What You Can Do with $10k, Five Partners and a Plan Patricia Washington President & CEO, Visit Alexandria ONE Travel Conference January 27, 2015 Northern Virginia Visitors Consortium (NVVC) The Northern Virginia Visitors Consortium (NVVC) exists to promote and drive visitation to the Northern Virginia region The Challenge • Sequestration • New markets to offset losses in federal government business Why Canada? • Virginia’s largest international market: 651,000 visitors (2012) (+3%) • Visitor Spending (2012): $155 million (+4%) • High brand awareness of Virginia is for Lovers already in Canada • Shopping, sightseeing, outdoor recreation and historic places • Strong Canadian economy • Most immediate ROI from investment • Focus: Ontario and Quebec • 90% of visitors, VTC in-market rep, drivable distance Project Goals • Capitalize on already significant Canadian visitation to Virginia to lure them as new visitors to Northern Virginia by creating a differentiating vibe and personality for the region. • Target and motivate Canadians seeking shopping, culinary, history, wine, and outdoor recreation to come to Northern Virginia. Strategies • We are aiming to attract first-time Canadian visitors to Northern Virginia for a vacation, as well as first timers who are driving through the region, to stay overnight. • Position Northern Virginia’s marketing to leverage Virginia is for Lovers, which already has high brand awareness in the Canadian market. • Raise the profile of Northern Virginia specifically to Canadians who may be familiar with the state of Virginia but not realize the region’s variety of offerings. Strategies • Attract snowbirds heading even further south of Virginia – especially those heading to Florida – to split up their trip by overnighting in Northern Virginia. • The majority of travelers from Ontario and Quebec travel to the U.S. by car (84 and 86 percent, respectively), the marketing message can convey the wide range of options available to Canadians when they have their vehicles on vacation in Virginia. What are Canadians looking for? Budget $10,000 from each partner = $50,000 Virginia Tourism Corporation grant: $25,000 Leveraged investment from Virginia tourism marketing $75,000 TOTAL: $150,000 Year One Tactics • Name and Identity Development • Web Presence • Collateral Piece • Creative Assets • Brand USA Video • Media Recommendations • Public Relations • Direct Sales • Sales Missions • Tradeshow • Media and Trade Familiarization Trips Early Results • Over $300,000 in PR value from 20 media hits • Over 16,000 web visits in first 2 months The Value of Partnerships • Money • Brand awareness • Combined product assets • Setting the stage for future projects • Don’t fear embracing your regional competitors! Virginia’s Cultural Region Website and Brand Video http://www.virginia.org/VirginiasCulturalRegion Thank you!