Hurry up and wait” — that is much of what the feeling has been for DMOs throughout 2020 and 2021. To say it has been a rollercoaster is an understatement as the uncertainty required starting, stopping, adjusting and reacting quickly to the changing landscape. With the pandemic almost behind us, DMOs are preparing for yet another shift to attract visitors nationally and soon internationally to pre-pandemic levels and more.
Throughout the pandemic, Bandwango helped DMOs of all shapes and sizes by developing a variety of experiences to generate sales for local businesses. The marketing messages crafted by our clients during this time inspired residents to support local businesses and support tourism initiatives in their towns and cities. During this time, everyone was reminded that supporting local businesses during the pandemic meant ensuring they were still standing when the pandemic was over.
Several cities launched special perk passes for locals including Tourism Ottawa’s #MyOttawa Savings Pass, Grand Rapid’s Restaurant Week GR.
While Bandwango has been successful at running campaigns targeted to locals, it’s important to note that this platform is an experience-curator meant to inspire and attract visitors to take in the best your city has to offer.
Here are some examples of ways our clients have been achieving this goal:
Coastal Mississippi created a 1-day, 2-day, 3-day and an annual attractions pass to target a broad audience of travelers. During the pandemic they sold 251 passes, 130 of which were from 22 states outside of Mississippi.
Traverse City Tourism launched their Uncorked Passport that coincided with their annual wine month in May. This passport further positioned them as a wine destination to new audiences and showed a real impact on lodging bookings. Additionally, they promoted the passport to multiple geographic audiences in the drive market through a partnership with Two-Six Digital. The two-month campaign generated more than 1,000 passport downloads, 5,200 winery check-ins, and 352 hotel stays.
Visit Omaha launched their Penny Pack, which allows passholders to buy a beer for a penny after they purchase their first drink at participating locations, and an attractions Savings Pack exclusive to out-of-towners. Marketing geographically to nearby drive markets led to great results that increased visitation. The Penny Pack had 8,207 sign ups with 7,035 redemptions while the Savings Pack had 10,562 sign ups with 3,946 redemptions in 2019.
Springfield Missouri CVB developed a One Night On Us Pass which gave visitors their second night free if they checked into three attractions, three food and drink establishments and booked a minimum two-night stay at a hotel. This resulted in 178 sign ups, 486 check-ins and 39 hotel stays.
Bandwango can directly measure how many visitors a DMO has sent through the doors of their local businesses by tracking where those visitors originate through its technology platform. Bandwango holds the key to what many DMOs currently struggle to measure – bottom of the funnel conversion marketing. Post-pandemic, stakeholders and boards are looking for metrics beyond website visitation and Facebook followers and want measurable economic impact and qualified leads.
Diversification of funding and revenue streams continues to be a priority for DMOs.
Bandwango’s paid passes can be an added source of revenue while also providing an e-commerce platform for smaller businesses who wouldn’t otherwise be able to sell their products online.
Woodinville Wine Country created a mobile-friendly passport through Bandwango’s platform that aimed to build on success from their previous Passport to Taste initiatives. The goal was to encourage more visitation to their 49 member wineries. Offerings ranged from weekend passes starting at $30 to the annual Passport to Taste, which can be purchased online at $79.99. Annual passes were also sold in 8 nearby Costco branches for $99 per 2-pack. Woodinville Wine Country experienced staggering success that generated revenue for their partners and showed the success that is possible when a group of local businesses work together. With more than 9,000 passes were sold, 23,000 wine tastings and discounts redeemed at member locations, and an additional 3,000 bottles purchased by passholders, Woodinville Wine Country’s success from May 2019 – May 2020 is certainly worth bragging about.
We also recognize that there is pent up demand and dollars waiting to be spent. In the U.S., households saved over $1.6 trillion more than they would have done otherwise during the pandemic, while Canadians saved an extra $150 billion or $5,800 per household (1). As vaccinations continue to rollout across North America and internationally, travel sentiment and outlook continues to improve.
It’s clear that the time to market to visitors is now. In fact, pass sales and sign-ups for Bandwango clients are up year-over-year. Check out our findings and the data we’ve collected in regards to pass sales and sign-ups in this blog and get inspired to start your next visitor-focused campaign today.
(1) Sources: S&P Global Market Intelligence, Consumers to unleash trillions of dollars in excess savings when pandemic ends (8 Feb. 2021); Oxford Economics; Bank of Canada, Monetary Policy Report, April 2021