What lurks beneath the event evaluation - Social media!
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In August 2013 Northern Ireland hosted the World Police and Fire Games. The official event evaluation found that the games projected Northern Ireland in a positive light; however this survey does not tell the full story. Leading up to this event Northern Ireland experienced four months of civil unrest. Many consumers turned to social media to seek reassurance and guidance. However, the event organisers did not provide such support. In fact, by mismanaging concerns regarding political stability and visitor safety this event in effect reinforced the negative stereotypical images of Northern Ireland and because it happened on-line it was ignored in the official event evaluation. The two key lessons pertinent to event organisers and destination marketers from this case study are do not underestimate the power of social media especially in a time of crisis, and in this digital age an event evaluation must consider comments made on social media.
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