Quarterly Report Part 2: Marketing Department Report for July-September 2010

2010 Leisure Advertising Campaign

Tracking effectiveness of the 2010 “Springfield Memories” leisure advertising campaign was a major focus of the marketing department during the first quarter as advertising ran Feb 22–Jun 30 and included more than $1,040,000 in advertising. The campaign targeted eight key markets, including: St. Louis, Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Fayetteville and Ft. Smith.

All advertising featured the Passport to Family Fun coupon book and encouraged families to create “Memories You’ll Treasure Forever” in Springfield.  The campaign reached visitors through a combination of television, radio, magazine, newspaper and online/digital ads. As a direct result of the campaign, the CVB received 63,100 requests for information and 20,587 visits to the website at www.VacationSpringfield.com.

Inquiries remained strong through August but as expected, began to decline beginning in September. To date, traditional inquiries and website visits significantly outpaced 2009. The increase is attributed to a change in the media types used in the campaign.  2010 was the first year online advertising was allowed through the Missouri Division of Tourism’s Cooperative Marketing Campaign and this significantly increased the CVB’s website presence in the marketplace.  The campaign will continue to be tracked during the remainder of the calendar year and further analysis of visitors from the campaign will be included in future Conversion and Visitor Profile Studies conducted by Jerry Henry & Associates.

2011 Leisure Advertising Campaign

Planning for the 2011 leisure campaign also was a major focus of the marketing department during the first quarter.  Significant cuts to the Missouri Division of Tourism’s budget resulted in cuts to the Cooperative Marketing Program.  The Bureau was notified in June that the program was cut by 25%, resulting in a $135,000 reduction from the $580,000 that was requested for FY11.  Although only $445,000 will be received from the State of Missouri for FY11, the CVB was able to maintain full marketing levels with its partners.  The total campaign budget will be $1,030,000, down $10,000 from the original $1,040,000 planned for the leisure campaign.

Partners for the FY11 campaign will include:  Bass Pro Shops, Wonders of Wildlife, Fantastic Caverns, Springfield Cardinals and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.  The Battlefield is a new partner for FY11 to promote the Wilson’s Creek Sesquicentennial Reenactment planned for August 2011.

Website

The transition of the website to the marketing department continued during the first quarter.  In addition, the CVB accepted proposals from five firms for development and design of a new website due to launch in mid-February 2011.  MMG Worldwide, from Kansas City, MO, was the selected vendor for the project and development is ongoing.  A greater emphasis will continue to be placed on online and digital marketing within future media and marketing plans.

Convention Advertising

Although the majority of paid media is placed in the spring, the CVB placed convention advertising for Springfield in Missouri Meetings & Events and The Executive Focus and leisure advertising in Show-Me Missouri during the first quarter.

Public Relations

In addition to paid media placements, ongoing public relations efforts and various promotions are utilized to maintain Springfield’s presence with potential meeting/event planners and leisure visitors throughout the year.  The bureau’s public relations efforts generated 9 stories or broadcasts in regional, national and Internet media with an advertising equivalency value of $135,531 during the first quarter.  Noteworthy media placements included: CNN.com, Chicago Tribune, AAA Midwest Traveler, Rejuvenate, Southern Living and Examiner.com.

Stats

As a result of bureau advertising and public relations efforts during the first quarter, 10,041 tourist information packets were mailed to people requesting information.  In addition, 122,790 visitors logged on to the bureau’s websites.

Other Activities

Other marketing and public relations activities during the first quarter included:

  • working with cooperative marketing partners to develop new media plans and creative strategies for the FY11 leisure campaign;
  • placing media advertising for leisure and convention marketing and distributing new creative to media outlets;
  • preparing and submitting fourth quarter reimbursement documents to the Missouri Division of Tourism for the FY10 Cooperative Marketing Campaign;
  • beginning work on a social media plan and increasing Springfield’s Internet presence through social networking sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Photobucket and others;
  • producing the 2011 Meeting Planners Guide;
  • hiring and training Melissa Divincen as partner development manager;
  • selling advertising in the 2011 Visitors Guide, Passport to Family Fun, Online Hotel Coupons and 2011/2012 Travel Guide; and continuing sales of website links, virtual tours and display advertising; transparency and kiosk advertising in the information centers, Springfield-Branson National Airport, and at the Expo Center; selling brochure insertions in the bureau’s fulfillment packets; and selling memberships in the bureau’s Area Marketing Partnership Program;
  • creating a Legislative Action Plan to assist the bureau in being proactive with pertinent legislative issues;
  • redesigning the CVB’s Issues & Info newsletter and publishing the Greater Springfield Area Sports Commission newsletter;
  • writing and organizing the bureau’s website e-promotions;
  • researching online database solutions to streamline internal processes and better manage contact data;
  • conducting a press visit for Patsy Bell Hobson;
  • distributing 15 press releases and generating 9 local stories or broadcasts on bureau and city activities with $4,092 in advertising equivalency value;
  • providing information to 29 journalists for the purpose of generating positive media editorial coverage for Springfield as a destination;
  • hosting a meeting of the PR Advisory Committee;
  • creating marketing pieces and advertising for the group sales department;
  • distributing the monthly Calendar of Events to media and constituents;
  • hosting meetings of the Springfield Attractions Council;
  • presenting Discover Springfield workshops to frontline staff at hotels and attractions and bureau volunteers;
  • launching a Springfield mobile application for Android and promoting the application for iPhones, BlackBerrys, and other web-enabled mobile devices;
  • attending Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference, PRSA professional development conference, MSU and Drury student welcome events, UDA mixer, Pythian Castle ribbon-cutting, Gelato Mio grand opening, and;
  • attending meetings of the DED Strategic Planning Committee, Public Relations Society of America, City Public Relations Committee, Bass Pro Shops Fitness Festival planning committee and marketing subcommittee, Leisure Advertising Cooperative Marketing Partners, Springfield Hotel-Motel Association, Springfield Attractions Council, Sales Awareness Committee, area Chambers of Commerce, Relay For Life Planning Committee, and Missouri Travel Council Board.

Click Here for the President’s Report.

Click Here for the Sales Department Report.

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Laura Whisler is the Vice President for the Springfield, Missouri, Convention & Visitors Bureau

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