Helping Celtic Routes increase short visits and longer holidays

Paid Media Campaign for Celtic Routes, a partnership of six counties within Ireland and Wales


The biggest challenge and overall objective of the campaign was to increase visitor numbers and have a positive commercial impact on local businesses that rely on Tourism.

With ongoing Covid restrictions on cross border travel, this was increasingly challenging and whilst the business objective for the campaign was to increase visits, either holidays or short stays, our marketing objective for the campaign was to raise general awareness of Celtic Routes and drive website traffic. The focus was to engage users who were further down the conversion funnel, in that they had either booked or were considering visiting either East Ireland or West Wales.


Within the planning phase, we identified the various stages the user would go through, from awareness to interest and consideration to action. By doing this we were able to identify three key phases for the campaign:

1. Awareness that would utilise more traditional forms of media and act as a launch moment
2. Consideration/Intention that would utilise digital intent-based media to drive relevant traffic to the website
3. In situ which involved media activity running in the locations where tourists were visiting, reminding them of the places they could add to their itinerary.

The target audience for the campaign was separated into four defined audiences.

• Cultural Explorers (50+ who enjoy active holidays)
• Active Explorers (25-35 married and unmarried couples, who enjoy active holidays)
• Active Family Explorers (35 – 50 families with teenage children who enjoy active holidays)
• Celtic Explores (25+ people with a keen interest in Celtic heritage)


The target regions were defined based on both international and domestic travel. With international audiences focusing on Germany, Holland, France and the US, and domestic audiences focusing on Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, West Midlands, and South-West (M4 corridor towards London).

We worked with all stakeholders within the partnership to ensure each region had a fair, proportionate marketing presence, whilst also aligning their media mix to the goals and purpose for each channel.

We planned the media based on an annual campaign and analysed the buying habits and media consumptions for each demographic.

Using this data, we were able to define key moments within the timeline where campaign activity should fall. For example, we recommended January to kick off activity, aligning with the increase in travel interest around this period.

Equally, because the consideration window for Staycations tends to be shorter, we recommended implementing tactical social media activity to capture interest and conversation within a shorter timeframe.

We worked with Heavenly to ensure we were able to fulfil the multi-lingual requirements for the brief. This included liaising with the web development agency to ensure we had the various language variations with cookie policies for remarketing in place.

The media channels that we recommended used a combination of TV/VoD, audio, OOH, digital, and print. This included Facebook/Instagram, Programmatic Online Display, PPC, Time magazine inserts, in-flight publications, and large format OOH placements at the exit of key airport locations and motorway service stations.


• 62m impressions
• 125k visits to the campaign landing page
• Paid media delivered 82% of all visits
• Facebook was the main traffic driver, delivering 56% of all traffic and generated much lower CPMs than originally planned.
• Google Search performed well with a CTR of 9.62% which is well above the platform average of 3.17% and generated a low £0.35 CPC.

Overall, Celtic Routes are pleased with the results generated in Phase 1, especially given that travel was unpredictable due to Covid. We have been able to use the learnings gained to inform some of our approach and performance outcomes for phase 2.

Don't just take our word for it…

Golley Slater, working closely with our other contractors have delivered results above and beyond expectations.

During early March 2020, Golly Slater worked intensively with Celtic Routes Project Partners to drastically adjust our marketing activities on all platforms.  They advised, devised, and executed all changes admirably and professionally. Without using industry jargon, they have been cognisant of our unique requirements as Local Authorities.  The team have constantly been responsive and collaborative, which is very much appreciated by the Project Partners of Celtic Routes.