Destinations Council Destiny Awards > Niche Targeting
Destinations Council Destiny Awards > Niche Targeting
Visit Buffalo Niagara and Destination Niagara USA
About This Entry:
Buffalo is a mere stone’s throw from 8 million prospective Canadian visitors who live just across the Niagara River in Southern Ontario. When the exchange rate favors Canadian visitors, they come down in droves to shop for lower priced goods, cheaper flights from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and less expensive professional sports tickets, according to research compiled by Longwoods International. However, more often than not, these visitors treat their visit as if they were running an errand - simply staying within the area for mere hours.
Our relationship with digital marketing firm eBrains uncovered that the most viable option for altering this “in and out” state of mind while extending the length of a stay and increasing expenditures was to focus on “Girlfriend Getaways.” The 2015 Girlfriend Getaway campaign utilized a multi-faceted approach to promote shopping, theater, nightlife, dining, spa and leisure activities aimed at a specific target group - women from the Southern Ontario region of Canada.
Our goal with the 2015 Girlfriend Getaway campaign was to make visiting Buffalo a fun, experiential event opposed to the typical transactional trip so many Canadian travelers embarked on. The campaign targeted women ages 30-55 with disposable income who enjoy spending time with their girlfriends. In addition to shopping, we marketed Buffalo with broad appeal as a destination with relaxing amenities like boutique hotels, spa treatments and upscale dining options.
Striving for these girlfriend groups to experience as much of our destination as possible and to maximize the potential economic impact for the region, the term “getaway” was also employed strategically in that a getaway implies, at the very least, an overnight stay.
Visit Buffalo Niagara’s launch of the Girlfriend Getaway campaign disseminated content and advertising to several different channels for maximum market reach and engagement. Our integrated approach included the following key elements:
A 30-second Girlfriend Getaway commercial was produced for distribution to WNED and WUTV, two local television stations that have reach into Southern Ontario.
VBN partnered with Destination Niagara USA to print 25,000 copies of a 44-page Shopping Guide. The guide emphasized the perks of visiting Buffalo by highlighting the features of certain neighborhoods, malls, hidden gems and ease of access from the Canadian border. Canadian freelance writer Anne Bokma also contributed an itinerary that personalized the visitor experiences here.
On our website, content from the guide was broken out onto a dedicated Girlfriend Getaway landing page, curated into itineraries based on a woman’s shoe preference, designed to make exploring the region quick and easy and distributed onto dedicated Shopping in Buffalo social channels on Instagram and Facebook - all of which are still maintained. On these pages, video content was also produced to complement the messaging of the Girlfriend Getaway in a fun and engaging manner. (links below)
Digital and banner advertising drove traffic to the dedicated landing page mentioned above.
An e-newsletter is sent out to a majority female Canadian database listing of around 20,000 individuals.
Representatives from Visit Buffalo Niagara and the local community travel to Toronto each year to attend The National Women’s Show in Toronto, to spread our Girlfriend Getaway messaging and distribute Shopping Guides to southern Ontario influencers and prospective travelers.
The effectiveness of the campaign was measured by a conversion study conducted by Texas A&M University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Sciences (TAMU.) The primary purpose of the study was to determine the total visitor conversions and resulting spending that occurred in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, as a result of our campaign.
Tracked incremental performance – travel expenditures made as a result of our marketing activities – was very impressive and beyond our most optimistic projections, according to the Texas A&M study. Our investment yielded 116,000 website visitors, 25.6 million impressions, 1.9 million engagements and more than 20,000 new leads added to our database.
While impressions, CTRs and ad engagements are indicative of awareness and interest in a destination, the rubber really hits the road when a prospect becomes a visitor. And that’s where the new from Texas A&M gets really exciting. According to TAMU, over 46,000 visitor parties consumed more than 82,000 paid room nights in response to our efforts resulting in $66.9 million in incremental visitor spending. For every $1 we invested in the girlfriend getaway campaign, we received $133 in incremental visitor spending. It was truly a successful campaign for Visit Buffalo Niagara.
Why This Is A Finalist:
Visit Buffalo Niagara had a well-executed plan and identified a niche market in the Buffalo/Niagara area. From the start, they had a targeted, specific audience identified by research. The dedicated landing page with curated itineraries, that appealed to its target audience, to the final result that didn't measure just soft metrics, but rather hard-earned tourism dollars, stood out from the other niche entries.
The guide (printed and online) did an excellent job highlighting partners as benefits, not paid partners. Though other destinations have done “girlfriend getaways” promotions in the past, we feel this one was executed very well, and was innovative where it needed to be. The insights and results speak very well for the campaign. Results not only achieved, but exceeded nicely. This “Girlfriend Getaway” stood a full Jimmy Choo shoe size above the rest.
- Category Winner