Life: something that passes you by because for the better part, you’re too busy living it. We waste away our youth with thoughts of what we shall do when we’re older leaving in a book pack once in a life time projects that will never be done. We often think of doing long or short trips that we would love do to at least once in a lifetime, but unknown reasons never gives us the chance to accomplish and enjoy them. The Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago) is one of those trips. During an episode of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy asked Scarecrow which way they should go, and himself was able to answer: Pardon me, this way is a very nice way to go, so is St James way, a good way to go, no doubt about it…
The Camino de Santiago is considered one of the biggest milestones of spiritual, cultural and tourist pilgrimage in the world and dates back to the Middle Ages. Since then millions of pilgrims have reached the city of Santiago de Compostela. The Jacobean Year occurs when the July 25, the day of the Apostle St. James, falls on a Sunday. This has happened every 6, 5, 6 or 11 years from the Middle Ages. The next Xacobeo will be in 2021. In recent times, the Jacobean year has been a combination of a pilgrimage and a range of cultural events related to the St James Way -Camino that combine to provide the pilgrim with a unique experience.
Our client, Xacobeo 2010, is a publicly-owned company controlled by the regional government of Galicia. It was created to extol the values of the St. James Way- Camino de Santiago and the Jacobean Year (Xacobeo): spirituality, the national and international projection of Galicia and sustainable tourism. LLORENTE & CUENCA was chosen by public pitch held by the regional government of Galicia to develop a strategic communication plan for Xacobeo 2010, a government agency, with the intention of improve the image of Galicia in Spain and all around the world and to increase the number of pilgrims.
Through the development of the communication strategy designed by LLORENTE & CUENCA, Xacobeo got in 2010 record results: more than 9 million of tourists and 280.000 pilgrims (50% more than previous Xacobeo in 2004).
• Ensure a greater influx of pilgrims and tourists to Galicia (compared with 2009 and the previous Xacobeo in 2004).
• Position Galicia as a national and international tourist destination of cultural quality in Spain and throughout the world through a unique offer of cultural and pilgrimage tourism.
• Extend the profile of the pilgrim: expanding the range of origin, destination and age and create new publics for the Xacobeo and the Camino itself.
• Promote the ten caminos or routes from Europe: the French, English, Portuguese, coastal Portuguese, Finisterre-Muxía, the South-East Silver Route, Primitive, Northern, Arousa Sea and Ulla River and Winter.
LLORENTE & CUENCA developed a communication strategy based on four pillars:
1. Strategic Consulting: General advice on communication, identification of opportunities for tourism and cultural communication, branding positioning, definition of key messages and content, training of spokespeople, risk political analysis and prevention (Crisis), support and development of messages for advertising campaigns, individualised communication plans on programme milestones, support from sponsors.
2. Online Communication: Multiplying effect of Xacobeo presence in key spaces of online participation: Facebook, blogs, Youtube, Twitter, Flickr.; turning the Blog Agenda of Xacobeo events into a major programming reference for music and cultural blogs; managing a real online community of pilgrims via the Xacoblogs on the Xacobeo website (www.xacobeo.es), Facebook and Twitter; daily application of active listening for the identification of publics and the definition of messages.
3. Relations with the Media: continuous press office, development of information materials, press centre management, contacts with key journalists, Media Tours with international and national journalists and key opinion leaders, monitoring and analysis of results.
4. Public Relations: Tourist and cultural promotion through the mobilization of opinion leaders and trend setters, media tours, generation of public events of impact, celebrity presence on the Camino.
There are three important milestones, into the communication strategy:
• Presentation of Xacobeo 2010 in Madrid (June 10). Success in terms of media attendance (more than 40 media and more than 100 hits in the main media) support by representatives of the central government, opposition and regional and local government: José Blanco, Minister of Public Works; Mariano Rajoy, leader of the opposition; Alberto Núñez Feijóo, president of the regional government of Galicia; Esperanza Aguirre, president of the Autonomous Community of Madrid; Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, Mayor of Madrid; Manuel Fraga, Senator and former premier of the regional government of Galicia, etc. Presentation was attended as well as by groups of interest for the Xacobeo (business, tourism, catering, etc.).
• Feast of St. James (July 10). Visit by the King and Queen of Spain to Santiago. The big Xacobeo day.
• Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Santiago to celebrate the Xacobeo Year (November 10).
On the other hand , LLORENTE & CUENCA approached to opinion leaders of the major cultural programming events of the Xacobeo such as MTV Galicia, the Diana Krall and Elvis Costello concerts, the Mark Knopfler concert, Festival Xacobeo 10, in which Muse and Pet Shop Boys took part, the Candida Höfer exhibition, the A Festa dos Mundos festival, including the Africa Express concert with Damon Albarn attended by about 100,000 people, the Leonard Cohen concert, the concerts Lang Lang, Anne-Sophie Mutter, etc.
The work done by LLORENTE & CUENCA has given the following results:
• 250 million € of value added to the GDP despite a smaller budget than in 2004 (40% less) (Source: BBVA).
• 4.5 million people have attended the cultural Xacobeo 2010 program, 4 times more than during the previous Xacobeo.(Source: Dept. of Culture of Galicia).
• 270,818 pilgrims, a 49.9% more than the previous Xacobeo 2004. (Source: Dept. of the Pilgrim)
• Near of 10 millions of visitors, 22% more than in Xacobeo 2004 (Source: National Statistics Institute-INE)
• Foreigners chose the Camino and Galicia as a tourist destination; in particular, German, English, Italian, Portuguese and French pilgrims. (Source: Dept. of the Pilgrim)
• More than 6,000 hits generated in the main national media: E.g.: Presentation in Madrid: Press conference in Madrid: Over 40 different media attended the press conference with the presence of main politicians. 100 hits in media. Event held at the Palace of Communications: 800 people attended.
• 90,000 members in major online networks:
o 8,400 members registered on the website.
o 4,800 comments, 1,300 posts on forums and 500 blogs integrated in xacobeo.es
o 2,200 content updates, 6,367 interactions with users and over 5 million pages of information on events and initiatives.