When the pandemic hit, Visit Corpus Christi’s major attractions felt the impact of the destination’s lost visitors. During this time, the destination was focusing on supporting local merchants in any way they could.
“Visit Corpus Christi got a new CEO who started the same day as the governor shut down the state of Texas, so he was fresh and waiting for ideas for how we could support the community. I immediately threw out the Bandwango pitch.” -Meredith Darden, Vice President of Experience for Visit Corpus Christi
From that discussion, the See You CC campaign was launched. At its core, the campaign was focused on driving sales of an attractions pass which included 5 of their top attractions.
USS Lexington Museum on the Bay
Texas State Aquarium
South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
Art Museum of South Texas
“It was very easy to decide that this pass was going to be entirely for our attractions because we wanted to make sure those attractions would be here when people were ready to return to a state of travel. We wanted to be sure they were getting that much needed revenue, which was really what the See You Soon CC Pass was about.” -Meredith Darden, Vice President of Experience for Visit Corpus Christi
The campaign messaging was centered around the idea that customers could buy now and use the passport when they felt comfortable and the marketing strategy for the passport was largely focused on organic reach.
The pass, which was valid for one year after the purchase date, used a non-traditional pricing model. Whereas most attraction passes pay the merchants out based on when a passholder redeems at their location, the Visit Corpus Christi pass paid merchants out based on when a passport was sold. This choice was made in an effort to support local merchants by immediately contributing to their revenue.
“We didn’t ask them to discount anything, so they were really equipped to say yes. And now they’ve seen the benefits of being a partner included in the passport, so it really did galvanize them.” -Meredith Darden, Vice President of Experience for Visit Corpus Christi
The campaign drove significant results, with Visit Corpus Christi reporting that more than $96,000 had been paid out to their merchants during the passport’s initial run – June 2020 – September 2021.
The passport’s success was just the beginning of what Visit Corpus Christi wanted to build with Bandwango.
“In our business plan for this year, this is one of our strategies. We’re working hard to create a digital inventory of visitor experiences and mobile purchase opportunities so that we can capitalize on in-market spending in real time.” -Meredith Darden, Vice President of Experience for Visit Corpus Christi
The Attraction Passport was the cornerstone of this growing initiative, but the organization needed to reformat the pricing structure so that they could focus their efforts on generating revenue from the passport instead of the sole mission of supporting the local attractions. With that in mind, the pricing structure was changed so that merchants began being paid on redemption.
During this time of change, the organization changed the name of the passport from the See You Soon CC Pass to the Coast Your Own Way Attractions Pass.
Visit Corpus Christi also allowed a sixth attraction, the Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures & Education Center, to join the passport and expanded the options to include a 1-day, 3-day and 5-day pass option.
In this new structure, passholders had to begin using their passport within one year of the purchase date and had 24, 72 and 120 hours after their first use to enjoy the attractions in the pass.
From December 10, 2021 – February 28, 2022, the new passport results were as follows:
PAID OUT TO MERCHANTS
“I get an e-mail notification every time a pass is sold. It’s like a little adrenaline rush every time. Coming from a Visitor Services background… I never knew if people were actually going to the places I recommended, but when you see they’re buying the product you’re selling and they’re coming in and redeeming it… It’s just a really cool experience.” -Meredith Darden, Vice President of Experience for Visit Corpus Christi
Check out Visit Corpus Christi’s Experience Marketplace and their full list of available experiences!
This case study was crafted from a webinar sponsored by Destinations International on April 27, 2022. See the full webinar recording and more of Meredith’s comments on the success of this passport on their website.