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07 Case Study

Tourism Marketing for a Luxury Travel Destination

Measurable Branding Impact

The Destination Marketing Organization:

The destination marketing organization of a luxury beachfront community on the Southeast coast of the US sought travel and hospitality media buying expertise in support of a destination marketing campaign reaching high net wealth traveler audiences.

The purpose of any DMO is to yield maximum economic benefit to the community. In this case study, tourism marketing is funded funded by local resort tax revenues. And these resort tax revenues are not just a source of funding – revenue generated is also the measure of the success of tourism marketing efforts.

In this case study, we highlight how our work adds value to destination marketing organizations – both in terms of measurable ROI outcomes and in qualitative measures of brand awareness and perceived prestige.

Challenge:

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. 

Insight:

Despite the fierce competition, our destination marketing strategy found efficiencies by highlighting the differentiators unique to this destination. Specifically, we implemented targeting strategies to capitalize on the destination’s exclusivity, including unique features that prove popular amongst diverse audiences across Europe, North and South America.

Solution:

Armed with creative content to tell the destination’s “story,” we developed a comprehensive media planning and buying strategy that precisely and persuasively target affluent domestic and international travelers. The marketing campaign translated the luxury experiences available unique to the destination, across a diverse range of digital channels including social media programs with notable influencers from across the destination’s primary global inbound feeder markets,  print, and out of home channels.

Market Expansion

Initially, language specific digital targeting focused on key, affluent European, and North and South American tourists to establish brand recognition for the destination online, with reinforcement through traditional channels such as inflight print media. With time, our solution evolved to focus on specific offerings within the destination to raise awareness and generate direct additional revenues from the Food & Beverage businesses within the community.

Capitalizing on Opportunities

As new international air carriers such as Turkish and Qatar Airways opened new routes, Criterion Global capitalized on these new opportunities to build additional in-bound audiences 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.

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:

In a continuing multi-year relationship, Criterion Global’s work correlates with unprecedented gains in resort tax revenues. Key datapoints:

  • 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.

Furthermore, visibility and brand awareness for the destination has measurably increased both site traffic and footfall traffic in the destination. Because of our destination marketing successes, we have seen surrounding DMO’s visibly imitate our marketing approach.

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