We’re Hiring!

@boutourism is an international, boutique destination development & marketing consultancy offering specific solutions & implementation support in every stage of the destination’s development, management and marketing process. Our elite team of destination experts and tourism professionals combines extensive experience as practitioners, managing operations, with many years of consultancy experience working for DMOs and related organisations around the world.

By recently becoming a business unit of the ATCOM group, @bout tourism can also provide integrated marketing solutions, ranging from Marketing strategy and planning to Web Design and development and a full suite of Digital Marketing services, for Destinations, Tourism Associations, OTAs and Travel/Hospitality Organizations around the world.

We are now looking for an Integrated Marketing Manager to play a key role in the expansion of the company  in new markets and new services. The Integrated marketing manager should have experience in destination & travel marketing, be acquainted with digital marketing and social media and have a passion to grow at an international level.

 Desired Skills and Experience

Corporate Development

  • Assist in strategic planning, implementation and delivery of the corporate marketing plan that complements the overall corporate strategic direction and brand.
  • Build new and maintain corporate relationships with key international and national industry players.
  • Liaise and network with a range of stakeholders including clients, colleagues, associates and partner organizations;
  • Locate/propose potential business deals by contacting potential partners;
  • Handle corporate communication with company associates, partners and clients, according to needs.
  • Monitor competitor activity.

Campaign Management

  • Manage the development and implementation of integrated marketing programs for the @boutourism clients.
  • Develop e-tourism platforms, including websites, and constructing business databases by liaising with Web Designers,  developers and UX experts
  • Work with all travel/tourism-related clients to explore and identify ways to integrate offline and online media into business strategies and marketing campaigns.
  • Develop online content for clients’ social and digital platforms, including messaging, posts and other editorial content.
  • Manage the production of online/offline marketing materials
  • Manage marketing budgets & evaluate marketing campaigns;

Events & Workshops

  • Run training courses to encourage networking and economic growth in the tourism industry.
  • Set up and attend tourism fairs and travel trade workshops.
  • Organize and attend events such as conferences, seminars, receptions and exhibitions;

Desired skills

  • Bachelor/Masters Degree in Tourism or Marketing
  • 3-5 years in Tourism/Destination Marketing ideally working with Digital media
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Proactive mindset
  • Ability to work with international clients on various projects

Please apply via linked @ http://linkd.in/WHac3q

The Destination Marketing Landscape: The Role of DMOs

2012 has been declared as the year of integrated online & offline marketing while digital technology is nowadays at the epicenter of the tourism experience.

Since the budget of a DMO and its allocation are determined in relation to the benefits which it ultimately brings to the destination and of course to its stakeholders, the fact that the majority of the marketing spent is now being allocated to the online presence and digital applications, shows among others the importance of a targeted digital marketing strategy.

According to “2012 DMO Marketing Activities Study”, a new research conducted by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), destination management organizations (DMOs) are making “significant” investments in digital marketing, although they still spend a majority of their budgets on traditional marketing vehicles.

For the purposes of this benchmark study on DMO marketing practices, primarily in the leisure travel market, DMAI surveyed 240 DMOs from around the U.S and found that print advertising accounts for 33% of the typical DMO’s leisure marketing budget, while TV and radio advertising account for 8% and 5%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Internet marketing accounts for 30%, according to DMAI, which said DMOs have spent more than $39 million on website and mobile app development in the last three years.

According to DMAI, half of responding DMOs market internationally, and those who do invest one-third of their marketing budget outside the United States — mostly in Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, which were identified as the most popular countries where DMOs are marketing.

“In order to reach these and other global consumers, more than ever DMOs are integrating their online activities, especially social media, into their overall marketing efforts,” DMAI reported. “Banner ads and search engine marketing dominate the online spending landscape, and almost all responding DMOs said they were present on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.”

Further illustrating DMOs’ increased spending on Internet marketing is the fact that more than three-quarters use a Content Management System (CMS) and almost half have at least one staff person devoted to website content management.

When it comes to mobile, meanwhile, half of DMOs have or plan to have a destination app by the end of 2012, and almost all have or plan to have a mobile version of their website.

As far as results are concerned, the study found that DMO’s new group room bookings grew 4.8% last year; a total of 35.6 million group room nights occurred as a result of DMO sales and marketing efforts; while, in the 275 markets where DMOs are active in group sales, DMOs represented 19%, or 1-in-5, of all group room demand in 2011.

Meanwhile, at the other side of the Atlantic, the European Cities Marketing (ECM) reports that 56% of DMOs have an annual budget higher than 5 mil., whereas 50% of their marketing budgets is allocated online.

More infowww.destinationmarketing.orgwww.europeancitiesmarketing.com

New Marketing Campaigns for NY, Australia & Ireland

The Reinvention of  “I Love NY” logo with Crowd Sketches

New York just launched a new tourism campaign featuring a reinvention of the iconic “I Love NY” logo.

For the first time ever, the State has asked New Yorkers and visitors to help remake the “I Love NY” logo by submitting personal sketches depicting what they love about New York State (The “I Love NY” logo has not been used in television ads in over three years).

People can replace the heart in the iconic “I [HEART] NY” logo with their own drawing of what they most love about the state and submit it online where they will be displayed in an online gallery. It is the first time in nearly 40 years, since the logo’s inception, that New York State has officially asked the public for their interpretations of the “I Love NY” and for the reasons they love New York.

Select drawings may be used to replace the heart in “I Love NY” in new ads focused on New York’s many different experiences in future campaigns.

The new “I Love NY” ads are part of a $5 million tourism marketing campaign within the larger “New York Open for Business,” a $50 million statewide business initiative. The “I Love NY” ad campaign is expected to expand to feature other tourism seasons in the future.


Tourism Ireland to Londoners: “Escape the Madness”

While this summer’s Olympics promises to be a very exciting time in London, the event will inevitably draw huge crowds which will undoubtedly make commuting – and day-to-day life in general – more hectic for Londoners. Tourism Ireland will seize this opportunity – targeting hassled and weary Londoners – and present Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland as the ideal “escape” destination during this busy time.

Over 8 million people living in London will see Tourism Ireland’s “escape the madness” ad campaign this month, featuring an image of a wonderfully peaceful Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. From next week, ads will run on the London underground, highlighting the open spaces and lack of congestion there; over 200 large ads will appear at different tube stations across the city, targeting frustrated commuters during morning and evening rush hours. Ads will also appear in the Evening Standard, the popular free daily newspaper which is read by millions of commuters each day, again with a message urging people to “escape” to the beautiful landscape and open spaces of Northern Ireland.

Social media will also help create awareness; a campaign on Facebook (Tourism Ireland has almost 120,000 fans across GB) and Twitter (over 2,300 followers) saw Tourism Ireland post status updates on the Olympic Torch Relay around Northern Ireland this week and messages will be posted regularly before and during the games. The hashtag #Escapethemadness will be used to create plenty of lively conversations about the island of Ireland on the social networks in GB.

A specially-created web page on discoverireland.com is also promoting the torch relay, as well as the key sporting events and festivals. A series of itineraries for the thousands of accredited and non-accredited media visiting London from across the globe has been developed while Tourism Ireland is also working closely with key tour operators in all overseas markets.

Source: www.tourismireland.com

There’s nothing like Australia, Phase 2

The latest phase of Tourism Australia’s global marketing campaign, There’s nothing like Australia, has just launched  in China – Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable overseas tourism market.

With a clear digital focusTourism Australia will spend approximately A$180 million over the next three years rolling out the evolving campaign in its key international markets and in Australia. It expects to achieve a total investment of A$250 million by securing up to A$70 million in additional funding from industry partners to support joint marketing activities, aimed at promoting Australia with a clear and consistent voice.

In addition to a new broadcast ad and print executions the campaign boasts a strong digital and social media focus, and will leverage the advocacy of Tourism Australia’s three million Facebook fans. Other elements include a new, interactive tablet app and hub on www.australia.com. Tourism Australia has created an interactive tablet application which is unique in both concept and content. With inspiring multimedia content and intuitive functionality, to take customers further into the stories played out in the ad and provide more information on the locations.

Tourism Australia is seeking the involvement of the Australian industry in the campaign through partnership opportunities and by sharing campaign tools and resources.

The soundtrack for the ad, “It’s Like Love”, is the result of a unique musical collaboration last year between the two musicians who wrote the composition as part of Tourism Australia’s multi-award winning Making Tracks campaign.


Developing a Social Media Strategy for Tourism Destinations

Slovenia Social Media Marketing Strategy  2011-2012

In 2011, TEAM Tourism Consulting prepared the ‘Slovenia Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2012’ for the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB).

STB, responsible for the planning and implementation of promotional activities for Slovenia, is one of the national tourist boards which have not only been successfully following the latest developments in digital tourism but also been proactive in using them to fully engage their customers and their partners. The Board’s established online presence included successful initiatives such as a series of Facebook Campaigns for key markets, which resulted in high awareness, sales turnover and partner satisfaction. Another progressive initiative as far as the social media approach by tourism destinations was concerned was the joint social media platform named DiscoverSlovenia.

Project Overview

In 2011, STB decided to commission the preparation of the strategy order to take its marketing activity to the next level, broadening the range of channels through which the Slovenian tourism product could be accessed and exceed the expectations of today’s online travel consumer, aiming to become a benchmark for European National Tourism Organisations.

In the light of the latest developments in the social media arena, the goal was to

  • raise awareness of Slovenia as a tourism destination online and support the brand,
  • increase the visitation numbers in its social media channels and website and digital communication while,
  • forge a unified, coordinated and practical social media marketing and management model to guide the entire organization through the latest digital developments.

Considering the growing popularity, variety and use of social media channels and given the challenging funding environment most of DMOs are facing, it is necessary to prioritize different areas of digital marketing, including social media channels, and have a well-planned, well executed and results oriented investment plan.

Integration of digital and traditional media is a key goal for a successful destination marketing strategy, says Manolis Psarros, TEAM Associate & Project Leader/ abouTourism Managing Director. “In regards to the Social Media Strategy for STB, great emphasis was placed on brand integration in all planned activities while developing social media workflows and inter-developmental cooperation plans in order to enhance all relevant processes and ensure the effective implementation of the strategy, maximizing social media benefits.”

Digital media and technologies now affect every single stage of the visitor’s journey to a destination, during his stay and even after this.  The purpose, throughout this project was to develop a holistic digital marketing strategy targeting the decision-making process of planning a trip to Slovenia, providing useful visitor info while being in Slovenia and utilizing attractive social media tools for sharing their memorable experience upon their return home.

As far as marketing integration is concerned, results until now have shown that social media activities can only be effective when they are interwoven with existing traditional media marketing efforts as an integral part of their overall marketing strategy.

Project Processes

Based on this perspective, STB’s Social Media Marketing Strategy was developed in two phases.

The first phase consisted of the situation analysis which was performed through consultation workshops with the Board’s relevant departments and partners as well as through extensive research providing:

  • An assessment and analysis of Slovenia’s online presence and digital marketing activities
  • A review and evaluation of the Board’s operational procedures

The second phase, saw the development of the strategy which included the following:

  • Selection of appropriate social media channels where STB should invest based on the available resources and the set goals and objectives
  • Development of an appropriate content management strategy to accompany every channel’s guidelines
  • Specific digital media operational plan with appropriate resources and activities definition in order to ensure practical implementation
  • A partnership development plan focusing on travel-related digital media and tourism stakeholders following an established TEAM model, and
  • Monitoring and tracking guidelines. By monitoring the digital environment relating to Slovenia as a destination and by tracking the performance of STB’s marketing efforts through specific KPI’s, the aim was to validate the feedback/insights for further review and to fine tune the digital marketing strategy.

Tinkara Pavlovcic Kapitanovic, STB’s Head of e-Business and Strategic Projects, commented: “as the NTO we should know and understand what to expect from social media engagement, what are the goals to be achieved and that social media should be seen and handled as a part of the overall online activity of every tourism organization”. Measuring results is critical and is now integral to STB’s work.

In the presentation below we can see how the strategy has been put into effect being used as the basis for coordinated social media marketing efforts and effective implementation of targeted marketing initiatives, relating product developments to identified audience needs.

Digitize That! Innovative Destination Marketing Initiatives

Fresh and creative initiatives harnessing the power of digital media and tools designed to maximize engagement while following an integrated marketing approach.

VisitBritain Digital Torch Relay

Taking advantage of the Torch Relay journey across the UK, VisitBritain has just unveiled its digital and social media plans aiming to maximise the exposure of the relay destinations.

A unique interactive map has been created on visitbritain.com and Love UK which allows potential visitors to ‘Follow the Torch’ as it makes its journey within 10 miles of 95 per cent of Britain.

The ‘Follow the Torch’ map uses new integrated Google Street View technology so that followers across the world can see images and explore torch locations before they decide whether they want to visit.

Destination content will be added each day as the journey progresses.

Images and inspirational content will be posted via VisitBritain’s online network. All of VisitBritain’s digital platforms will be involved, with engaging content posted on Love UK – VisitBritain’s main Facebook page which now has nearly 800,000 fans, and has recently been named one of the biggest brand pages in the UK.

VisitBritain’s Super Bloggers will be joining the Samsung torch relay truck on key dates of the journey, capitalising on the unique access to tweet, blog and create stories that highlight towns and cities across the UK.

There will be live tweets from consumer site @VisitBritain, where VisitBritain’s corporate page will post a tweet a day to celebrate the 70 day marathon with each tweet offering insightful information about the area it will be passing.

VisitBritain will also be producing an app on Love UK which will enable all fans to pass virtual flags around the world. Users will be encouraged to keep passing the digital flag to Facebook friends in an attempt to build up points. The flag with the most passes will win a prize provided by one of VisitBritain’s key strategic partners.

Source: www.visitbritain.com

The 1st Wikipedia Town – Meet ‘Monmouthpedia’

Monmouth in Wales has become the world’s first “Wikipedia town”.

The project is called ‘MonmouthpediA‘ and was created after Wikipedia UK and Monmouthshire County Council teamed with the city’s library, museums and volunteers to work on the project. The entire town has been behind the project; partners include 200 businesses, several universities and nearly every school and community group in the area. The project has been in the works for six months, helped along by the local council’s installation of town-wide free Wi-Fi. Talking about the power of willingness.

Visitors will be able to use smartphones to scan barcodes at points of interest in Monmouth in Wales’ southeast, instantly bringing up a Wikipedia page about the landmark on their phones, in whatever language they are set to. Hundreds of articles about the life and history of the town will be available online in more than 26 languages, from Hindi to Hungarian.

The town has now installed over 1,000 QRpedia codes all over the town. This includes ceramic or metal plaques on public buildings, as well as smaller labels for inside buildings, and for labelling particular objects. And local shops also have glass stickers in their windows to give information on their professions.

As the ‘official’ Wikepedia page states :

“MonmouthpediA aims to cover every single notable place, person, artefact, flora, fauna and other things in Monmouth in as many languages as possible. Monmouthpedia belongs to and can be contributed to by everyone. It involves people from all around the world collaborating to share their knowledge through text, photos video and audio Wikipedia gives our work a global audience. We are the first town in Wales to have free and open wifi available to everyone. We use QRpedia codes around the town to give people easy access to content in their own language.”

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Destination Videos & Apps: Inspire and Engage!

Mobile applications provide an efficient experience merging a huge amount of information and services down into one small mobile device, cancelling any previous reliance on maps, guide books or assistants making travel arrangements. As a recent CNN article notes, all sectors of the  travel and tourism industry are increasingly responding to the customers urge to transfer of most travel arrangements online. And they are not the only ones. In general a study by Forrester Research forecasts that companies will spend up to $17 billion over the next four years creating apps for their products. Revenue from selling these apps could reach $38 billion by 2015

What seems to be becoming clear to a growing segment of the industry and especially to destinations is that it is now more important than ever to be providing complete, spot on and inspiring information before, during and after visits!

Brazil’s New -Trip Planning- YouTube Channel

It’s fresh, it’s organized, it’s interactive, it’s innovative.

Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board, just launched its two brand new tools in New York– an interactive YouTube Brand Channel and Brasil Quest, a new video game app.

The new branded YouTube channel is being used as a trip planning tool, providing customized content based on the time, duration and type of prospective visit. The channel of course offers a wide selection of videos for every Brazilian destination, which were already uploaded in YouTube by users and travellers, while it also features an interactive map integrated in every video.

Being able to create their own itinerary based on the selected dates, duration, company and interests they can then view the available videos on various destinations and make their selection forming their itinerary. They can then save their virtual trip, change it and create new ones. Booking them though is still not a possibility! Maybe that’s the next step.

The second initiative was the launch of a free “Brasil Quest” game app for iPhone, iPad and Android, which launched at Times Square this week. The game celebrates the 12 Brazilian host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup through the journey of YEP, an alien that decides to visit Brazil in search of happiness and becomes enchanted with the country’s beauty and offerings.

Source: www.braziltour.com

Wales is going Mobile

Mid Wales Tourism (MWT), which represents more than 550 tourism and hospitality businesses across Mid and South Wales, recently launched the ‘Show Me Wales’ iphone/ipad app and mobile website as an ‘one stop shop’ for visitors and locals, providing a comprehensive guide to things to see and do across the whole of Wales.

‘Show Me Wales’ is a comprehensive tourist guide to Wales including full details of hundreds of attractions, activities, places to eat, towns & villages and places to stay. The search functionality allows visitors to choose an area, search near a town, search near their current location, drop a pin and filter the data to highlight specific interests.

Each business entry describes the attraction with pictures, opening times and full contact details. Integrated with the Maps app, a quick link shows directions from their current location by car or on foot.

The app will be usable inside and outside of Wales, utilising GPS. Once the user is inside Wales, the app will plot and guide a user directly to the requested establishment from where they stand.

As MWT comments “It offers a sophisticated search facility so that when a visitor crosses the Welsh border the really clever bit kicks in. Using GPS technology, the app will locate the user and, using Google maps, will plot a range of tourist attractions, activities and even bookable accommodation within a user-specified radius.”

Source:  www.midwalestourism.co.uk

Airlines on a Digital High

Even though airlines had historically been early adopters of new technologies, they were quite late fully adopting digital media. However especially after the Iceland volcano eruption, paralysing most of Europe’s skies and carriers, major airlines have increasingly adopted social media and updated their digital presence to keep up with younger, higher-income, and more tech-savvy consumers.

It goes however further than that. Through the case compilation below, we see how digital technology can be fully integrated in the entire service spectrum of airlines, from trip planning to the booking process, in flight experience and customer service, certainly applicable to the rest of the travel & tourism industry.

ANA Asks “Is Japan Cool?” to Increase Awareness

All Nippon Airways (ANA) recently launched Is Japan Cool?, showcasing some of Japan’s attractions and elements of its culture for which the country famous.

The “Is Japan Cool?” site introduces current Japanese trends through articles and video clips of people, places, and social phenomena. Sumo, carousel sushi (low-priced sushi served on a circulating conveyor belt), maid cafés and comic book cafés are just a few examples. Visitors to the website will judge if the featured items are “cool” or “not so cool.” The site was designed to spark interest in Japan, deepen understanding, and encourage people to visit.

Number one position is steadily occupied by Japanese hospitality, followed closely by Japanese toilets, hot spring spas and the iconic Mount Fuji. Items can be opened to find out more information and watch the clip on a bigger screen.

The site itself is simple in functionality and easy to use, even though it could have better integrated social functionalities like the Facebook ‘Like’ to rate items, maximizing its visibility through Facebook rather than having all the action constrained within the site.

 Source: http://www.ana-cooljapan.com

KLM’s Social Meet & Seat Program

KLM‘s new Meet & Seat program, launched in February, allows passengers to choose their own seatmates based on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

Passengers with confirmed reservations can indicate what social information they choose to share, and are presented with a seating chart highlighting other passengers with available profiles. Next, they can select a seat next to someone they find interesting and that person will receive a message with their new seatmate’s profile. The service is mostly positioned by the airline for business travelers although available to all passengers.

“For at least 10 years, there has been this question about serendipity and whether you could improve the chances of meeting someone interesting onboard,” Erik Varwijk, a managing director in charge of passenger business at KLM, told The New York Ties. “But the technology just wasn’t available. Now it is”.

The original three routes were between Amsterdam and New York, San Francisco and Sao Paulo, and the number of intercontinental routes with the service are increasing. 10 new routes are available between Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi. The airline hopes to roll out the program on all of its intercontinental flights by the spring.

Source: www.klm.com

SAS Using QR Codes Creatively

Remember QR codes? Their spread and effectiveness have been discussed a lot but the appearance of creative examples every now and then comes to prove that if used in the right way and for the right reasons they can be of added value.

Scandinavian Airlines recently launched the “Couple Up to Buckle Up” 2 for 1 campaign.

The campaign used two unique QR codes across every touch point (emails, facebook app, banners, print ads .etc), leveraging an insight into how couples most commonly book trips and prompting the airline’s members to enjoy rather than stack air miles.

Couples would each scan the QR code assigned to them, which would sync their half of a video based offer (if they user is smart enough to scan/play at the same time) and reveal the discount code split across both screens.


British Airways’ Inspiration Tool

British Airways has just launched its own inspiration tool, shortly after Lastminute.com revealed its inspire me technology promoting the best city break deals.

Empowering the argument towards the total integration of trip planning tools into the airlines and OTAs booking systems, the Holiday Finder is available via a direct link or by clicking on the ‘not sure where and when’ section of ba.com’s home page which gives them a number of options including a map-based budget and temperature search. Customers can search using a number of filters including budget, temperature, journey time and star rating.

Source: www.britishairways.com

Booking Destinations “by Weather”?

Students at the Miami School of Advertising have come up with a concept for Virgin Atlantic, aiming to solve one of the biggest problems when we go on holidays every year: the weather. A simple trip plannign tool concept with a single factor.

This idea is aimed at anybody who has ever spent a week getting rained on despite booking a ‘sun holiday’ as it aims to let people book their flights based on nothing but the weather conditions.

Some argue though that simply relying on weather conditions to select a destination, and basing your entire technology around something that uncertain as the weather is not very practical.


Virgin America Crisis Management via Twitter

A good example of effective two-way communication is the one from Virgin America which used social media to personally contact every single customer that complained on Facebook and Twitter about problems making seat assignments, and changing and cancelling flights on VAA’s website. Technical glitches affected the website when the company upgraded to a new Sabre reservation system last October.

The company was not the only one whose system was affected, however it received a bombardment of complaints via its Twitter and Facebook accounts. Virgin America did not delete nor did it edit negative comments on its Facebook page but made a commitment to answer each and every one of the complaints on Twitter—not with a generic post but with a personal response to each complaining passenger, reaching 12.000.

Here are some examples of Virgin America (@virginamerica) responses:

twitter feed

By using the same social media its customers used, embracing all types of conversations, facing the issue, providing information and being honest and helpful, brands which understand the purpose of social media can build trust with their customers and enhance brand loyalty.


“The Most Social Cities” Index

“The Most Social Cities” Index is a unique initiative aimed at rating Internet social communities of cities.

The study is jointly being carried out by Best Place – European Place Marketing Institute in cooperation with TheStory. The first-phase findings are available at www.TheMostSocialCities.com.

Wrocław – the fourth in terms of population Polish city – has a stronger Internet community than London? Is it possible? “Utilizing the Internet for communication, including accessing social network sites and offering mobile applications, has ceased to be a luxury for the selected few, it’s become common” – says Adam Mikołajczyk from Best Place Institute.

In the first stage of the study, researchers conducted a quantitative assessment of city online communities on Facebook and AppStore. The findings can be viewed at: www.TheMostSocialCities.com. The figures show how active and strong a city’s Internet social community is, one where its members want to talk about, promote, or create applications for the city and thus invite to visit and build relations with the city.

“It is worth noting, however, that the number of Facebook fans or AppStore applications does not reflect the real strength of the city’s brand but it is an important indicator of how effective a city has been in promoting itself online” – explains Dymitr Romanowski from TheStory, a digital branding agency.

In subsequent phases of the study Best Place Institute and TheStory will address the methodology of the Index as well as look into other indicators. Findings will be posted on an ongoing basis on the TheMostSocialCities.com website.

Source: bestplaceinstytut.org

Destinations Dressing up for Valentine’s Day

Since this is the “Love” week of the year, its a nice opportunity to have a look at some -Valentine’s special- online & offline marketing initiatives that caught our eye.

We liked what we saw, with VisitPhilly rolling out its first sweepstakes, a highly targeted initiative focused on couples, aiming to increased room nights and not missing the chance to lift Facebook engagement and destination awareness.  “LOVE is in the Air” at the City of Waynesboro as well, where as part of the Virginia is For Lovers campaign, Virginians have the opportunity to put their love on display and drive visitation to the city.

‘Get a Room’ with 29 Nights of Philly Dates

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) continues capitalizing on its successful 3 year old “With Love” destination brand campaign with a special “Love” Facebook contest running throughout February.

With this initiative is sends its sleepover message exclusively to couples, since according to a GPTMC hotel visitor survey, this was the most popular trip type from January through March.

The new 29 Nights of Dates sweepstakes, part of a $825,000 winter campaign—running January through March— feature more than 60 prizes on facebook.com/visitphilly, all aimed at getting couples to spend a night or two in a Philadelphia hotel this winter.

Apart from the goal of increasing room nights around the region, at the same time VisitPhilly uses the contest as an opportunity to lift  its Facebook page engagement as well, showcasing the entire region and offering targeted destination information.

According to the survey, a winter “getaway with a spouse/partner” is the #1 reason people are traveling to Philadelphia in Q1 (39%). This figure gave VisitPhilly the incentive to run the promotion, engaging their visitors with something that they were already seeking, as Robert Pierson from GPTMC explained to us.

More than $13,000 in fun, romantic prizes have been offered from local businesses to be given away every day during the month of February, while most of the prizes are centered around visitor needs like hotel nights, restaurants, attractions, events, and things to do in the city.

Fans of facebook.com/visitphilly will have a chance to win one of 29 fun, romantic and inspired Philly dates (nice way to take advantage of the extra -leap year-February day. All who enter to win a date will also be eligible to nab the grand prize on February 29: a red two-seat Vespa and a couple of With Love-branded helmets.

Love is In The Air of Waynesboro

Waynesboro Tourism is holding a special photo contest dedicated to Love this month. In partnership with the Virginia is for Lovers campaign, they are giving Virginians the opportunity to put their love on display at their first annual Love is in the Air event and photo contest.

A 6 ft tall, 16 ft long Virginia is for Lovers LOVE artwork is on display for photo opportunities from Feb. 11-Feb. 15 at a central city location, while the photos can be shared on Your Waynesboro Facebook Page, Virginia is For Lovers Facebook Page and Twitter using #LOVEVA. The aim is to increase visitation to down town Waynesboro and enjoy a day filled with LOVE events.

Katie McElroy, tourism director for the City of Waynesboro and coordinator for bringing the LOVE artwork to Waynesboro, said this is the first year Waynesboro has planned this event.

The LOVE artwork is part of the “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign, which promotes the message that love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation,” McElroy said.

The LOVE artwork has made stops at Virginia Welcome Centers, attractions and localities throughout 2011 and will travel to more locations in the Commonwealth in 2012.