The Republic of Korea, referred to as South Korea, has a dense population of about 50 million people, half of whom reside in the modern capital city of Seoul. In the past forty years, the country has transformed itself into an economic powerhouse, raising the standard of living and making it a leader in Asia and the world. South Korea is known for its electronics companies like Samsung as well as its high quality education and healthcare.
Healthcare in South Korea is provided through compulsory National Health Insurance for every resident. The hospitals are among the most technologically advanced in the world and every aspect of each patient’s care is carefully monitored and measured in a strong data collection system designed to improve care. With its modern and efficient healthcare system, South Korea has much to offer medical travelers.
The country has wholeheartedly launched itself into the medical tourism sector, seeking to be the global leader in this industry as it has in many others. In 2009, the government began investing heavily in the marketing and promotion of medical travel. Its hospitals, many accredited to internationally recognized standards, offer a wide variety of services including cosmetic surgery, treatments that combine Eastern and Western elements, spinal surgery, and complex medical procedures. Most of its medical tourists have come from China, Japan, and Russia but the country continues to invest in attracting more patients and tourists from more countries.
Case Study: Low cost public relations medical tourism campaign for Korea.
The Korean Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) contracted with Stackpole & Associates and Medical Tourism Training’s President, Elizabeth Ziemba, to create a public relations program to attract visitors to Korea to visit as well as engage in wellness and medical services. Our team created a contest called “Body and Seoul” to identify two lucky winners from the United States who would travel to Korea and act as Brand Ambassadors by participating in a series of tourism, wellness and health activities. The winners were asked to use social media, blogs, photos, and videos to story book their experiences.
Working with KHIDI, our team put together an extensive promotional package for this week long experience with all services donated by Korean organizations. These organizations also worked to promote the contest and to share the winners’ experiences in Korea for extra visibility. The winners received two round trip tickets via Korean Air from its one of its gateways in the United States; six nights hotel at a major five star hotel in Seoul; in country transportation; breakfast every day; escorts to major tourist attractions as well as appointments for traditional Korean wellness treatments; executive check-up; and dental check-ups. The contest rules were developed and promoted through a variety of media channels for the client.
Our team designed the logo, social media pages, prepared press releases, and created the mechanism for people to enter the contest. Follow up email and communication with entrants was also provided along with the promotions for selection of the winner, the trip itself, and post-trip wrap up.
The results for the client, KHIDI, were substantial. The contest garnered a list of more than 3,500 self-selected individuals interested in Korea and its wellness and healthcare services. KHIDI leveraged that list for further promotions, converting those leads into tourists and medical tourists. The contest itself was promoted extensively through traditional media especially in gateway cities as well as social media raising the general awareness of Korea as a destination.
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