Sibiul is located in the heart of Transylvania, Romania and it’s probably one of the most charming and idyllic medieval towns you will ever visit. A short walk around the city center will make you understand why Sibiu was named the 8th most idyllic place to live in Europe. With its narrow streets, defence medieval walls and public squares, this 400 years old town invites you to get lost from time to time and discover the most beautiful cafes and restaurants, architectural gems, local markets, museums and cultural events, available all year round.
During that year, Sibiu was the main stage for over 220 cultural and sporting events and managed to attract three times more visitors than the year before. 12 years later, Sibiu still manages to attract a considerable amount of visitors thanks to the City Hall’s ongoing destination marketing efforts.
One of these efforts is called Sibiu City App, a digital platform (iOS app, Android app and website) created with Eventya and launched in 2013. The platform serves as the city’s first Smart City Platform and brings the entire local community and tourists together in one place.
The platform’s main objectives are to promote the numerous city attractions, places and events and to provide a better communication between the city hall and the citizens of Sibiu as well as the tourists visiting the city. It includes over 11 sections ranging from information around public transportation, parking, tourist attractions, events, movies, festivals, accommodation, dining, news, free time to help users make the most of their time in Sibiu.
First things first, prior to the launch of Sibiu City App we have been working on creating a visual identity that best represents the city.
We’ve started with the logo featuring one of the most iconic symbols of Sibiu – the Council Tower – and finished off with creating the app mockups used in the App Store and Google Play as well as the print graphic designs used in flyers, banners and stickers.
Smart City Apps become a success when they manage to provide users with relevant content tailored to their needs. Marketing an app should be all about genuine storytelling and choosing the right communication channels and tools.
We used Facebook and Instagram to promote Sibiu City App and increase the number of downloads using beautiful images, videos and inspiring messages that help locals and tourists discover the best experiences the city has to offer.
We use Facebook to post daily content relevant to the app’s target market:
We managed to keep the engagement rate on our Facebook page at an average of 6% thanks to the relevant and high quality content we post daily.
To increase the number of app downloads we use Facebook Ads to target tourists visiting Sibiu as well as locals interested in keeping up to date with the latest developments in the city. The cost of acquisition for a new app user is currently 0,2 euro / app install.
Regardless if it’s an article, a review, a photo or video, user-generated content is more valuable that owned content. Sharing it with our Facebook followers considerably increased our visibility as well as generated more app downloads.
Take influencer Oana Vasiliu’s „31 de zile de vacanță: altfel de Sibiu. Incursiune gastronomică” article for example where she share her culinary experiences during her visit in Sibiu. Sharing the article on Sibiu City App’s Facebook page reached over 10k people and generated over 30 app installs.
Over 200 events and festivals take place in Sibiu every year and sharing the right message at the right time can result in an unimaginably high organic reach and engagement without any advertising budget.
One post during the International Theatre Festival managed to reach over 26k people and get over 200 shares by simply communicating the right message to everyone getting excited about the festival.
Promoting useful content such as a festival agenda is the perfect way to get users to download Sibiu City App. Take this post around Focus in the Park agenda that managed to get 65 app installs using only six euros in advertising budget.
Taking advantage of yet another title awarded to this wonderful city in 2019, “Sibiu – European Gastronomic Region” we created a campaign designed to promote local cuisine. During our “Sibiu Foodie Tour” campaign, local restaurants and their signature dishes were promoted on our social media accounts to create awareness around the rich and delicious culinary experiences available in Sibiu.
We attend events and share real time updates to keep viewers connected to the vibey atmosphere in the city.
Instagram helps us share authentic experiences and beautiful places worth visiting in Sibiu to help visitors get a glimpse of that the city has to offer. The content we share helps visitors experience Sibiu through different lenses, it captures everyday life scenery.
We also managed to give a voice to the local community as well as tourists by providing them with a platform and a hashtag to use while posting about Sibiu. #sibiucityapp is now an incredible collection of the best experiences the city has to offer.
This long term strategy allows us to steadily increase the number of followers and keep a high engagement rate on each post (150-200 likes).
To help locals and tourists discover the best Sibiu has to offer, we write and share articles in English and Romanian around top attractions, local crafts, restaurants, events and activities in the city. Sharing content around the latest developments in the city is the best way to keep users engaged.
The article about the Christmas Faire in Sibiu published during the grand opening day was viewed by over 800 users in just one day.
Stay cool, enjoy #SISAF: 3042 impressions
Taste of Sibiu – Handcrafted beer: 29965 impressions
Winter in Sibiu. Experiences in the surroundings: 7198 impressions
Winter in Sibiu was an excellent topic to break down and cover in four articles available in two languages. The articles were targeted to three types of visitors, couples, families and adventure seekers and resulted in 7198 impressions.
We recommended each type of visitor top activities they can enjoy during their trip. From horse carriage rides and romantic dinners for couples, ice skating ring and playgrounds for families to skiing and tour routes. The interest was so high that each article was featured in top 10 articles on the website and apps that week.
One of the best ways to keep users engaged is to deliver the right content into their inbox. We allow users to subscribe to Sibiu City App’s newsletter via the website and apps to receive weekly newsletters.
With an average opening rate of 28%, our newsletters do a great job informing users about the upcoming events and activities in the city.
Print is not dead, especially when you know how to strategically and creatively include it in your marketing efforts.
The most important message we want to share with everyone visiting Sibiu is that there is a free digital guide available at their fingertips.
To ensure the message reaches as many visitors as possible, we first identified the top accommodation, leisure and information points in Sibiu and then created various types of print materials to help promote the app. Materials varied from stickers featuring the app’s logo and personalised bookmarks that turn out to be a great souvenir to flyers and brochures.
Print material is not only useful to create awareness around the app but to also promote various campaigns that we are running.
During our Sibiu Foodie Tour Campaign, we complemented our online efforts by creating a brochure that was distributed in 19 local restaurants. Based on our culinary experiences, the brochure features the top 19 dishes to try while visiting Sibiu. The plan is to further update it to include even more gastronomic experiences and idyllic restaurants locals and tourists would want to try.
The Incident Reports Module available within the Sibiu City App allows users to provide insights into the issues that need special attention and report city-related incidents while they happen.
To create awareness around the new release and encourage citizens to download the app, we designed and distributed flyers in all the City Hall administration offices in the city.
One of our main goals is to create as much awareness around the app as possible and this requires a strong collaborative relationship with local partners. From event organizers and restaurant owners to tour operators, they all recognize our app as an efficient tool to promote their businesses and events, and in return they choose to promote Sibiu City App on all their marketing materials.
To help create awareness around the app and encourage app downloads, we often attend tourism fairs and exhibitions. During the day we organize contests, giveaways, promote local attractions and look for new partners to help promote the app.
We mastered the art of storytelling, we gave a voice to the local community, we enabled valuable partnerships that resulted in shareable moments and provided users with exciting and unique experiences that resulted in: