The Early Deadline is December 9th! Enter Now!

Enter the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. See categories below. The early entry deadline is on December 9th, 2021.

From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Fáilte Ireland: 2020 Year of the Staycation

Entered in User-Generated Content

About this entry

Peer to peer recommendations through user-generated content are the most trusted source in making travel and holiday decisions. So we started 2020 with a bold decision: all of our content would be 100% user-generated. 

Our brand objective for Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority was crystal clear: keep Ireland top of mind as the number 1 holiday destination choice for the domestic Irish audience.

Our goals for social media were to grow our social following across all platforms, increase brand advocacy and drive brand fame by only using thumb-stopping, attention-grabbing organic social content. 

To answer this, our strategy called for a leitmotif approach, harnessing recurring content themes that would evolve over time to tell our brand story in different ways across different contexts and platforms. No small task for any user-generated social campaign. 

Then mid-March 2020 Covid -19 struck sending Ireland into lockdown, shutting businesses, and cancelling all holiday travel. The nation ground to a halt and our entire travel industry virtually disappeared overnight. With a full lockdown in effect and no travel permitted, our objective for the year remained the same. We now faced a Herculean task to achieve our objective and goals.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

We recognised we quickly needed to pivot our strategy to the new reality. 

We turned to social media listening data to better understand consumer sentiment and feelings and identified a consistent conversation trend. The more we were restricted in lockdown, the more we yearned for escape. People wanted to return to the familiar and good memories of better times on holiday. 

This insight provided us with a creative starting point: if people can’t travel, we’re going to help them escape through their social feeds, offering moments of natural beauty, and tranquillity all while advocating our collective responsibility to stay at home. 2020 would become the year of the Irish staycation, both virtually and physically. 

We quickly developed a new strategy to create, curate and publish UGC content that allowed our audiences to experience key destinations without ever venturing outside. By curating user-generated 3D and 360° imagery for Facebook, and using user-generated video content to create virtual road trips and tours on Instagram Stories and Feed, we were able to enrich our followers’ social experience while inspiring holiday dreaming and maintaining awareness and consideration of Ireland as a top holiday choice for when we could travel again.

As the country started to reopen in June 2020 and domestic travel possibilities expanded, we needed to switch our strategic focus to encouraging Irish people to take a staycation. With no production budgets, we flexed our creative capabilities to leverage a small but passionate army of Irish micro travel influencers, brand fans and trade accounts to create and share authentic on-the-ground video and image UGC, turning this content into several recurring content series such as  “Staycation Adventures”, “Local Stories” and “Make a Break For It” on our own Instagram Stories and Facebook channels. 

As summer came to an end and Ireland eventually moved into a second lockdown, we pivoted our organic strategy once more to create new content streams to keep our audiences engaged and inspired while continuing to support hard-hit tourism businesses and encouraging public health responsibility. 

Using user-generated video, we created a mindful video series “Take A Moment To Breathe” on Facebook featuring beautiful aerial footage and timelapses, promoted personal responsibility through our “ Natural Distance” UGC image content series, and supported local business with “Dublin Delivers” and “Adopt A Shop” content series on Instagram Stories, all using user-generated content. Our message was one of hope and resilience that continued to resonate with our audiences across our social channels


Out of a population of 4.9 million people, our efforts encouraged roughly 56% of Irish consumers to take a staycation with 40% of those bookings coming in the first half of June 2020 alone as consumer confidence was buoyed by the ease of lockdown measures.   

In 2020, not only did we succeed in keeping travel in Ireland top of mind for consumers, we achieved this using only user-generated content and organic social media. We surpassed many of our SMART goals for growing our online community, increasing brand advocacy, and delivering brand fame. All in a year when travel and holiday making were tightly restricted. We championed user generated content in all of our channels and it  made an enormous impact, breaking all-time brand impressions and engagement metrics for Fáilte Ireland, from individual posts to the collective result of our user generated content social strategy. 

Brand Fame

Brand Advocacy

Community Growth

Total Organic Engagements = Likes, Comments, Shares, Clicks, Video Views on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube


Video for Fáilte Ireland: 2020 Year of the Staycation

Entrant Company / Organization Name

In The Company Of Huskies, Fáilte Ireland


Entry Credits