

Leaving Cathedral Walk, I turn back to town and treat myself to a Moroccan couscous lunch in Cafe Bendec. I look out the window, content that here on Pope’s Quay, amidst the scurry of vehicles and pedestrians, the ghosts continue their eternal patrol

Fiona ….wow!

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm in Ireland with offices in a Cork and Dublin

Learning to Crash Land

March 29, 2013

Plane on the Hudson

We were passing some time in New York (we were there for the christening of my brother’s daughter) on a bitterly cold January 15th, 2009 so we found ourselves in the cinema.

We came down the escalators after the movie finished to hear loud sirens and watched as police cars, ambulances and fire brigades sped by in quick succession.

We grabbed a cab to Penn Station and the female taxi driver agreed to take us once we weren’t going in the direction of the Hudson – a plane had just crashed in the river. Her mum called on her mobile and warned her to quickly get out of Manhattan.

By the end of the short cab ride the incident was clarified on the radio – it wasn’t a terrorist attack. It was a freak accident caused by a flock of Canadian Geese and the Captain, Chesley Sullerberger, a former Air Force pilot managed to land the plane safely on the water with all 155 passengers very shook but all in one piece.

Thank god ..

Two days later we touched down at Shannon Airport and grabbed a newspaper to catch up on news since we had been away. Right on the front page we read about one of our clients, a hotel in Kerry that had gone into liquidation – not only did they owe us quite an amount of money but it was obviously the loss of a client.

What were we facing this year?

Over a period of the next few weeks we lost a few really good clients as the wheels came off the economy and budgets were being slashed by everyone – we had just moved into offices only a few months previous and it felt like our plane was plummeting!

Of course we panicked, of course we were worried but we dug in just like we always do. We had a great team and we needed to have faith in ourselves and in our ability.

I remembered clearly one of the lessons of Napoleon Hill in his book published in 1937 “Think and Grow Rich” – Have faith and believe that you will succeed ..he spoke about something that he called “The Secret“.

We have always adopted a positive philosophy, which has served us well – Two months later we won our biggest account, we picked up a few other accounts and later that year we started running training courses – it was an incredibly tough year including some other large bad debts but somehow we managed to bring our plane in without losing any of our passengers!

Since then business has continued to be challenging with plenty of turbulence but thankfully we continue to have faith and we always seem to survive, grow and thrive.

One of these days it will get easier ..won’t it?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork.

No breakfast before 9 on Achill Island !

March 15, 2013

Achill IslandTen past eight and I’m still lying in the hotel bed in Achill Island contemplating the day ahead.

My alarm went off over two hours ago – Yep, 6am is the first alarm setting and I have a second one set for 6:15, which is when I normally get up. The very odd time I might allow myself the luxury of another 15 minutes and then get up ..busy, busy!

That’s just the way it is these days – Monday to Friday I work my socks off , including most evenings and there is always some work to be done at the weekend. The joys of self employment!

Ten past eight ..I’m not here on holidays, I’m on Achill Island to deliver three days of social media training to the local business people, most of whom are involved in the tourism sector.

I have loads to do but the wifi only works in the reception area and my modem doesn’t have sufficient coverage to get any work done.

Breakfast isn’t served in the hotel until 9am – I’m not kidding!

There is plenty of time to do everything including taking in the most spectacular scenery you have ever seen in your whole life.

The sign at reception used say breakfast is served between 8:30 and 10 am but this was changed with a temporary sign changing the 8:30 till 9am. Yesterday morning I thought I would pop down and just grab some cereal but the dining area was all locked up – nothing for it but back to bed.

I give the course at the local IT centre from 10am – things don’t start too early around here.

Today is my last day and I’m starting to get to know some of the group quite well. The group is made up of born and bred locals, Julien the kite surfer (Pure Magic)from France, Ute from Germany, Padraig who jumped out of the rat race in Dublin and a bunch of other immigrants from all over Ireland.

During one of our numerous tea breaks (with gorgeous homemade scones) one of the immigrants explains to me how the place “gets a hold of you” and you just don’t want to leave.

Besides being very relaxed and friendly it helps when the suggestion of a visit to Lynotts pub (the greatest little pub ever) is accepted warmly.

I was expecting one or two to turn up for a pint but a good few came with their friends – the guitar was produced and we had songs in English and French ..well done Julien and Liam.

Dee is just after coming over to me as I am typing this “You’d get used to the pace of life here”.

I tend to agree ..

What can I say …come to Achill Island!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing and PR firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Why We All Need to be a Little More Mr. Blue Sky….

August 27, 2012

I was delighted to read Paddy Clancy’s article in today’s Irish Examiner.

I was actually starting to get concerned about my unwavering optimism and general good feeling about Summer 2012. While the world and its mother have been giving out about this terrible Irish summer, I have been waxing lyrical about how surprisingly nice the weather has been over the past few months. I’ve been getting a few strange looks, but I honestly don’t know what people have been complaining about.

Almost every morning I have managed to walk to work without getting lashed on and most evenings I return home on foot in mild, warm weather. Fair enough there’s usually a downpour at some point during the day, but if you listened to MET Eireann they would have you believing that we’re up to our knees day in day out in flash flooding, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Not the case from where I’m standing….what about you?

Now, the mandatory Irish chit chat about our terrible climate doesn’t really bother me, it’s as natural as a morning cup of tea to discuss the weather in this country. But to me it feels as if MET Eireann and very often, the media, seem to focus so much on ‘where it’s going to rain’ as opposed to ‘where it’s going to shine’ and fair enough, I know it’s science, but couldn’t they cut us a break?!!

My attitude now is just look out your window in the morning and take it as it comes. (Unless you’re a golfer  it seems– my father lives by that forecast)

The most concerning thing is the impression it is giving out to international tourists and to all of our lovely family and friends who have emigrated and who, aside from the recession, are almost afraid to give up the sunny climes of Australia and America for ‘depressing Ireland’.

We depend, more than ever, on Tourism for simulating employment and revenue, yet we shoot ourselves in the foot day in day out by giving out about the climate. The whingers are feeding that perception and as per Paddy’s article today, I’m not the only one who believes that. Donegal has clearly enjoyed a fantastic summer, and if you spent any time at all in Dublin and Kerry over the last few months you would have enjoyed some amazing weather and quite a few ‘al fresco’ dining/drinking opportunities!

How many times have you heard people say “We’d be the best country in the world if we only had the weather”. Well, newsflash: Ireland has an unpredictable climate and high levels of rainfall annually – get over it.

Ireland is a fantastic country, despite our current recession and perceived climate. Every day I experience optimism and positivity in the most unlikely places, and most importantly, a little bit of sunshine. I think we could all make a better attempt at encouraging people to come here, by complaining a little less and maybe taking some time to highlight the sunny days when we can. Don’t you think?

Gina Kelly is an Account Director at Fuzion

Gina on Twitter 

Gina Kelly operates from the Fuzion PR office in Dublin

The TripAdvisor debate – Would the Real Reviewer Please Stand Up?

August 7, 2012

Despite having never posted a review, I love TripAdvisor. Its success has reached such heights that it is now as important as packing your passport to review your holiday accommodation in advance of your trip. But let’s face it, we all know that any social media savvy hotel has probably written the odd positive review in order to boost its ratings. The trick is not to get caught right?

TripAdvisor image

But in the back of my mind I always wonder how much of this self-rating is going on and realistically how can TripAdvisor monitor every single review and mitigate against it. Similarly, the bad reviews – is it the nasty work of a rival hotel, an irate ex-employee or someone who simply exaggerates a bad experience?

The best thing about social media is the freedom it allows you to voice your opinion to a mass audience but with situations like the ‘Tom Daley Twittergate’ or the on-going cyber-bullying issue you have to ask, do we have too much freedom to hurt others, be it a business or another individual? At least with Twitter and Facebook, your opinion is entirely visible as your opinion – no hiding from it.

But TripAdvisor has the beauty of anonymity – a faceless platform in which to be as complimentary or derogatory as you like, without having to take any responsibility for giving your opinion, regardless of what it might mean for the reputation of a business struggling to survive. It seems almost cowardly in a way.

So, my question is, should we break down the wall that hides the reviewers from those they influence? Should we step out from our hiding place and be transparent in our opinions, just as we are on Twitter and Facebook? Or is that simply taking away from the whole ethos of these sites?

I’m pretty sure I know what the hospitality industry would vote for. Personally, I would like to see what review sites are out there offering transparency on reviewers and promote them as an alternative to the TripAdvisor mechanic.  Yes, it might be the biggest, but as with everything, not necessarily the best.

And who knows, maybe I’ll finally write that review!

Gina Kelly is an Account Director at Fuzion

It’s a Long way to Tipperary!

July 18, 2012
Its a Long way to Tipperary festival

Everyone is happy !

“Everyone is happy” we heard the old gentleman say to the person he was with as we walked past him on the street.

“Everyone is happy” he repeated, this time a little louder to make sure what he was saying registered with his buddy.

This was the main street in Tipperary town, and the “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” Festival that our client , Tipperary Co-op were sponsoring was in full swing.

We had just left the Tipperary Co-op Hardware store, or Top Creamery as the locals know it and there was a great buzz with threshing, old kids games, people enjoying the BBQ and of course plenty of banter. I spoke to a friendly gentleman from Rossmore called Liam O’Dwyer who was giving a blacksmith demonstration – he had an incredible display of old signs and as part of this was an old “Death Penny” from World War 1 (I’ll tell you about that in a separate blog!).

In our stroll down the town the locals were in full spirits, stopping to chat and enquiring where we were from. A old woman stopped me and I had to sign a book that apparently promised her a dance later! We popped into a small shop that had a full display of war memorabilia including war posters and a full history of the iconic song. Once again we were overwhelmed by the friendliness and warmth of the people there. The immortal song was made famous during World War 1 by the soldiers all over Europe.

Making the whole festival (which was celebrating 100 years of the iconic song) really special and great fun was that many people in the town were dressed in costume from that era.

It's a Long Way to Tipperary

Altogether now ..

(Imagine the anniversary of this famous song passing without marking it in any way – in Fuzion we refer to this as “Never Wasting a Good Story” – there is a huge PR tip for you!)

When we arrived in the town we had parked at the other side and walked all the way through. There were vintage cars, old tractors and motorbikes, people dressed up, everyone posing for photos, posters and banners and a fabulous, genuine “feel good atmosphere“.

Before we left the town we popped into the Tipperary Co-op owned SuperValu, which had its own exhibitions, competitions and the team there joined in the spirit of the festival wearing clothes from that era as well – all except for Pierce, the manager of course!

When we were there we were chatting to the guys from Tipperary Co-op, Richard, Pierce and Tom. They were thrilled with how their sponsorship of the festival had worked out but more than that they explained how the festival seemed to “unlock” a sense of spirit and fun in the town that seemed to have disappeared over the last few years through a mixture or recession, bad weather and general worries.

Maybe, everyone took a step back and grabbed onto some old values from a time when life was a little simpler.

As the old gentleman had said ..”Everyone is happy“.

It was worth repeating.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion


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