Downtown Knoxville Case Study

Emilie Harris  |  February 25th, 2022

Peppermint Trail Drove Holiday Traffic to Local Businesses

Downtown Knoxville’s Peppermint Trail is a holiday staple. The trail, marked by peppermints along the downtown sidewalk, aims to drive people through the doors of local businesses offering holiday coffees, cocktails, merchandise, and more. The program has been coloring the streets of Downtown Knoxville red and white for the past 6 years.

Campaign Overview: A Comprehensive View

Last year (2021), Downtown Knoxville expanded the program to include a digital check-in challenge hosted on Bandwango’s platform. The digital pass amplified the campaigns used in previous years to drive Peppermint Trail traffic, including traditional media and social media.

“We’ve had strong success engaging our local businesses with the Peppermint Trail in previous years, and it drives significant foot traffic during the holidays. We expected the digital platform to add a new level of interest from businesses, consumers, and the local media. We were not disappointed.” -Robin Thomas, Director of Marketing for Downtown Knoxville

The Peppermint Trail digital passport was launched on November 26, 2021.

Merchant Outreach and Onboarding

With five weeks to use the free passport before the trail ended, consumers had plenty of time to access special offerings like:

  • “The Grinch” cocktail at Balter Beerworks

  • Peppermint Swirl at Chesapeake’s

  • Peppermint dog toy at CitiFid-O

  • Jingle Bell Bath Bombs at Earth to Old City

The 90+ merchants included on the digital Peppermint Trail were many of the same merchants as in years past, which was encouraging to Downtown Knoxville as the organization tasked with supporting local businesses and finding more ways to drive people – and transactions – through the doors of their partner locations.

In fact, in addition to the Peppermint Trail’s previous participating businesses, many new local partners signed on to the digital passport program.

“One of the main benefits of launching the passport through Bandwango was the ease in which businesses, locals and visitors could engage with the trail. It was valuable to merchants regardless of size and it increased engagement across the board.” -Robin Thomas, Director of Marketing for Downtown Knoxville

Success by the Numbers

Additional engagement of businesses, increased participation by locals and visitors, renewed interest from local media, and detailed data of campaign success made the 2021 year of the trail the best yet.


Passport Sign-Ups


Check-Ins Tracked


Marketing Opt-Ins


Marketing Opt-In Rate

“It was easy for our businesses to participate with little impact to their employees, particularly important during a busy holiday season. The Peppermint Trail grows every year, and the digital passport took it to a new level. We’re excited about building on it again next year.” -Robin Thomas, Director of Marketing for Downtown Knoxville

Overall, the big benefit of shifting the program to a digital offering was the ability to encourage locals and visitors to explore the downtown district in a new way while enjoying the unique holiday offerings Downtown Knoxville is known for.

/assets/main/collections/downtown Knoxville Case Study Drinks.jpg

“We’ve always known that Bandwango is a powerful engine for communities looking to drive real people through the doors of local businesses. Downtown Knoxville’s Peppermint Trail is a perfect example of the synergy our platform has with Downtown Districts and other business improvement districts. We’re looking forward to next year’s Peppermint Trail and to continued success with Downtown Knoxville and other downtown partners.” -Mo Parikh, CEO of Bandwango

Check out Downtown Knoxville’s Peppermint Trail at this link.

/assets/main/collections/downtown Knoxville Case Study Drinks 2.jpg