Featured Case Study

Crann Og Eco Farm

 

An ecotourism and retreat venue combined with an operating hobby farm.

The main themes of the venue are getting back to nature, sustainable living and environmental conservation.

 

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Intro

How We Helped Make This A Premier Back to Nature Venue in Ireland.

 

Crann Og Ecofarm had been developed over many years by the owners on a piecemeal basis. They had progressed the venue to a point that, with some new energy and enhanced management, it was ready to become a popular and sought after venue for ecotourism and as a retreat and educational venue.

Intro

How We Helped Make This A Premier Back to Nature Venue in Ireland.

Crann Og Ecofarm had been developed over many years by the owners on a piecemeal basis. They had progressed the venue to a point that, with some new energy and enhanced management, it was ready to become a popular and sought after venue for ecotourism and as a retreat and educational venue.

Details

Taking Crann Og Eco Farm to The Next Level

Challenge

Developing the project over some two decades, owners Marion and Flor Burke needed some fresh impetus and to share the load. Improvements were required to key aspects of the growing business, including the facilities and internet presence.

More managerial and technical support was needed, with more networking to promote the various activity streams and emerging retreat events. Yet all goals and improvements needed to happen on a very tight budget.

Solution

Researching the regional market, ecotourism and retreat trends, technology trends and customer preferences we compiled a detailed work program to systematically enhance the venue and services to achieve their goals. This program ran for three years with us at the helm.

Gold standard certification by Ecotourism Ireland was attained in the first year and re-certified in 2017 until 2019. The National Parks and Wildlife Service approved some educational, therapeutic and interpretive activities in the neighbouring special area of conservation, this also being renewed annually.

Increased Sales & Revenue

350%

Boosted Website Traffic

500%

Social Media Engagement

366%

Major Events We Managed

23

The Process

 

Auditing the venue against ecotourism certification criteria identified improvements required to attain Gold certification for the entire venue, as a back to nature, unplugged and off-line themed ecotourism experience.

A nine month work program was completed to prepare the venue for application and then we got to work.

A complete revamp of the internet presence was needed to significantly increase visitor traffic, content and social media engagement, conversion metrics and mobile device responsiveness.

 

Eco Certification Gold

We completed this in time for ecotourism certification ensuring the website and social media profiles addressed the core principles fostered by Ecotourism Ireland and The Global Sustainable Tourism Committee.

After attaining Gold Certification for the ecotourism experience, we proceeded to build a solid reputation on this standard.

 

Wellness

Analysing the wellness retreat demographics and popular trends demonstrated the venue would benefit from renovation, addition of more infrastructure and accommodation. We conducted all renovations and additions in-house.

National Parks and Wildlife

Flor and Marion actively supported Drummin Wood being listed with the EU Natura 2000 biodiversity conservation program. We made an application to utilise the woodland in a controlled manner, a conditional approval granted in 2015 by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Now having the business moving in the right direction, time resources were increasingly available to enhance the experiences and services.

Training and Planning

Additional professional development was identified for key service providers, particularly Marion and Flor, to develop further retreat and educational activities, including child education and adult oriented therapies.

Our management strategy enabled longer term, and more timely volunteer organisation. This created greater continuity and reduced costs and training demands.

Instigating longer term project, maintenance and financial planning lead to better team communication, long term vision and more well informed operational decision making.

 


Notable Waypoints In The Journey

 

Drummin Woodland Walk

Organised the Drummin Woodland Walk Day to create awareness about this special conservation area and generate support for developing an interpretive trail. The day was supported by ecologists, scientists, Ecotourism Ireland and local people.

 

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Application made to NPWS to develop an interpretive trail in Drummin Woods, conditional permission granted by the Minister in 2015.

 

Ecotourism Certification

Application made to Ecotourism Ireland for certification of the Crann Og Back to Nature experience, the venue awarded Gold Standard July 2015 to July 2017.

Additional Activities

Re-application to NPWS for interpretive trail plus forest school classes and guided nature therapy walks, conditional permission granted by the Minister May 2017. Conditions included woodland monitoring program with annual reporting.

 

More Gold Ecotourism

Application made to Ecotourism Ireland for re-certification, the venue again awarded Gold Standard July 2017 to July 2019. We achieved achieved one of the highest audit scores that year.

 

Upgrades and Events

Most infrastructure and accommodation facilities were renovated and additional units made on-site.

The largest event we managed ran for 10 days, comprising a retreat for 5 days, followed by a gathering for 2 days of up to 92 people, then followed by a smaller retreat of 3 days.

 

We Started Eco Freelance Support

In late 2017 we formulated our ideas for Eco Freelance and sought about finding a replacement management team. We were successful and handed over the reigns at our departure from the project.

We continued to support the project providing mentoring to the incoming manager, website maintenance and GDPR Compliance services.

 

Moving Forward in 2019

In late 2018 Marion and Flor continued their intriguing journey as Crann Og now morphed into an intentional sustainable community. Moving away from tourism and events, energies now focussed on building community and providing nature based education to children and adults.

We were there to revamp their website for the new direction and continue to this day to provide website maintenance and administrative assistance.

 


Testimonial

 

“Diligent and conscientious, real enthusiastic motivators with boundless energy.”

Flor Burke, Crann Og Ecofarm Co-owner

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