Connecting the Coolest Place – Donegal Tourism Seminar

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Harvey's Point Hotel

Lough Eske


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This seminar will provide an excellent platform for tourism providers from the region to engage with industry experts, and to discover useful tips on how to expand their business. It is also the perfect forum for those in the tourism sector to come together and take a collaborative approach to increasing the region's national market share within the industry. The seminar will look at how the tourism sector as a whole could benefit from this approach to marketing and developing the tourism product that Donegal as a county, has to offer both nationally and internationally.

The day will start with informative talks from a range of leading experts in the field followed by a Q&A panel discussion and the chance for you to gain insightful perspectives on many issues and to engage with these industry leaders. In previous years, this session has proved to be highly successful in raising pertinent issues and teasing out answers to challenges faced by the local tourism sector.

Lunch will then be provided followed by an exciting new development for the seminar with a facilitated networking workshop.


Based on feedback from preivous years, Donegal Tourism recognises the excellent opportunity afforded to a gathering such as this for a proactive approach to discovering new, mutually beneficial, business connections. In order to capitalise on this opportunity and maximise its potential, we will host a facilitated networking workshop in the afternoon where providers will get the opportunity to network with other like-minded local businesses interested in tourism.This platform of constructive networking and engagement has the potential to create new oportunities for your business based on mutual co-operation between similarly positioned companies throughout the county that can combine to create an improved product offering for all concerned.

So bring along your business cards and flyers and make sure that this great opportunity does not pass you by.

Last but not least, this workshop will be a great chance for you to meet our team. We look forward to renewing old acquaintances and developing new partnerships that can be taken forward to build an even stronger tourism product for our county.

This is a free event and is open to all tourism businesses and event organisers in Donegal. You are most welcome and we look forward to your positive engagement in this not to be missed event.

Book today to avoid disappointment!

Seminar Programme:

09.30am – Registration and Networking

09.50am – Welcome – Cathaoirleach – Cllr Gerry McMonagle

10.00am – Chairman, Donegal Tourism CLG - Mr. Seamus Neely

10.10am – Carolynne Harrison, General Manager, Shandon Hotel & Spa

10.30am – Michael Collins, Travel Media

11.10am – Greg Fry, Social/Digital Expert

11.45am – Tea Break

12.00pm – Joan Crawford, Fáilte Ireland

12.15pm – Matthew Jackson, National Geographic Traveller UK

12.45pm – Q & A

1.00pm – Lunch

2pm-3.00pm – Facilitated Networking Session

Speakers on the day will include:

Mr. Matthew Jackson Managing Director and Publisher of National Geographic UK

Matthew Jackson is Publisher and Managing Director of National Geographic Traveller and has been working in travel media for 20 years. A peanut butter connoisseur and father of three, he is happiest climbing a mountain or swinging a golf club. Matthew visited Donegal for the first time earlier this year and became an instant fan!!!

Michael Collins, Founder and Managing Director,

Michael has worked in the travel and media industries for 17 years. During this time he has worked as a travel journalist, editor and publisher with Backpacker, Abroad and Irish Business Traveller magazines. He has also worked in television and radio as a presenter and travel expert.

Greg Fry – Social Media & Digital Expert

Greg is an international trainer and one of Ireland’s top Social Media experts. He believes that in order to make social media work for your business you must have a clear business goal, a clearly defined strategy, great content and make sure that everything you do is measurable. Greg has worked with top companies including: Fáilte Ireland, The Irish Hotels Federation, Beannchor Group, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Ulster Bank, Microsoft, Vodafone, Virgin Media, Symantec, Coca Cola Hellenic and many of Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices

Joan Crawford - Fáilte ireland

A native of Donegal Joan studied at University of Ulster where she graduated with a B.A. Hons in Hotel & Tourism Management with a Diploma in Industrial Studies. She then went on to attain a Masters in Business Administration from University of Ulster.

Joan has worked in the Tourism sector for over 20 years having worked with Aer Lingus, North West Tourism, Donegal Tourism and now Fáilte Ireland. In late 1999, she to took up a position with North West Regional Tourism and worked in various roles going onto take up a Marketing Executive with Donegal Tourism Ltd. Most recently Joan has been working as a Manager on the delivery of the Wild Atlantic Way Programme , one of three key strategic programme areas in the Fáilte Ireland strategic plan.

Carolynne Harrison - General Manager of the Shandon Hotel & Spa

Carolynne has been in the tourism industry for over 10 years with her background in sales & marketing. Her first taste of tourism in Donegal was in 2009 as Sales & Marketing Manager in the Mount Errigal Hotel where she enjoyed almost 7 years of progressive success. Despite tourism being hit hard by the worst recession, her niche, as she calls it, is tackling the ‘weaker’ months, by being creative and driving up occupancy in the winter. The first year is always tough, but the years following are all about the strategy to ensure getting the right business mix to deliver in terms of food, beverage and spa revenue.

The Shandon Hotel & Spa opened in Easter 2016, typically it was a hotel & spa that closed down over winter. Carolynne never once considered closing the doors and losing the talented team she had invested in from pre-opening. She had every confidence that her strategies would work and they did. She maintained the jobs of over 120 staff, managed the costs to ensure profit margins were on target. Carolynne is a keen digital marketer, and although she is at the helm of the business with many other pressures, she says she cannot take a step back from the sales and marketing of the business and is adamant that for any tourism product to enjoy success through every season, confidence and marketing is the key!

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