More than 5,200 people entered a competition, run by the Steam Packet Company, to win a spring holiday in the Isle of Man.

Promoted through the social media platform Facebook, the competition was part of a winter marketing campaign to promote the Isle of Man as a destination for visitors.

The Steam Packet Company spends more than £550,000 every year marketing the Island in the UK and Ireland, and has been exploring ways of attracting more visitors in spring and autumn to help extend the traditional visitor season.

A target of 3,000 entries was set for the campaign, but the final number reached 5,215. The Steam Packet Company paid for the competition to be promoted on Facebook and it was viewed almost 100,000 times over a five-week period.

Among the many reasons to visit the Isle of Man is its rich heritage and this was the focus of the competition promotion. The winner will enjoy return ferry travel for a car and two people and three nights’ accommodation at the four-star Claremont hotel in Douglas. Also included in the prize is a free Go-Explore

Transport Heritage Pass, giving unlimited admission to all Manx National Heritage attractions and unlimited travel on scheduled services of the Steam Railway, Manx Electric Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway and buses.
There was also the option of VIP guided tours at selected MNH sites, plus meals at Coast Bar and Brasserie and vouchers to be used at the Manx Museum Café.

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The aim of this campaign was to engage potential visitors and show them what the Isle of Man has to offer. The fact we exceeded our own expectations in terms of entries demonstrates the high level of interest in visiting the Isle of Man.

‘We work closely with tourism industry partners and we all recognise that a potential growth area for the visitor economy is during the spring and autumn. An important part of the Steam Packet Company’s role is promoting the Island as a year-round destination; this competition, combined with targeted advertising over the winter period, focused on that.

‘We hope that the competition will inspire all those who entered and everyone else reached by the campaign to come to the Island this spring to explore our heritage sites, as well as the many other attractions we have.’

He added: ‘Further campaigns are planned for across the British Isles throughout 2016.’

Mark Wilson, Managing Director of Sleepwell Hotels, which owns the Claremont hotel, said: ‘Entries for the competition have exceeded all expectations, which is excellent and demonstrates there is strong interest in visiting the Isle of Man outside the summer season.

‘Imaginative and targeted marketing is essential to grow the visitor economy, and campaigns like this, which see industry partners working together, are vital.’

Manx National Heritage Director Edmund Southworth said: ‘We are delighted with the results of this joint initiative between the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Manx National Heritage and the Claremont hotel. The results are a reflection of the importance of strong partnerships between the public and private sectors. Working together in this way means we can promote the Isle of Man as a year-round destination and build on the rich culture and heritage of the Island.

‘The visitor economy is an important part of our overall economy and this initiative is further quantifiable evidence of its future potential for growth.’