JUNE 2013 ADVERTISING/MARKETING ACTIVITIES EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Overview: Each year the Town of Taos Tourism Marketing Department completes a marketing strategic plan with the staff of Taos’ marketing consultant (Griffin & Associates). This preparation includes extensive community commentary and input before this plan is finalized. In it, specific, strategic direction is detailed for all promotional activity, and the current 2012-2013 version is available for review on an ongoing basis.
The June 2013 Report from Griffin & Associates:
June marketing and promotion efforts were centered on four themes:
Generating interest in Summer Activities
Continuing sweepstakes for visitors to travel now – via Facebook and media partners
Enhancing and expanding our social media presence
Continuing our consistent national Public Relations push
PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
In June, our PR outreach continued. Our 6 news releases generated over 1,000 mentions – many talking about summer activities.
ABQ Biz First online with 1.2 million readers on the Legend of Taos Mt.
Christian Science Monitor online with 2.3 million readers on summer vacations
Examiner.com with nearly 19 million readers on summer vacations
Huffington Post with 21 million readers on Taos as a tourism destination
MSN.com with 116 million readers on the Taos Hum
National Geographic online with 5.6 million readers on summer vacations
Runner’s World with over 1.6 million readers on the best summer races
Sacramento Bee online with 2 million readers on Georgia O’Keeffe
See Attachments for News Releases & Complete Media Report.
The monthly report identifies key bulleted highlights from the Taos Marketing Plan. This section shows some weighted percentages to demonstrate where promotional emphasis is applied to maximize Taos’ traveler education:
1) 95% of all Taos tourism promotion must include an Internet, online presence for Taos to consider purchasing an ad. This is because research shows that 80% of all potential tourists complete their travel research, if not their bookings, online. Therefore, this is a major component of all marketing, advertising and public relations (media) activity.
2) 85% of Taos tourism promotional activity is leveraged through free media coverage for Taos. With limited budgets, and Taos’ proven aptitude for generating interesting media angles for earned coverage, this is the element leveraged to increase Taos’ positive exposure for travelers. It is also where Taos has a competitive advantage when compared to other ‘outdoor recreation’ and ‘art/culture/heritage’ destinations in the U.S. It is part of Taos’ annual theme for tourism promotion – a way to leverage media attention/coverage, and include everyone in the Taos area who would like to participate.
3) The other heavy-duty competitive advantage for Taos – one that can be leveraged online – is in the area of social (new) media. Such efforts via TripAdvisor and other travel recommendation web sites, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Yelp, Pinterest, etc., are worked daily by Taos marketing representatives – and members of the community are constantly encouraged to do the same and assist in this major Taos promotional focus.
4) Given limited budgets, reduced staff, and reduced international travel, the State of New Mexico Department of Tourism has wisely taken the lead in focusing traveler education/promotion within the U.S. for the foreseeable future. Therefore, international outreach is via the Internet and earned media/public relations coverage – not paid advertising. Taos is doing the same, with a further emphasis on the drive-circle states surrounding New Mexico, in-state New Mexico travel, and specific easy-fly zones with stable economics and the psychographics that appeal to Taos, and vice versa. These include but are not exclusively limited to Southern California and New York.
5) Events, activities and calendar listings are also of importance for placement to maximize Taos promotion. Monthly targets include entities (in print and online) such as the State of New Mexico tourism website, Sunset magazine, New Mexico magazine, Santa Fe’s tourism sites/Santa Fean magazine, and Taos’ own calendars at www.Taos.org. Note: New Mexico magazine, as a State run entity, editorially covers Taos regularly and includes a number of its calendar listings. However, advertising in it is not only expensive, but its subscriber list/circulation is primarily to second-home owners in New Mexico, to visitors already in New Mexico, and to others who have previously fallen in love with what New Mexico offers. Taos’ promotional efforts of course are to a certain extent focused on reinforcing the area’s existing travel audience, but more than ever efforts must emphasize educating new, younger and expanded audiences about “Why Taos?” Much of Taos’ promotion is therefore focused on outreach venues/mechanisms that are not frequently viewed by locals – Taos’ efforts are focused “out there” with new audiences, rather than “here” on what we regularly see and read.
6) Recent traveler studies have shown that new audiences need to be educated about “what there is to do” in New Mexico (and Taos) to improve and expand our travel attraction. Therefore, much effort this year is focused on this activity, including the producing of new sample itineraries specific to the Taos psychographic, in addition to working with tour operators and group travel targets. Our new travel “product” is available on www.Taos.org, in addition to the redesign of the site to better serve Taos’ travel customers.
MARKETING AND ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Taos Marketing Objectives for FY13 are:
Increase occupancy levels, lodgers’ tax and NM Gross Receipts tax by 2% as measured using the Town of Taos lodging reports, lodgers’ tax reports and GRT reports. These numbers are recession adjusted due to Travel Industry of America expectations of a flat to slight 1.8% increase in Lodgers’ Tax average for 2012. May 2013, lodgers tax was up 7% over the same time frame in FY12 and over 3% year to date.
Increase earned Taos media travel coverage by 5% with at least 10 stories placed in “A” media (major media with circulations, viewership or online audiences of at least 500,000 – that match Taos’ traveler psychographic).
Increase walk-in traffic to the visitor’s center and page views on the tourism websites/digital footprints by at least 5%.
Web site traffic was extremely strong in June. Unique visitors to taos.org were over 37,000 up from 23,000 in June 2012.
The visitors center visitor traffic was up over 2,000 or 15% from the same time in 2012. Those visitors spent over $13,000 on purchases at the Visitor’s Center, up from $11,000 in the same time period in 2012.
See Attachments for Online, E-news and Visitors Center Reports. Our social media program continued to expand in June. Throughout the month, the social media team posted 77 times to the Facebook page. Of these posts 57 went viral, meaning that they were shared, commented on, and seen by fans of the page and people who are not fans of the page. We also added 191 new followers in June.
The function Facebook called “Talking about this” meaning anyone in the Facebook universe who is talking about Taos significantly increased, peaking at 644 at one point in the month.
The viral reach of the page, meaning the number of unique people who saw a story related to Taos published by a friend, for the month of June peaked at 38,583 people.
During the month of June, the social media team tweeted 21 times. We have connected and are following 857 businesses, publications, people and communities. Based on this Twitter has continued to suggest viable leads of potential followers, which we are connecting with continually.
Advertising and marketing pieces we developed and placed in June included developing online ads for google and the regional drive circle newspapers, developing radio and onlne ads for Pandora, and preparing collateral for the Amigos de Taos program.