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07 Case Study

Destination Marketing To High Net Worth (HNWI) Travelers

Measurable ROI + 35% Revenue Growth for Luxury Destination Marketing Organization

The Destination Marketing Organization:

Bal Harbour, Florida is a small beachfront Village just north of Miami Beach less than 1 square mile. Despite its size, through the years, Bal Harbour attracted a St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton, and one of the highest-grossing luxury shopping centres in the world as of 2022 to the Village.

On its journey to become a globally-recognized destination, Bal Harbour sought luxury media buying expertise from Criterion Global to attract high net wealth travelers.

As a result of a city marketing plan spanning several years of partnership, Bal Harbour, Florida attracts UHNWI from over 40 countries every year. As a result of our city marketing plan, to quote  Town & Country:

[Bal Harbour] is the “ne plus ultra of South Florida luxury…with recent studies pointing to “visitor-generated sales of $26 Billion.”

The Challenge

Destination marketing organizations work to drive maximum economic benefit to their community. In this case, we highlight how our work adds value and measurable ROI to destination marketing organizations. This is captured by tax revenue growth as well as in qualitative measures of brand awareness and perceived prestige.

Among beautiful travel destinations, competition is fierce. Our challenge was to organize and implement media planning and buying strategy targeting affluent leisure travelers — no easy task in a landscape rife with other locations boasting similar luxury attractions, amenities and activities. 

These numbers are significant, as any destination marketing organization or public-private partnership would know. For residents of Bal Harbour. local resort tax revenues fund tourism marketing for the destination marketing organization, and support community services. Crucially: Tax revenues are not just a source of funding for tourism marketing, tax revenue is also the measure of the success.

The City Marketing Plan

Despite the fierce competition, our destination marketing strategy found efficiencies by highlighting the differentiators unique to this destination. As a first step, we implemented targeting strategies to capitalize on the destination’s exclusivity. With targeting as the basis of our approach, we could afford to reach a luxury travel audience across Europe, North and South America.

Armed with creative content to tell the destination’s “story,” we developed a comprehensive travel media planning and buying strategy to precisely and persuasively target the affluent traveler. The city marketing plan translated our destination’s unique luxury experiences to global inbound feeder markets via digital channels, social media – including notable influencers – as well as print, digital TV, and out of home channels.

A 3-Part Tourism Marketing Approach:

To make it happen, our city marketing plan, and media buying strategy, leveraged 3 strategic approaches:

Market Expansion

Language-specific digital targeting attracted key affluent European, and North and South American tourists. This helped establish brand recognition for the destination online, with reinforcement through traditional channels such as inflight print media. Over time, our media strategies evolved to raise awareness and grow direct Food & Beverage and Tourism Tax revenues from a global customer profile.

Inbound and Opportunistic Opportunities

As new international air carriers such as Turkish and Qatar Airways arrived, Criterion Global capitalized on these new avenues to build additional inbound travel for the destination.

In 2017, a Category 4 Hurricane struck competing destinations. While the destruction cause $50B in total property damage, it also created an opportunity for our luxury travel audience. Swift efforts allowed us to gain consensus for a shift in media tactics, which ultimately led to a +16.4% increase in YOY resort tax revenues between 2017 and 2018.

Cultivating Community Consensus

Destination Marketing Organizations are living, breathing things. Success is impossible without consensus on strategic direction. In addition to its subject-matter expertise in global media buying, Criterion Global is versed in presenting to the needs of committees and stakeholders in the political organizations driving DMO decisioning. In our experience, a collaborative relationship and rapport is essential to winning the buy-in and endorsement of key constituencies within any DMO.

Results:

As part of a continuing multi-year city marketing plan, Criterion Global’s work correlates with unprecedented gains in resort tax revenues:

  • Consistent YOY resort tax revenue increases
  • Gains in qualitative, brand-based measures of destination awareness
  • Multiyear increase in resort tax revenues: +35% between Y1 and Y5.

Visibility, brand awareness, and tax revenue for the DMO have measurably increased both site traffic and footfall traffic in the destination.

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