My first day at Fāilte Ireland was a true experience. I met Gemma, a member of the Marketing team and my superior during my time here. I was greeted by the security man, Brian and given my badge that allows me access to the offices and conference rooms. I then met Frances, she debriefed me about security, escape routes and most importantly the cafeteria. Immediately following my tour of the building, I was dropped into two back to back marketing meetings with all the members of the Marketing team and Mary the director of Marketing. The first meeting was about the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW), a new strategic tourism initiative to raise awareness of the beauty of the west coast of Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way is 2,500 km of the Irish coast from the Malin Head to West Cork. The marketing team developed a series of Virtual Reality videos that give viewers a 360 experience of the landscape, the native animals and activities available to visitors. In this meeting Joan, the director of the Wild Atlantic Way marketing team sharing her thoughts on the interactive rock climbing video. She mentioned parts that need to be improved and reshot by the crew. The second meeting was a conference call with a representative from the west coast in the Sligo offices to discuss the results of the tour. WAW allocated a budget to take a popular radio host, RTE on the WAW tour including restaurants, events and activities. Although the host produced thousands of hits on Twitter, Instagram, and radio the host was not cooperative. He failed to show to a few of the planned dinners and events and did not notify the planners. This was not acceptable and the consequences were disclosed in that meeting. At the ending of our second meeting we went to a nearby SPAR to get lunch. SPAR is a convenience store that also prepares subs and breakfast sandwiches. Mary bought my lunch and Gemma walked me upstairs to my desk to discuss my responsibilities during my time with them.
I will be helping Fāilte Ireland create a more interactive online presence for the WAW. My first project is to observe how other tourist destinations promote and interact across their social media outlets. After creating an evaluation of other destinations, I will cross-reference Fāilte Ireland with them and develop new ideas to incorporate into their social media strategy. Gemma has also scheduled meetings with other employees to sit and talk with me about their role at Fāilte Ireland. My first meeting was with Alex Connelly.
Tuesday I had the opportunity to speak with Alex Connelly the Head of Communications at Fāilte Ireland. He spoke about his responsibilities and objectives for Fāilte Ireland. He also expressed that his career in communications was accidental. After graduating from university with a Liberal Arts degree, he began his job hunt and stumbled about a position at a Secondary school as a Teacher. He later entered the health field as a communicator for several hospitals preparing crisis management press releases. After his is time there, he began at Fāilte Ireland where he has worked happily now for the last nine years. Fāilte Ireland’s work has been incredibly beneficial to Ireland’s economy and people. The empirical data shows that tourism has helped generate a bright future for the Irish. Domestic travel has created over 200,000 jobs in the Irish tourism industry and generated a total revenue of 4.6 billion dollars from domestic tourism alone. Alex explained the importance of keeping the target audience, the locals, engaged through several mediums like radio, television, print and digital. Fāilte Ireland does not use the same promotional materials with the locals and international visitors. Mr. Connelly’s office wall is tagged with newspaper and magazine cutouts of their articles stressing the benefits of Fāilte Ireland. Without the tax payer’s money Fāilte Ireland would seize to exist, so Mr. Connelly says much of their marketing material focuses on the benefits and objectives of Fāilte Ireland. The articles will stress the importance of small businesses, the job market and the revenue generated. Whereas the international promotion focuses on branding Ireland as a fun and exciting tourist destinations. International visitors don’t care to hear about how their travels are assisting Ireland’s economy, but would rather hear about the priceless memories they can create during their time there.
So far, I have noticed several cultural differences and noted several observations. Traveling to the office from Rathfarnham is 20 minutes by car, but 40 minutes by bus. When I first arrived in the Dublin airport I purchased a Leap card. A Leap card can be loaded with Euro to travel easily on the Dublin bus and the Dart. Unfortunately, I have no experience taking public transportation. The bus was punctual and I met an older man that helped me choose the best route to get to Amiens Street (where Fāilte Ireland is located). When we crossed the canal, he realized I was still on the bus and he suggested that I get off at O’Connell street. He obviously could tell I had no real idea of where I was going. He walked me to work that day and I’m still grateful for his assistance. The bus I was on that day did not announce the stops or the streets and since I’ve never been Ito Dublin before I was truly baffled. The closest bus stop to my job is about 2.5 miles away. I found that the roads are NOT clearly labeled. The street names are only at the top and the end of the streets, so if you start your journey in the middle of the street you will not know the name of it until you reach the end. Cyclist also flood these streets with no regard for cars or buses. I’ve found it to be incredibly dangerous to cycle or drive here, so I will be using to the Dublin Bus or Taxi.
Later, I arrived at the office I noticed how tight security was in the building. I was first greeted in the lobby and without a badge I wouldn’t have access to any offices, the elevator or the stairs. On the second floor, in the office space I noticed that all the windows were open. Although the building has air conditioning which they call “Aircon” it is not used daily. After meeting several employees, I also noticed that Apple devices, computers and laptops are not the brand of choice. The office computers and laptops are HP’s, the employees have a variety of androids. During my meetings, I observed that the employees do not silence their cellphones and conspicuously check their phones. I was the only person with my phone on silent and in my purse because in the U.S its deemed rude to have your phone interrupt a meeting. Despite several text and phone calls the meeting was incredibly punctual, starting and ending at the scheduled time. The office culture is refreshing compared to the office experience I’ve had in America. The staff is welcoming, talkative and enjoyed their tea breaks. The tea breaks can last up to ten minutes because they wait for the tea to diffuse and speak with other coworkers. I learned how to make a proper cup of tea in the tea room which includes a dash of milk. The office also has separate bins for recyclable and general waste in the office. There is not an individual trashcan at each desk which has become a custom in most American offices. The employees have an hour and fifteen minutes to enjoy lunch and many of them spend it in the Grapevine the buildings cafeteria. The cafeteria charges by the pound which makes the food inexpensive and they also offer a “Healthy lunch” incentive that provides employees with a free meal after their 9th healthy meal. Overall, my experience has been great so far. The people are raw and cursing isn’t a taboo so there’s been a lot of profanity. The Irish enjoy life and welcome others. The bus is confusing but strangers and the bus drivers have made it easier to navigate. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I’m enjoying every second.
Commonly used phrases:
Just a matter of interest – Just curious
Lift – Elevator
Hen Party – Bachelorette party
Stag Party – Bachelor Party
Ground floor – 1st floor
Social – Social Media
Town – Dublin
Load – a lot
Click this link to see my Virtual Reality experience: https://youtu.be/uZou0sNSnpw
Thanks for reading,