From April 28-May 1, Distribion will be participating in the Simpleview Summit, a gathering of many tourism marketing professionals. In preparation for the summit, today’s blog topic is related to tourism marketing.
There are few places where tourism is more important than New Mexico. 32 Million people visit the state annually, which sustains 85,766 local jobs. The Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau recently announced a marketing effort to attract more visitors to New Mexico, but in particular Albuquerque, the state’s largest city. Between now & September, the ACVB will spend approximately $500,000 targeting leisure travelers from Texas, Arizona, Colorado, California and the Pacific Northwest. It is expected that there will be a combination of traditional and digital messaging efforts.
Although Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city, it’s not necessarily considered New Mexico’s hub of tourism. Just an hour north of Albuquerque is Santa Fe, a city known for arts & culture. Santa Fe has numerous well perceived art galleries and museums, as well as the well known Santa Fe Opera and the historic Santa Fe Plaza. Santa Fe is 2,000 feet higher than Albuquerque, reaching an elevation of 7,000 feet, allowing for even cooler summer temperatures. In the winter time, Taos (2 hours north of Albuquerque) offers the most challenging ski area in the state. However, because Santa Fe and Taos are less populated, out of state travelers coming to New Mexico by air arrive at the Albuquerque International Sunport. A challenge for Albuquerque is being known as more than just the transport hub.
From a tourism standpoint, Albuquerque is most known for Balloon Fiesta, an annual hot air balloon festival held in October. A 2007 New York Times article noted the the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is the world’s largest festival of hot air balloons. During Balloon Fiesta, hot air balloons can be seen all over the city. That event brings in a lot of visitors and has a significant economic impact. Without Balloon Fiesta, early October might be a quiet time for hotels and other tourist related businesses.
Generally speaking, the ACVB practices multichannel marketing. The ACVB has a well branded corporate website of itsatrip.org. Itsatrip is a unique, distinguishable domain name, providing a fun association with the brand. The ACVB’s YouTube channel has a good number of videos, many with long lasting appeal. The videos include Petroglyph National Monument, Old Town shopping, museums and art, cuisine etc. I feel that the videos provide good reason to spend more time in Albuquerque on a New Mexico trip, addressing a concern in a previous paragraph. The Facebook feed has over 85,000 Likes, and nearly 4,000 People Talking About This (PTAT). That is a PTAT percentage of 4.5%, well above the industry standard of 1.4% for major brands. This is showing quality brand engagement.
One of the most famous sayings in digital marketing is ‘Content is King’. The content of this ad campaign has yet to be posted to the various social media sites, but the ACVB has already built campaign awareness through media articles. The campaign is going to make strong use of film themes and terminology, which makes sense as the Albuquerque area has recently been a filming location for feature films and television, such as Breaking Bad.
Amongst the areas that the ACVB is targeting, I strongly feel that Albuquerque could appeal to Texans as a summer tourist destination. The major Texas cities like Dallas & Houston are known to get quite hot in summer time. Albuquerque’s higher elevation could be a nice respite from the heat, providing a more enchanting summertime experience. As a standalone destination or in combination with other Northern New Mexico destinations, there are outdoor activities, arts, culture, unique topography, etc. It is also within driving distance or a short flight from Texas. There’s a strong value proposition from the point of view of Texas residents. There are some good economic indicators from Texas, showing that there is a good target market with disposable income to spend. A strong value proposition and disposable income in the target market are usually key parts of a good marketing effort.
We’ll be watching to see how this campaign unfolds. We look forward to a wonderful time at the Simpleview Summit.