Visit Kansas City, Kansas approached Bandwango in August 2020 as they were considering tactics for developing destination products and creating a trails program. The team at KCK had already begun brainstorming ways to create an experiential campaign that could tie together food, culture and history when they became an official Bandwango partner. It was clear that the first campaign launched would feature touch points addressing these needs.
The cornerstone of the campaign, promoting the authentic side of Kansas City, led to conversation around KCK’s large Hispanic population. With tons of taquerias throughout the city, tacos became the clear common denominator between a lot of locally-owned restaurants.
Thus, the KCK Taco Trail was born.
The goal of the campaign became more clear from there. In order to be deemed a success, the Taco Trail would need to:
At the same time, Visit KCK wanted the trail to be accessible to all merchants. So, the only requirement for becoming part of the trail was that the restaurant in question had to serve tacos on their menu. In order to make sure no taqueria was left behind, Visit KCK worked with local community and neighborhood associations to connect with many restaurant owners.
To make the trail more engaging and to encourage diners to visit more taquerias, Visit KCK decided to add gamification into the mix. This component meant that passholders were rewarded for eating tacos and checking in. The ultimate goal? Visit all 50 taquerias and get your face on the Taco Trail Wall of Fame.
The KCK Taco Trail launched on September 29, 2020 to overwhelmingly positive feedback. In the first two months, the trail saw:
And it’s not just the diners who love it! Feedback has been positive from restaurants, several of which have indicated they are seeing new faces from near and far because of the Taco Trail.
“The [Bandwango] platform definitely helped in being the hub of all things Taco Trail,” Kim Thompson from Madden Media said. “The gamification adds another level of incentives and challenges users to complete the trail. Plus, the data we’ve been able to collect has been instrumental in helping us determine the success of the pass.”
Visit KCK and Madden Media created a diverse media plan which included Facebook, Facebook Remarketing, Facebook Instant Experiences, Native Content Distribution and Google Ads Remarketing Banners.
The campaign, which ran for 3 months, had a budget of about $25k. The results are as follows:
AVERAGE CAMPAIGN CTRS ARE 7.06%
Earned media has also proven to be a critical piece of the puzzle for Visit KCK. After their initial paid campaigns ended, Visit KCK continued to use the Taco Trail as a key talking point for incoming travel writers and press outreach. The result of that tactic is that buzz worthy pieces have generated more spikes in sign-ups than anticipated.
“I didn’t think it was possible to surpass the sign-ups we saw in October,” Alan Carr, Executive Director of Visit Kansas City, Kansas, said. “Then, the Forbes article came out.”
The article in question, titled “America’s Taco Capital Isn’t Where You Think”, had the benefit of being bold enough to garner responses from other media sources. Like, for instance, this article from Texas Monthly titled “No, Kansas City Is Not The Taco Capital of America.” And then this rebuttal, “If Texas is arguing tacos with KC then we have already won.”
All this to say, the earned media that KCK has managed to spin off into more pass sign-ups and redemptions has been beyond powerful. Check out some of the other articles written about the trail here:
It’s safe to say the most surprising thing about the campaign has been how passionate people are about tacos!
In fact, the challenge to complete the entire trail – 50 taqueria check-ins – has already been met by 8 people. Those who have completed the trail have earned their place on the Taco Trail Wall of Fame. Check out those taco fans here.
The KCK Taco Trail is ongoing, but passholders only have until October 31, 2021 to collect their prizes and get their face on the Wall of Fame.
Plenty of passholders are well on their way… As of March 31, 2021, the data for the Taco Trail shows:
“The Taco Trail has exceeded our expectations,” said Carr. “It has been successful in driving people into our neighborhoods, amplifying our brand and helping us engage with our restaurant partners. We have already started development of our next trail and look forward to giving visitors another way to explore Kansas City, Kansas.”
Hungry for more? This case study was presented during a webinar on March 31. Find the recording of that webinar here.