On August 26, 2011 the Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) successfully wrapped-up a month-long online promotion that involved over 25 local businesses and over 700 contestants.  The social media marketing campaign, the Seoul Sizzling Sweepstakes, was run from the SCB’s official website

www.miceseoul.com, and featured daily advertisements for top attractions in Seoul.  Sponsors offered prizes for international visitors to the SCB’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter - creating a win-win social media experience for all parties involved. 

To jump-start the promotion, the SCB ran Google promotional banners and Facebook banner ads, which eventually garnered 2.5 million and 7 million views respectively.  Promotion participation grew rapidly after the first week, sometimes at a rate 7,000% higher than usual. Interactive contest missions and repeat winners led to an avalanche of interest midway through the promotion. By the last week, the SCB saw several hundred new visitors to its social networking sites every day.  As the promotion drew to an end, the number of SCB Facebook fans grew by 950%.

With the emergence of social media as a new networking tool for the meetings industry, the Seoul Convention Bureau also looked to expand its online networks with its recent promotion.  SCB Deputy Chief PR and Marketing Communications Martin Kim said,

“Once an online network is established and expanded, this base of followers creates a great platform for publicity and exposure.  Imagine the treasure-trove of potential markets hidden in the friend lists of all of your fans.” Kim also added, “There are many who are less than optimistic about the role of social media in the business-to-business based meetings industry. However, I really look forward to the synergy we create through our next stage of online marketing initiatives”

The publicity power of social media was a major incentive for participating businesses, including several members of the SCB’s Seoul MICE Alliance.  Sonia Hensley, International Marketing Coordinator at Coex, said, “Social media is a wonderful medium to raise awareness. We liked the campaign especially because we could spread the word about Coex as both an entertainment and MICE destination to both leisure travel and MICE audiences.”

Over 100 prizes were given out during August, including show tickets, overnight hotel stays, yacht cruises, restaurant vouchers and more – many worth over KRW 100,000 in value. The purpose of the diverse array of prizes was to promote Seoul as a full of exciting attractions, which makes it a draw for both business and leisure tourists.

Now, with a new online social network of over 5,000 friends and followers, the SCB looks to take the next step in its social media marketing initiatives.  Aside from real-time updates on Seoul’s convention and tourism industries, the SCB aims to further boost the city’s branding as a leading meetings destination as it seeks new ways to reach out to key industry professionals through social media.

The Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) is a joint venture launched by the city and private enterprise in February 2008 with a core mission to promote Seoul as a convention and tourism destination. The Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB), a division of the STO, is the official government-sponsored body representing and promoting the city overseas as a prime venue for meetings, conventions and exhibitions.  The SCB is in charge of international marketing and public relations for Seoul as a convention city.

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