In 2010 the Fota Wildlife Park website won both the Travel And Leisure category and the Grand Prix in the Eircom Spiders – and in 2014 an award came our way again. Fota's website and use of social media picked up another Eircom Spider win in the Travel And Leisure category last night.

The current version of the site was built in 2012 by StudioForty9 coding guru Eoghan O’Brien, with design by our long-term design partners (and creative geniuses) Doodle Creative. Since then it has developed and grown, and along with some truly innovative social networking it has become an integral part of the Park’s success.

A Focus For Community Generated Content

Fostering their community is a core goal at Fota, who take this ethos online and showcase the ‘social content’ their visitors generate. Fotabook allows the park staff to pick up Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and sometimes Facebook content and post it on the site, while the site’s audience can upvote the content.

Web To EPOS Integration

A tight integration with the park’s EPOS system allows tickets and memberships to be purchased and renewed online. What’s more, the mobile site version allows tickets to be purchased from a mobile phone. An e-ticket is immediately sent to the customer’s handset, which can be shown at the kiosk for immediate entry (handy on sunny Sundays when the queues can start to build).

Multi-Lingual Without Breaking The Bank

As Fota Wildlife is a non-profit organisation, finding a cost-effective way to service non-English speaking customers was important. So we’ve introduced a landing page in five languages that provides basic information (including travel info, opening hours, prices and other useful information) but doesn’t incur the cost of a full site translation.

Astonishing Use Of Video

One of Fota Wildlife’s Key aims is is ‘Conservation and Education’ and they have run several campaigns in this area. The video below was aired in local cinemas.

Fota also frequently produce small, ‘home-grown’ video. The following short clip, of zebras and ostriches joining in a fun run in the park, was recorded in an iPhone. It was picked up by several international media including the BBC and ITN, and even aired on ABC’s Good Morning America, helping Fota extend their reach to a new audience.

The win is testament to a company that has a clear vision of how they want to operate online, and a commitment to the best possible execution.

"We are delighted to win the best Travel and Leisure website at this year's Eircom Spdiers, especially when there are so many fantasitc websites across the industry. This is a great testament to the work that StudioForty9 have done for the park, having previosuly won two Spiders back in 2010"

Stephen Ryan, Marketing Manager, Fota Wildlife Park