Case Study

Scooping Success: Discover Lancaster's Ice Cream Trail, A Case Study

Madison Strunk
September 15, 2023
 min read

Scooping Success: Discover Lancaster's Ice Cream Trail, A Case Study

About the Discover Lancaster Ice Cream Trail 

Discover Lancaster, a destination marketing organization for Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, embarked on a unique mission to promote the county's delectable ice cream. “We know Lancaster County ice cream is special because many of our shops source milk for their ice cream from local dairy farms,” said Olivia Novak, Discover Lancaster. “Part of our mission is to be good stewards of Lancaster County and when we can promote our natural resources like farms and give visitors something to be excited about like ice cream, it's the perfect opportunity to take advantage of.” The Discover Lancaster Ice Cream Trail was conceived as a means to engage both Lancaster County residents and visitors, particularly families, in exploring the region's local ice cream shops throughout the summer. This initiative aimed to serve passholders with enticing coupons and discounts at participating shops while supporting local ice cream businesses through effective marketing.

Bandwango Technology: A Faster Turnaround

This was Discover Lancaster's second collaboration with Bandwango. Compared to their previous trail project that took a year to launch, the Discover Lancaster Ice Cream Trail Pass enjoyed a remarkably swift turnaround of just 5 months. Leveraging their prior experience, creating new passes with Bandwango became a much more efficient process.

Olivia Novak from Discover Lancaster lauded Bandwango for its accessibility and user-friendliness: "Bandwango allows us to create a pass that is accessible to most of our audience. We love the opportunity to increase visitation to our Visitors Center by having passholders pick up prizes there. We have found that the pass is really easy to use for both passholders & merchants."

Promotions: Reaching the Target Audience

Discover Lancaster deployed a multifaceted promotional strategy to reach their target audience and generate excitement about the Ice Cream Trail Pass:

  • Paid Media: They invested in paid social media ads, with a particular focus on Instagram Reel content, which resonated well with their audience. Additionally, they sponsored a spread in a Lancaster City magazine, strategically targeting local residents deeply engaged in the community.
  • TV Appearances: Discover Lancaster bought a segment on Philly Live and Acesso Total through NBC10 to present a summer fun itinerary featuring the Ice Cream Trail among other weekend getaway activities.
  • Influencer Collaboration: To encourage participation, local influencers were contracted to promote the Ice Cream Trail.

Earned Media: They successfully pitched the story to local news outlets, securing a featured article.

The Numbers: Impressive Results

The Discover Lancaster Ice Cream Trail Pass exceeded expectations:

  • Sign-ups: The pass garnered a remarkable total of 7,000 signups throughout the summer!
  • Check-ins: An astounding 4,695 check-ins were recorded, indicating active participation as individuals visited local ice cream shops, driving substantial foot traffic to these businesses.
  • Marketing Opt-Ins: A significant achievement was the 3,682 customers who opted into external marketing communication, representing over half of the sign-ups. This database of first-party data from engaged users provides Discover Lancaster with a valuable resource for future campaigns.

What Was Surprising

Olivia Novak expressed her surprise at the consistent and steady flow of sign-ups throughout the campaign: "We had a ton right in the beginning which is to be expected, but throughout the campaign, we generally had consistent interest in joining."

Future Plans

Given the impressive success of the Ice Cream Trail Pass, Discover Lancaster hopes to replicate the campaign next summer. To further enhance community engagement, they are considering adding an event to the campaign, such as an ice cream social held at the Visitor's Center.


The Discover Lancaster Ice Cream Trail Pass, not only achieved its goal of enticing families, both residents and visitors, to explore the region's ice cream shops but also provided a substantial boost to local businesses. Its innovative approach to destination marketing, supported by a comprehensive promotional strategy, resulted in significant sign-ups, check-ins, and marketing opt-ins. This case study serves as an exemplary model for destination marketing organizations looking to create engaging and successful pass programs.

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