Fota’s new website an online star with travel and leisure award

There was absolutely no monkey business when Fota Wildlife Park carried off the main prize at an internet awards ceremony.

The non-profit organisation, which is one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions, won the top award in the Eircom Spiders’ Travel and Leisure category, beating off stiff competition from the likes of Jurys, The Malton Hotel, and Castle Leslie.

This is the second time Fota has won the top award in the category.

Stephen Ryan, head of marketing at the wildlife park, said it was fantastic to win again, especially considering they were up against such big industry names.

“We totally changed the website two years ago, keeping the tourist in mind,” said Stephen. “We looked at what people actually wanted and took a lot of risks but it was worth it.”

Gerard Keohane, director of StudioFourty9, Fota’s Cork-based web design agency, said the win was all about teamwork, and praised the direction given by Fota Wildlife park.

“We’re delighted for ourselves but also delighted for Fota,” he said. “They’re clients of great vision and give us a lot of scope to do the kind of work that wins Eircom Spiders awards.”

The Rising Star award went to Clara Kelleher, who worked with digital agency eighty-twenty for four years.

Clara previously worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and Amnesty International and has strong links with the NGO community in Ireland through her work as charities co-ordinator for Electric Picnic. She has delivered innovative work for consumer and non- profit clients, including the Bulmers deCider Augmented Reality app and a recent Living with Dementia campaign for the Alzheimer Society.

Journalist Mark Little picked up the Internet Hero award for his work with Storyful, while Alzheimer’s Ireland won the Charitable and Non-Profit category. Electric Ireland won Best Social Media and Best Campaign.

A total of 24 awards were presented, honouring online and digital achievement.

Gary Disley, chairman of the judging panel and marketing director for Eircom Business Solution, praised the efforts of each nominee and said “tremendous work” was carried out by the judges, who had a hard job narrowing down entries.

“It’s really fantastic to see such talent, innovation and creativity,” he said.

“[The] winners are not just keeping pace but they are blazing a trail across many sectors of Irish business. Our winners demonstrate that being truly digital is about much more than a nicely designed website. It’s about delivering a rich digital experience using the latest technology and maximising digital tools to further enhance our day-to-day experiences.”


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