Vancouver insights from the Olympic winter games


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Walt Judas' presentation at the conference "Eventbaseret innovation" April 15th, 2010

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  • Charles & Aarhus; Best Cities partnership with Copenhagen Question – Have I recovered from the games? Best Olympic moment – Gold medal hockey game Today – outline benefits & opportunities from hosting games Original bid for Whistler began 50 years ago TVAN launched bid for 2010 games in 1997 Invested $1 million in domestic bid Likely the most complex event the city has hosted I’d like to share some of our experiences, and those of our partners
  • Private destination marketing organization – 107 years old 60 full-time employees, 1,000+ members 15 board members representing hotels, attractions, restaurants, retail, transportation $12 million annual budget – 2% hotel tax, membership, partnerships Mandate – “Create a set of conditions that generates demand for our destination; right products, right services, right people, right marketing, right policies, right structure, right members Ultimate goal is to build tourism business for the destination DMO’s role is to be the official source of information on the destination & act in the best interest of our stakeholders – members, city of Van
  • To leverage the Olympic brand and the attention the games bring to establish Vancouver as a must-experience destination for conferences and leisure travel, 365 days a year City is relatively busy from May to September – bulk of 9 million overnight visitors annually
  • Awareness of the Vancouver brand internationally to create destination appeal (people know of us, they don’t know much about us) Drives innovation in the areas of sales, marketing & partnerships (do things we’ve never done before…examples of which I’ll share a bit later) Influences changes to policies, infrastructure, amenities (eg: accessibility, new cc, hotels, highway, venues)
  • At one time, tourism marketers thought that parading a beaver (a Canadian icon) through the streets of Manhattan would draw attention to Canada. No question it did. But was that the image we wanted? US is strongest international market – predominantly visitors from West Coast Americans know of us but not a lot about us
  • In 1986, Vancouver hosted a world’s fair called Expo 86, coinciding with city’s 100 th birthday Fair lasted 6 months and drew millions of international and local visitors, and attracted participants from dozens of countries. Expo is still credited with putting Vancouver on the travel map. The city was relatively unknown prior to Expo. The fair spawned massive changes to the downtown core and created the infrastructure needed in the city and province to build a healthy and viable tourism industry. We now have 14,000 hotel rooms in the downtown core, 2 stadiums, amazing restaurants and attractions Tens of thousands of people have moved into downtown as opposed to leaving for the suburbs Metro Van is home to over 2 million people
  • More compact and broadcast oriented - Fully digital Games Estimated 3+ billion viewers 13,000 accredited media Estimated 300,000 visitors from 80+ countries More than 32 million: Canadians who watched some Olympics coverage on one of the CTV consortium's TV channels (96.7 per cent of the population, according to the consortium) 174 million: Americans who watched the Olympics on NBC…more than half the population 3.3 million: Hours of video viewed on and 2.1 million: Hours of video viewed on
  • Expect a 4% increase in overnight visitors compared with last year Expect record years for city-wide conventions in 2010 & 2011 Higher potential for business from sponsors, sports federations and others who experienced Vancouver during the games and recognize the city’s amenities and capabilities
  • Pillars of TVAN’s Olympic Plan sales component included familiarization trips for several key clients including meeting planners, and CEO’s or presidents of major tour operators. Several dozen clients experienced what it’s like in the city when hosting a major event….everything from transportation, to cuisine, to accommodation to the event itself. Membership – education of members on all things Olympic (MemberNet); business generation for members (games client property program)
  • Use the Olympics as leverage to promote Vancouver internationally - marketing campaigns, use of host-city mark, social media Help spectators find rooms (most reserved for Games family) Manage a robust volunteer program to provide local and Olympic info & services including tickets to events Provide story ideas and information to Olympic media and travel writers
  • To work together to coordinate tourism strategies and resources at the host cities, host province and host country level – MOU with organizing committee, as well as non-commercial partner licensing agreement Act as tourism window for VANOC, the IOC/NOCs, broadcasters, sponsors Pool resources = budget goes further Bigger impact with media Innovative – first time partnership like this re: Olympics
  • 60 media experts during games from TVAN in main press centre,, unaccredited centre Much of the work done in advance building relationships, hosting media, visiting rights holders, sending messages via Twitter, e-newsletters, etc. Presence in Torino, Beijing Coverage on more than 300 TV stations and 100 websites worldwide 47% more global T.V. coverage than for Torino - approximately 24,000 hours of coverage; 50,000 total broadcast hours across all media platforms around the world
  • Site specifically for Olympic media – not been done before. Set up 3 years in advance Story ideas from multiple destinations - destination facts access to b-roll, images Contact info news releases Automatic updates sent via email RSS capabilities (really simple syndication)
  • First for media….online access to this extent for images, footage Over 850 clips of HD footage coded by subject, location, content, style (eg: aerial), etc. broken into clips between 10 & 20 seconds on average - available in multiple formats – for media to convert to their own formats extensively used prior to the games and a key tool going forward for media, meeting planners and travel trade clients
  • 8 satellite centres. 280 volunteers, 100+ staff. Distributed 320,000 maps Created & distributed 15,000 pavilion maps Olympic ticket sales Visitors downloaded 15,000 street maps Most asked question….”Where is the free stuff?
  • Website linked from VANOC’s site - Used primarily for accommodation listings & destination info includes Whistler venue locations - viewed approximately 40,000 times
  • CitySmart Mobile Application - Partnership with Satsports – UK based company; ready-made application that they used for ski resorts in Europe - Users who downloaded the app received access to destination information….everything from listings of restaurants and attractions to approximately 1,000 points of Interest including Olympic venues and Visitor Info Kiosks, celebration sites - included Olympic/Paralympic games schedule – could not pull direct info from VANOC site due to sponsorship conflicts - included "Visa Perks" discount coupons - City Hosts all carried a phone with the app installed to provide information and directions. They could even make restaurant reservations on the spot Biggest advantage - ability to push out messages. We sent out messages regarding cancellation of Olympic events, but we didn't use this feature very much. over 60,000 downloads – TVAN brand on 60,000 phones compatible with Iphone, blackberry, windows mobile, Android 33% of downloads were windows mobile
  • .New 2010 section on (+ French) .Accessibility listings - Accessibility ratings added to business listings, including ability to search for accessible businesses . Olympic video page created . MemberNet – updates on competition, events, venues, transportation & cultural Olympiad provided to members daily
  • Inside Vancouver blog - 58,000 visits to blog during the games - 7 writers - 80 articles written - hundreds of photos & comments posted - numerous videos - several contest giveaways, including red mittens, event tickets, CDs and books for simply asking people to send us their experiences
  • Facebook (, 7,000 fans) - You want to be where your customers are; therefore our Facebook page is an important resource hundreds of comments posted about the games on our wall In fact, fans often answered the questions posted on our wall, as opposed to us resopnding - "Share your Olympic Moments" photo gallery set up for fans to share their photos used to promote content (blogs, news releases) on our other websites
  • Flickr - Used mainly to gather new, fresh images that are used on website and for various collaterals approximately 1,200 photos submitted (more added every day) flickr ends up becoming a quick and easy way to source specific images we use Facebook, Twitter, TVAN blog to promote contests to attract photographers for specific entries - motivation for people is that they like to be published site is not used much for inter-action or discussion the photos submitted tend to be different than pro photographs, as well as a bit more creative
  • Twitter (over 4,000 followers) Used extensively daily, driving traffic to our website and blog Also used by media team to pitch stories Used to share photos of street scenes Used extensively to monitor info on our company, brand…everything from influential blogs to news feeds to travel articles During the games, Twitter was the third largest driver of traffic to our blog (#1 was, #2 was the City of Vancouver website, 4 th largest was Facebook)   Judas reference to conditions at Cypress Mountain
  • New convention centre, Vancouver is poised to grow its convention business Several major conventions coming to city including MPI, Routes Goal – 10% higher attendance for Vancouver convention Backstage at the Games 17 – editions - CEO's daily video blog was picked up by MPI, PCMA, DMAI Began as an amateur You Tube style home video; Quickly morphed into a production crew of 4-5 people Results = 7,000 clients viewed ‘Backstage at the Games’
  • TBC partnership in major US markets; major Canadian cities. Includes banner/display advertising, dedicated e-mail blasts, and sponsored website links on multiple travel, news and leisure sites, with a similar message, look and feel to the You Gotta Be Here TV campaign, but with a Vancouver-specific set of images, message and call to action. A VIP Prize Package is the incentive for consumers to sign-up. Impressions served; Email opens and clicks; Display advertising click-thru’s and CT rate; Unique page views to the landing page; Contest entries and database opt-ins; Vancouver mentions and dedicated media stories; Media FAM leads CTC partnership that includes Vancouver commercial with 20 seconds of general Canada destination messaging and imagery; and 40 seconds of Vancouver-specific messaging and imagery including mention of a special offer or offers, and a call-to-action (to ). Results - Broadcast impressions; click thrus on Vancouver messaging/offers on Locals Know landing site; Visitation to Tourism Vancouver site tracked from Locals Know; Offer consumption tracking; General domestic market (sales) lift on
  • CTC, in partnership with VANOC, created an innovative program called Virtual Stadium Designed to give Canada a strong social media presence & build the brand Ultimately, the CTC wanted to collect leads for its database in order to turn the interest for the Games into trips to Canada. Strategy appealed to people who wanted to be part of the Olympic community & culture, not merely watch it on TV. Premise was that the host-country would create an online community to celebrate the games – never been done before During the opening ceremonies, consumers were invited to participate by signing up to receive a digital souvenir (photo) by email, then respond by visiting a website and submitting a photo of themselves to become part of a virtual stadium ( Those photos were to appear as a photo montage during the pre-show of the closing ceremonies CTC relied on non-paid media – journalists, social media, databases to build credibility & momentum Also looked to broadcast rights-holders to generate attention – T.V., websites
  • Did not achieve exposure through mass-media only through social media, emails 35,000 people participated in program, far fewer than expected 20% of site’s visitors participated in virtual stadium Database entries good; click-thru rates to CTC website were strong Fanswanted wanted Facebook page had 7,000 friends by week 4; interested in new stories and info about Canada; Olympic themed but with a travel angle Daily war room session that ran 7-days a week was used to share information amongst the team, and surface opportunities to drive saleable experiences. Emarketing became the tool to capitalize quickly and cost-effectively on stories and events, turning them into tourism related messages. During the course of the games, 19 Search Engine Marketing campaigns were initiated, often within an hour of an opportunity being identified. Other campaigns spotted tourism experiences that were building in the media, and amplified them: SEM and social media campaigns on Aboriginal tourism, Dining/Culinary, and Eco tourism/Polar Bears each resulted in over 2 million impressions, with CTR that were averaging triple the industry standard. What’s more is that the consumer was looking for more than just general information on Vancouver or Canada- they were actually going down the path to purchase: Package pages became the 2 nd most viewed pages on the consumer site (after the home page).
  • Content on main website and 8 market websites includes 3,000 pages of information, 6,700 tourism business listings, 1,500 consumer blogs, 150 Field Reporter videos and 43 Torch Relay videos. Created field reports and daily Torch Relay video reports (100,000 viewers across BC to capture the excitement of the Games and the experience of international visitors in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia Sent 2.6 million emails to consumers, including Olympic messaging, features on the Torch Relay, Games Visitor e-guide, and How to Have an Olympic experience throughout BC. (since December 2008) Promoted the Games through over a dozen unique contests designed to increase interest in BC Biggest hockey fan (prize – experience 3 hockey games). Twitter-only. Success based on # of re-tweets, # of new followers, click-through’s to contest landing page, click-throughs to “ You Gotta Be Here” TV spots were viewed more than 500,000 times online Enhanced the spectator experience by adding Olympic related venues, locations and transportation locations to the ‘Near-Me-BC’ iPhone application; over 10,000 applications have been downloaded Web traffic in February 2010 recorded 1.8 million visits (vs. 237,000 in the same timeframe in 2009, an increase of 623%). Google provided highest # of referrals; VANOC’s website referred 40% of visitors to TBC had 10 people in war-room monitoring news websites, twitter, facebook, etc. and developed a daily report on coverage, stats. They strategized daily on content and messaging, and addressed issues
  • Tourism Whistler spent $90,000 on kiosks throughout the village to allow visitors to send video postcards home. The kiosks were designed to do 3 things: Enhance a visitor’s experience (free) & encourage repeat visitation. Build the Whistler database (contest entry & opt-in, message to be used by TW in marketing) Promote Whistler through social media (Facebook, Twitter) Used resort TV and banner ads; digital signage in village to encourage people to use it Results = 4,000 video or photo postcards sent; 800+ visits to from postcard landing page; 69 videos recorded for Tourism Whistler’s use (& told story of the games); 467 contest entries; 3100 opt-in database entries
  • City of Richmond – home of airport, speedskating Oval. Huge investment in Games Wanted to instill pride in local residents and draw attention to Richmond as a destination Launched photo contest (Picture It) asking residents to take a photo of their favorite place or activity based on eight categories. Almost 700 photos were submitted, 9 of which were chosen for second part of contest. 9 winners of Panasonic digital SLR cameras Photos were turned into postcards – both electronic and print. Photos were used to create postcards for the Share Richmond 2010 contest and campaign Richmond residents were then asked to send postcards to people all over the world to invite them to the Olympics, and potentially win you a once in a lifetime Olympic experience? Marketing efforts were primarily focused within the community of Richmond with local advertising in English and Chinese newspapers and by activating 2010 Street Teams in three of the major shopping centres – two of which cater primarily to the Asian community Traditional advertising, plus online banner ads displayed in Canada, and Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook and community blog were used to engage VFR in Canada, US and Internationally. Videos of “Richmond Personalities” on You Tube; Social Media Efforts - Daily postings on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Find A Friend Message board Campaign Results: 4,000 invites & entries online; Invited guests from 22 countries
  • Electronic postcards to invite friends and family to Vancouver for the Olympics and other events Video component with message from the mayor Prize incentive to get residents to participate
  • Canada Line Convention Centre expansion Host City designation Sport Tourism Games Client Property Program Volunteer experience Accessibility
  • Recognized as world’s most accessible city Increase in brand/city recognition Incremental, post-Games hotel revenue using Tourism Vancouver channels # of city-wide conventions # of overnight visitors Marketing leverage International media coverage
  • Video summation of games by journalist
  • We were at the Olympics for 5 days and thoroughly enjoyed everything. everyone we had contact with was amazingly helpful, friendly, courteous. Now that I say it, they were all very Canadian. I could go on at great length and describe too many wonderful people and experiences, but let’s just say that Vancouver did a great job presenting a very complex event. This was our first time in Vancouver, but will not be our last. Thank you for the experience of a lifetime.” “Vancouver is a city unlike any other. Wherever I look, I see water or mountains – or both. And everyone looks so healthy” – The Daily Telegraph “Vancouver looked gorgeous on TV. NBC’s shots of Vancouver’s downtown and waterfront, and aerial views of Whistler ski areas, provided a media boost no marketing campaign could have delivered” – The Seattle Times “You may have heard that Vancouver is a great city, but it’s better than that. On a good weather day, it is stunningly beautiful, and it is an excellent eating, drinking and shopping city.” – The Boston Globe
  • "I’m hearing nothing but great things about how you helped our efforts yesterday.  You are a great representative of how tourism experts should make their regions show well in the media.  It sounds like these two shows are going to look excellent, for Vancouver, and KING 5’s Evening Magazine.  Thank you Amber!"
  • “ You may have heard that Vancouver is a great city, but it’s better than that. On a good weather day – and we had a spectacular five-day run in the middle of the Games – it is stunningly beautiful, and it is an excellent eating, drinking and shopping city .” – The Boston Globe “ There comes a time to tip your toque, and our good friends in Canada deserve our respect for hosting, and excelling in, a memorable Winter Olympics.” – “ Before the closing ceremony begins, let me just take the time to thank the people of Vancouver for a wonderful 19 days. The people here couldn’t be nicer, from the volunteers who make sure the buses run on time, to the citizens walking the streets, to the athletes and people from around the world who were here.” – The LA Times
  • Vancouver insights from the Olympic winter games

    1. 1. Vancouver 2010 The World Arrived
    2. 2. About Us
    3. 3. 2010 Vision
    4. 4. 2010 Benefits
    5. 5. Canadian Innovation
    6. 6. British Columbia Innovation
    7. 7. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games
    8. 8. Olympic Business Build-up Politics Win The Bid Construction Commences Budget Realities Summer Olympic Games Olympic Sponsor Programs Construction Completed Community Recognition Olympic Games Post-Game Benefits The Games Cycle
    9. 9. Media Visitor Services Marketing Sales Membership
    10. 10. 2010 Primary Strategies
    11. 11. Joint Tourism Olympic Strategy
    12. 12. Travel Media Relations
    13. 13.
    14. 14. Digital Asset Management System
    15. 15. Visitor Services
    16. 16.
    17. 17. CitySmart
    18. 18.
    19. 19. Inside Vancouver Blog
    20. 20. Facebook
    21. 21. Flickr
    22. 22. Twitter
    23. 23. CEO’s Behind the Scenes
    24. 24. Post-games Consumer Marketing
    25. 25. CTC Virtual Stadium
    26. 26. New frontiers: “The Virtual Stadium”
    27. 27. You Gotta Be Here
    28. 28. Whistler
    29. 29. Tourism Richmond
    30. 30. Invite the World
    31. 31. Olympic Legacies
    32. 32. Key Performance Indicators
    33. 35. A Gold Medal Performance
    34. 36. Accolades
    35. 37. Accolades