On 20 February 2016 Fiji was hit by the biggest storm in the country’s history, Cyclone Winston.
In the weeks that followed, waves of negative media coverage showed the worst of the damage; hotels flooded, beaches covered in storm debris, dirty seas and desperate Fijians. This was a powerful trigger for aid support but as a by-product, travellers became nervous about holidaying in Fiji and visitor arrivals plummeted. People began cancelling their holidays and half empty planes foretold tough times ahead for this country that relies so heavily on tourism dollars.
Much of Fiji was actually unaffected by the cyclone and ironically, the best way to help Fiji in the wake of Cyclone Winston was to book a holiday to Fiji and spend your money there to help the economy.
Tourism Fiji needed a fast market-ready campaign to counteract the negative perception and show people that Fiji was very much open for business and everything was “Bula as usual”.
Bula As Usual
A new & innovative approach to crisis management
Today, it’s a fact that people trust the recommendations of other people more than advertising messaging. So the most effective way to convince people that Fiji was safe to visit was to have people on the ground share positive experiences of Fiji, through their own eyes, in real time across social media.
Understanding how this would shift tourism behaviour from cautiousness to confidence, Circul8 immediately launched the #Fijinow hashtag, encouraging travellers to Fiji to become our content creators and support Fiji by sharing their photos. Creating the tagline ‘Bula As Usual’, we were able to reflect the bula spirit of the Fijian people during this recovery time.
Amplifying our message
To amplify the reach of this message, we lined up a group of social media influencers with a global following of over 1.3 million to travel to Fiji and share their experiences. Our influencers were tasked with demonstrating to their followers around the world on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Snapchat that “This is Fiji Now”, it’s “Bula As Usual” and Fiji had recovered quickly; with many resorts had returned to normal. The influencers also promoted our campaign hashtag.
Bringing it all together
Circul8 set up a bespoke version of our content marketing platform, Aggreg8, to feature as a campaign hub on the official Tourism Fiji website and through it we showed a dynamic feed of images directly from our influencers in Fiji and other people on the ground using using the #Fijinow hashtag.
The #Fijinow hashtag has continued to gain support long past the duration of this campaign, clocking up over 15k posts (and climbing), becoming a valuable stand alone brand asset for Fiji.
Impact & Outcomes
Impact & Outcomes
campaign restored consumer confidence to book a holiday to Fiji.
Video content received over
on social media
Tourism Fiji social channels grew by
of #Fijinow on Instagram
record visitor arrivals in 2016 with a
. Peak visitor arrivals were achieved as early as July,
just 4 months after Cyclone Winston.