Claiming to be “Forever Summer,” sunny Orange County, Calif. is targeting San Francisco with a first-ever integrated marketing campaign that connects Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) with local partners Visit Anaheim, Visit Huntington Beach, Visit Newport Beach, Destination Irvine, Visit Laguna Beach, Travel Costa Mesa and South Coast Plaza, and Visit Dana Point (a new addition to the DMO world.)
We’re chuffed to be there for an upcoming “guerilla marketing stunt” (details were not disclosed…we tried!) covered by teams of videographers in San Francisco’s Union Square on Dec. 6, 2016. But as digital tourism nerds, we’re even more excited to find out how eight contiguous destinations put politics aside to pool resources to the tune of $310,000 for the five-week push as OMGOC.
The Travel Vertical talked to Kelly Miller, OCVA Chair and President & CEO at Surf City USA – Visit Huntington Beach and Doug McClain, Sr. VP & Chief Marketing Officer at Visit Newport Beach to find out more about this latest effort plus the two decades of cooperation as “one of the nation’s most looked at regional partnerships.” With joint marketing and public relations representation in Mexico, China, Japan, India, and the Middle East, the coalition has had extensive interest from other DMOs wanting to get the recipe.
Pegging 2015 Orange County visitor numbers at 47 million — “more than San Francisco, Los Angeles or Las Vegas” — Miller and McClain claim the partners have learned how to “play well together in the sandbox.” Furthermore, they point out, “We each know who we are, we each know our brand, we each know our customers.”
Why SF? Why Now?
The consortium studied length of stay, spend, and lift, as well as the drive market. Turns out that Northern California is the low hanging fruit for Southern California destinations. Sometimes foggy San Francisco plus Northern California accounts for nearly 10 percent of Orange County’s visitation. November and December represent valley dates for all the OMGOC partners. Since Anaheim, for example, has no need to promote January, the campaign won’t do so.
How Does it Work?
The DMO partnership built a program offering different levels of digital exposure and benefits scaled to each partner’s financial contribution ranging from $75k to $25k to $5k. The highest level includes the activation event as well as digital audio promotion with Pandora. Mid-level includes re-targeting opportunities and the lower level offers native content on third-party sites. Interactive digital banner units carry OMGOC and destination branding, as seen here:
OMGOC will be measuring what they call “the big three”:
- increased visitation
- media impressions
- brand awareness
using all analytic tools: social media, Google analytics, PR trackers. They’ll be working with Adara to determine which are the most effective creative approaches for guest arrivals and to build a track to see booking windows. With H2R Market Research they’ll also be fielding an advertising effectiveness study with a sample audience to track incremental travel.
According to Miller and McClain, “The goal is to stay in this market year after year to even better manage the digital campaign.” They add, “It’s not about the next quarter, it’s about the next quarter century.”
*** Check out three 30-sec. OMGOC video (watch OMG light up in orange, followed by GO, followed by OC). Running now through Dec. 10, 2016, the forward-thinking campaign is created by San Diego-based Greenhaus, a marketing and advertising agency.