City visitor centers, CVBs, and other tourism organizations the world over got a front-row seat to the social carnage that the coronavirus pandemic inflicted over the past 12-plus months, as cities dealt with the unconventional reality of most visitor traffic — business, recreational, and everything in between — drying up seemingly overnight.
One study found that 42% of CVBs saw budgets cut in half or erased entirely and are having issues in tourism marketing. Because many city visitor centers are organized as nonprofits, federal relief can be impossible to acquire. Worse, they rely almost exclusively on hotel room taxes for funding, and we all understand the struggles that the hospitality industry has been going through. There's simply no money source to help stabilize the shaky footing that CVBs find themselves on.
With so few out-of-town travelers to count on, many CVBs are turning their focuses to local residents and regional audiences as they try to generate spending. This requires leveraging emerging, innovative marketing strategies in the tourism industry such as targeted display ads as well as a disruptive tactic known as "homepage takeovers."
Internet Marketing for Tourism Businesses
Because tourism businesses are tasked with generating as much recreational travel as they possibly can while business travel is still low, they need to get clever when it comes to marketing for hospitality and tourism audiences outside their typical purview. Who's primed for a day trip to your community? Who typically embraces staycations and exploring local oddities? This is where targeted display advertising makes a big difference.
There are three main components of any successful targeted display campaign: knowing your audience, creating compelling content, and using available data to place the ads strategically. These advertisements are based on a user's online search patterns and take the form of pertinent banner advertisements that live on both mobile and desktop websites. Best of all, you can get hyper-specific when it comes to the intended target. Geographically, businesses can speak to consumers within a specified zip code or narrow their messaging to, say, college-educated women between the ages of 45-64.
The goal of this CVB marketing strategy is to be seen and heard by your desired customers, so sometimes a more aggressive approach is necessary. Have you ever typed in your favorite web address only to have a full-page ad cloak the entire site for a handful of seconds? These are homepage takeovers (or HPTO for short), and they essentially act as co-branding opportunities with websites that your target audience enjoys. If you're looking to garner a large number of impressions in your internet marketing for tourism, HPTO may be the way to go.
A Study of Successful Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism Companies
The CVB in Coeur d'Alene, a picturesque lake town in beautiful northern Idaho, linked up with CMG Local Solutions in an effort to drive as much traffic to the township's website as possible and increase attendance within the limited travel window due to COVID-19 closures. The bureau only had two summer months to run an abbreviated, aggressive campaign that utilized targeted display and local over-the-top (OTT) advertising.
We were able to serve more than 9 million impressions and drove more than 22,000 clicks to the town's CVB website. Display was the top driver of clicks in this campaign. Even in a tumultuous year where travel and tourism were way down, CMG Local Solutions was able to generate similar engagement to 2019 levels for this client:
- Network display CTR improved to 0.43%, which is nearly 9x the benchmark of 0.05%.
- OTT performance was comparable to 2019, with a completion rate of 96.86%.
- Network pre-roll came in with a completion rate of 66% while also compiling a solid CTR of 0.15%.
- In Google Analytics, our tactics ranked 4th, 5th, 6th, 14th, 15th and 18th at driving users to Coeur d'Alene's CVB website.
Additionally, our homepage takeovers have provided extreme value for the Coeur d'Alene CVB. These HPTOs usually serve around 100,000 impressions, but the eight we created with the bureau in 2020 averaged 425,000 impressions! Talk about results!
Refresh Your CVB Marketing Strategy
When you're ready to inject some life into your CVB marketing efforts, CMG Local Solutions is just a quick click or call away. We specialize in digital campaigns that generate measurable results, from the best multitouch attribution strategy in the industry and a dynamic ROI dashboard to award-winning creative and best-in-class customer service.
Connect with CMG Local Solutions today and get in front of those prospective customers before another city down the road gets there first.