All travelers fall into one of three segments: Mainstreamers (those who are very uncomfortable with risk and only travel to very familiar locations), Seekers (those comfortable with some level of risk who visit interesting, unexpected travel locations), and Adventurers (those who want a high level of risk and only travel to the most obscure locations). We zeroed in on the Seekers, those travelers who love an off-the-grid experience and trade in social media currency. Those who want to capture and share their unique finds, favoring the intangible over the tangible. By our count, the Seeker market represents 26% of all travelers, or roughly 324.8 million people. (It’s worth noting that this effort took place in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which put New Orleans rather high on the off-the-grid locale list.)
Our plan became the first-ever digital marketing campaign from the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau designed to reach the end user, representing a huge shift away from marketing strictly to trade customers and hospitality industry decision makers. Media consisted of national trade and consumer print, national advertising and international public relations efforts, non-traditional executions including airline tray table placements, out-of-home in major US markets and a comprehensive interactive outreach plan to direct visitors to the campaign website (24nola.com).
By embracing its imperfections, New Orleans could prove irresistible to the Seeker audience. The creative executions were designed to show that the city’s remarkable culture and spirit were not only alive, but flourishing. They needed to be disarmingly authentic, rooted in history with an eye on the future. Advertising headlines such as "Dry? We were never dry." and “Soul is waterproof.” addressed some of post-Katrina perceptions of the city head-on, giving a little swagger back to the people of New Orleans along the way.
Leading indicators were website visits and group sales inquiries. For lagging indicators, we kept track of travel agent bookings, group sales bookings and overall tourism industry estimates.
Peak Website Visits Per Month
YOY Sales Inquiry Increase