VisitDallas was known as the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau until 1994. NYC & Company was born out of a 1999 rebranding of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, founded in 1935. In 1943, the Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau was created to serve as Chicago’s primary sales agent for conventions and trade shows, until it merged with the Tourism Council of Greater Chicago in 1970 to form the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau. In 2012, Choose Chicago became the latest iteration.
You get the idea.
What will post-pandemic destination marketing, management, messaging and branding look like?
Not Just Cows and Cheese » Travel Wisconsin
Calling 2021 the year of the “great American road trip,” Wisconsin is rolling out a tourism strategy to highlight unexpected images and experiences. Wisconsin Department of Tourism unveiled its brand for 2021, “where the unexpected is ready to be discovered,” at the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism April 1. Also revealed is that the 2021 marketing campaign will target a record-high 12 markets, twice as many as the department’s most successful year of 2019.
In a podcast interview, Acting Secretary Anne Sayers talked about the new campaign. “The focus on outdoors will be key…We’re able to spend more and deeper reach…exactly the position we wanted to be in. We knew this moment was coming and the strategy is strong. We are ready.” She indicates they look at the target market ROI for party size, overnights, spending, age groups, and propensity to travel, and found that the current lay of the land is in slightly different than pre-Covid. Traditional markets like Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul are still important, plus Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay, but they’re also adding three markets in Iowa; two in Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Wausau, Wisconsin.
No matter where you are, go to the website to play a game, testing yourself on how well you know Wisconsin.
Fun-Sized » Rhode Island, Not Rhode Iceland
The embarrassment in tiny Rhode Island was very, very big when they launched the lukewarm “Cooler & Warmer,” tourism campaign that was universally ridiculed. Still worse, the promotional video used stock footage from Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, prompting the nickname “Rhode Iceland.” Heads rolled.
Two years later, Rhode Island quietly teased out “Fun-Sized,” in a 6-second video series shot with one camera on the ground, plus another on a drone and stitched together in a zooming effect. The ads are based on a slogan suggested by a local, Bob Holfelder, a Cumberland resident. He suggested even more ideas, “…a beer-related tourism promotion could be tagged “pint-sized.” One centered on food, “bite-sized.” One focused on Block Island, “island-sized.”
He nailed it. The videos were all shot in Rhode Island by a Providence, RI agency, NAIL Communications.
Visit Rhode Island paid NAIL $250,000 to produce 18 videos and spent $400,000 to run them on travel-related websites, including booking services, in short-haul target markets. The state worked with ADARA on tracking and reported $1.9 million in hotel revenue by generating 6,076 hotel bookings and 4,234 flights to Rhode Island.
Lara Salamano, chief marketing officer for Rhode Island Commerce Corp., said, “Fun-sized means that you can do everything you want that’s really fun on a vacation in a short period of time. In the morning, you can be on Narragansett Bay sailing, and in the afternoon you can be at a James Beard-nominated restaurant.”
Nearly three years and one pandemic later, there are now 34 “Fun-Sized” videos on Visit Rhode Island.com.
Kicked off this week, “All Inclusive Boston” is a brand new aspirational multi-media messaging and a branding campaign focused on “an equitable recovery by attracting a broad diversity of visitors,” said Mayor Kim Janey (left). Speakers acknowledged big changes in Boston’s leadership, “a passing of the baton from a white Irish mayor to a Black woman…the first in the history of 200 years in this city.”
Martha Sheridan, (center), president & CEO, noted that the campaign was based on research and completed in six months, all virtually. She added, “Hotel room revenue is down 80% year-on-year and we have a long way to go…we have to strategically work our way out of this. We had our work cut out for us but we knew with this team we were going to take that research and make into some great.”
We’ve Missed Y’all » Explore Charleston
“Here in Charleston, hospitality is a way of life. It’s our culture, our heritage. It’s who we are…Well, we’ve missed y’all…Heck, we’ve even taken time to polish the silver for y’all.”
At a local job fair, Explore Charleston teams up with Lowcountry Hospitality Association in a $500 on-boarding incentive. Forty hotels and restaurants are hoping to attract qualified new workers during the event at the North Charleston Convention Center on April 7. “Bring several copies of your resume as there will be employers with many openings. This is an opportunity to learn about the jobs and careers the hospitality industry has to offer and to come together to serve this incredible city we love.”
100 Years Later » Brand Refresh in Springfield, Ohio
The pandemic has taught us the importance of partnership: strengthening local and regional relationships, resident sentiment, community, and small businesses.
How might that impact the longstanding local “chamber of commerce” model and brand?
In Ohio, the Chamber of Greater Springfield, some 800 companies that represent 15,000 employees, recently rebranded as the Greater Springfield Partnership to embrace three entities including the Community Improvement Corporation and the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. The chamber was founded in 1919.