While undergoing the rebranding process a couple of years ago, we gleaned lots of great information about our visitors via strong research. One of the main things we learned was that, with a name like Dublin, visitors want and expect more Irish. Some of that was easy--we just refocused our messaging to highlight what we already have ... one of the nation's largest and best annual Irish Festivals (okay, THE best fest, in our minds); world class golf (including links style courses designed with the British Isles in mind); Irish pubs and restaurants; Irish imports and a Historic District surrounded by rolling rock walls that put one in mind of a quaint village in Ireland.
With the huge shift in tourism to hands-on experiences, we began developing Irish experiences for group tours and business groups. These include Irish dance and Penny Whistle classes, afternoons with an Irish fiddler in a pub--or a storyteller at a tea room. We even created a Four-Leaf Clover Scavenger Hunt through the Historic District for overnight groups. These experiences were so well received within the first 18 months, that we created a second wave of new experiences like Irish "Tastings and Toastings" and "Manor House Meals" programs. These, too, have been well received ... with the group markets.
The challenge for us is to create (or inspire among local businesses) new products for the leisure traveler that are available on any given day of the year. Most of the experiences we developed for groups require a large number of people for it to happen--making it difficult to convert that into an experience for an individual, couple or family.
We've come up with several Irish offerings for visitors. Many of our restaurants have added Irish-inspired products to their menus. (So we're doing the food thing really well.) Ha'penny Bridge Irish Imports welcomes visitors. The owners will gladly (upon request) offer a walking tour of their store with a little education about Irish collectibles, travel and more.
But--here's where we need your help. What kinds of Irish experiences would YOU like to do in Dublin? What kinds of Irish cultural activities or exhibits or activities would entice you to make a weekend trip to Dublin, Ohio?