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How to Combat Destination Stereotypes through Digital Marketing, presented by Ryan George, CEO, Simpleview, and Bridget French, Director of Marketing & Public Affairs at Rockford Area Convention & ...

How to Combat Destination Stereotypes through Digital Marketing, presented by Ryan George, CEO, Simpleview, and Bridget French, Director of Marketing & Public Affairs at Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

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  • Try typing in "Why is Alabama so..." for instance, and the collective wisdom of the Internet will automatically tell you that most people seem to think that the state is awfully "... racist."
  • You’ll also find out that people think Austin is cool, great (or gay)…that Tucson is hot, boring and generally cooler than Phoenix (which is a fact).
  • As anyone with experience in tourism marketing will tell you, tourists don't always travel to visit the reality of a place – they come to experience or are initially attracted by the stereotype that exists in their heads. Stereotypes, like brands, act as a frame of reference to the consumer and help them to simplify and interpret their experience.  The real trick for tourism marketers is to present the stereotype in a positive light, leverage it to convey your point of difference, and make sure the consumer can actually experience it when they arrive. And not every stereotype is worth addressing or using your marketing dollars to emphasize or combat it.
  • The Utah Office of Tourism wanted a fresh website to better provide information about what visitors could experience throughout the state. They aimed to be a true gateway to all of Utah's tourism destinations - 14 ski resorts, five national parks (The Mighty Five - Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park), 43 state parks and hundreds of dining, shopping, sporting and historical venues.Yet, their research showed that visitors only thought of Utah as a skiing destination, neglecting the opportunity to participate in its non-winter events and activities.
  • The tourism office also faced stereotypes of their state, which they felt prevented some travelers from choosing Utah for their vacations. Because of the state's history with the Mormon faith, whose followers typically abstain from drinking alcohol, there is a perception that it is hard to find a bar or a city with an active nightlife.Membership only bars, 3.2 Beer, etc.
  • Utah's Office of Tourism had also increased their social media efforts, with active posts and other content being issued through their Facebook, Twitter and other accounts. However, the public had a hard time finding the accounts. Their marketing team subsequently struggled to increase their follower count, as the networks were not integrated through their website.
  • We began working with the tourism office on compiling images from around the state and developed mapping technology to help visitors realize where everything was specifically located.  This effort would translate to helping visitors easily plan their trips and build their schedules. This feature was in addition to developing region-focused tabs to organize the Utah Office of Tourism's library of images into northern, central and southern sections.We also implemented a statewide weather widget and a seasonal theme widget. In their new content management system, there is an easy-to-use switch to convert all imagery on the site to a particular season. Rather than overhauling the site to focus on summer or winter for a few months, the staff can highlight their snow or sun in a matter of seconds. The weather widget allows visitors to find out if it is raining or shining in Provo, Ogden or Moab through an easy-to-use drop down menu.The site design also focused on the "Life Elevated" brand, delivering messaging that speaks to the leisure travels searching for luxury, outdoor adventures or family activities. Religious perceptions are minimized through the new creative treatments. 
  • And the result? Because of the social media integrations, Utah's Office of Tourism significantly increased their follower counts on several networks. For example, their Twitter follower count increased by 74 percent from March to August of 2012.The updated technology decreased the staff's time to update site content. This comes from integrating their CRM system with their CMS by making changes to their listings in an instantaneous way. Additionally, mapping technology and integration with Google Maps allows for people to truly understand where an event is happening within the state, combating the issue of only seeing the state for its skiing options in the mountainous sections.(How many of you in this room are the people primarily responsible for updating content on your website? How many of you are responsible for updating social media content?...If it’s not the same person, you have to be working together. )The updated site design also focused on the "Life Elevated" brand, delivering messaging that speaks to the leisure travels searching for luxury, outdoor adventures or family activities. Religious perceptions are minimized through the new creative treatments and gave the content marketing team plenty of fresh material to reference and share.
  • Visit Salt Lake faced a similar stereotype to the overall state, which they felt prevented some travelers from choosing Utah for their vacations. Because of the state's history with the Mormon faith, whose followers typically abstain from drinking alcohol, there is a perception that it is hard to find a bar or a city with an active nightlife.They had already developed messaging around this issue, including emphasizing their local breweries. However, there was one problem.
  • They only had 135 dining listings and 41 bars/nightlife listings…not exactly a reflection of a happening nightlife or bar scene.
  • Through a process called our Inclusion Model…
  • They now have 1,375 dining listings and 128 Bar listings – on par with Yelp. How does this help with social media efforts?More content to emphasize – events, listings, National Days (for example – National Ice Cream day can pull from that many more businesses and promotions), etc.Additionally, more chance to recognize 1,400 new prospects via social media, e-mail newsletters, etc.
  • So, if you like think the perception of not having enough bars is a challenge…try being named one of the most miserable cities in the country. Bridget FrenchDirector of Marketing and Public AffairsRockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Based upon cities with at least a population of 259,000. Used our MSA population of MSA of 360,000But used CITY stats—not MSA stats
  • Yes, winter in IL can be harsh, but here’s a picture of my car last winter. I drove on some black ice, slid through an intersection, up onto someone’s lawn and over their decorative boulder. Rockford’s “commute” is so short that my husband was able to drive to where I was, change the tire, and we still got the kids to school on time and I was only 20 minutes late to work.
  • Needless to say, we were sick and tired of being placed on arbitrary lists. It was time to do something about it, and insert ourselves into the news.
  • We quickly realized that we had to move fast. We met with our partners at Graham Spencer to develop a strategy, which included new assets for social media, our website, the creation of a new video, and a public relations campaign(Photo of strategy notes)
  • We worked through a variety of branding options
  • Here is another idea for branding
  • Here’s another idea for the logo
  • A take off of Hideaway in Rockford
  • Final: first black and white Misery Loves Company logo
  • First local launch of campaign: Misery Loves Company State of the City (SOTC) Address Gave out free t-shirts and had slide show running Show Coronado Theater with Mayor Morrissey presents State of the City
  • Misery Loves Company State of the City (SOTC) Address Gave out free t-shirts and had slide show running slide two from SOTC
  • Misery Loves Company State of the City (SOTC) Address Gave out free t-shirts and had slide show running slide one from SOTC
  • Misery Loves Company State of the City (SOTC) Address Gave out free t-shirts and had slide show running slide three from SOTC
  • Misery Loves Company State of the City (SOTC) Address Gave out free t-shirts and had slide show running slide four from SOTC
  • Misery Loves Company State of the City (SOTC) Address Gave out free t-shirts and had slide show running slide five from SOTC
  • The very next day, people began coming to our office asking to purchase t-shirts, so we quickly queued up a Square account, and began selling them for $12 a piece at 8 locations, including our office and our Community Information Center out at the interstate. “Forbes Smorbes” t-shirt slide
  • Facebook/Twitter site were changed to show the new MLC assets
  • We used creative imagery throughout our website as wellWebsite screen captures
  • We used creative imagery throughout our website as wellWebsite screen captures
  • We worked with our partners throughout the community to create a $3.00 night at a Rockford Ice Hogs Game. IceHogs are a Blackhawks affiliate. SHOW VIDEO
  • A normal weekday game night sees about 2,500-3,000 fans; we saw over 5,000 that eveningSites and attractions set up booths and all were required to give something away
  • The only paid advertising we did was to promote a video we created for MLCTotal advertising costs on YT: SHOW VIDEO
  • Great, right? Well not everyone loved it. Show FB created “Change.org” petition started to stop the campaign
  • They say any publicity is good pub, right?
  • Saw increases, especially in Facebook, and our website MARCH, APRIL, MAYThe campaign gave locals a message they could use and repeat and internalize … they are our best marketers…word of mouth. I think it some circles it galvanized locals…brought them together against the bad news/messaging from forbes and others.  
  • Earned media results: Madison Wisconsin Capital Times spreadEquivalent advertising value of approximately $10,700
  • And let’s face it. I love anytime I get to hang out with Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick
  • We are conscious of the challenges our community faces and realize that there needs to be more positivity. We are beginning a new ad campaign as a spin off to MLC called In Good Company. We will focus on the assets and people who make our community great and move forward incorporating IGC into our adverting going forward. Also working on an In Good Company Blogger Outreach program which will feature resident bloggers. Show Illinois Travel Guide ad
  • Only when the barriers between our social silos are torn down will we realize the full potential of social business.Social fragmentation and silos will vex strategists, referring back to the people who handle content development. Those decisions may be handled by different people.
  • Do you have a Certified Tourism Ambassador program? Are those ambassadors equipped to best represent your brand via social media?Does your message on social media reflect the message in your other outreach vehicles - print media, presentations, website, etc.?What have you done to make sure everybody in your organization (and in your member/partner organizations) is saying the right things online and offline? (Again, can we see how having more partners can amplify your message? – Inclusion Model)
  • If you are trying to attract a specific type of tourist, what metrics are you using to prove success?If you’re producing content to change perceptions, how do you know that content is being used to drive visitations?Where are you getting your data and reporting your successes? How are you using it to improve your efforts?

GoRockford Simpleview Presentation SoMeT13US GoRockford Simpleview Presentation SoMeT13US Presentation Transcript

  • Combating Stereotypes of Your Destination with Digital Marketing A TA L E O F M I S E R Y, N I G H T L I F E A N D T W E E T I N G › Ryan George CEO Simpleview @rgeorge2024 › Bridget French Director of Marketing and Public Affairs Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau @btfrench SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM
  • Stereotypes Exist Everybody at SoMeT is currently dealing with widely held, but oversimplified, perceptions about their destinations. Huntsville, Alabama SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • Austin, Texas Tucson, Arizona SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • Stereotypes Can Help or Hurt Your Destination When Attracting Visitors SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • How Do You Combat Your Stereotypes? Case Study: Utah Office of Tourism SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • Follower Count Increased by 74% in Six Month Period Since Site Launch New messaging provided fresh content to reference and share SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • How Do You Combat Your Stereotypes? Case Study: Visit Salt Lake SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • 1) Data Acquisition 2) Data Normalization Mapping & Import 1 2 4 4) Maintain SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM 3 3) Make UI & UX Changes @RGEORGE2024
  • 135 to 1,375 Dining Listings 918.5% Increase 41 to 128 Bar Listings 212.2% Increase SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • But…What If Your Destination Was Named One of America’s Most Miserable Cities? SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @RGEORGE2024
  • How Do You Combat Your Stereotypes? Case Study: Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • Criteria Unemployment Rate between 2010-2012 2010: 15% 2011: 12% 2012: 11.4% Change in media home price between 2009-2012: $120,000 to $86,500 Income tax rate (Individuals) 2010: 3% to 5% (still at 5%) SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • Criteria Weather (precipitation, humidity, te mperature) Median commute time ?? SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
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  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • $3.00 tickets for all seats $3.00 food/drink combo special Two vendors per 8’ table More than 15 booths/30 vendors Show video prior to start of game SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • Barton Fishoff “Huge comment response both on Facebook and YouTube. Say what you want, the campaign clearly is having impact and getting noticed. Bad campaigns just get ignored” SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • Digital Results Facebook: 350% increase in engagement YouTube: 21,490 views GoRockford.com: 50% increase in unique website visits SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM @BTFRENCH
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  • Takeaways from Case Studies Can’t rely just on social media, but use it as a key driver for spreading accurate information about destination. SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM
  • Takeaways from Case Studies Has to be a team effort, including those outside your DMO with your partners. SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM
  • Takeaways from Case Studies Have to know what to focus on and how to measure the successes SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM
  • Combating Stereotypes of Your Destination with Digital Marketing THANK YOU › Ryan George CEO Simpleview @rgeorge2024 › Bridget French Director of Marketing and Public Affairs Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau @btfrench SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISM SYMPOSIUM