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January 12 , 2010

Shift to 100% web advertising pays off
Tourism Montreal's plan yields positive results

Tourisme Montréal has released its year-end results on promotional strategies executed over the course of the year. The results are positive, in spite of the global economic crisis that affected the entire tourism industry in 2009.

Last April, Tourisme Montréal announced through a press release its intention to double its efforts to counter the economic morass and to attract to the city a market that destinations all over the world are competing for. At this year end, the Montréal promotional organization has cause to celebrate, as its efforts with respect to various markets have paid off.

1. Leisure market

In May of 2008, Tourisme Montréal unveiled its new Web platform, intended to provide a more tangible tourism experience and to enhance the positioning of Montréal as a destination based on various target markets.  

Based on user-friendliness, interactivity and ability to enable onsite buying decisions, the new site is a reflection of how consumers' needs have turned more to the web as a tool for researching destinations, planning trips and getting the kind of authentic experiences they want out of their vacations.

In April 2009, Tourisme Montréal announced the start of a daring and innovative 100% web-based campaign , the goal of which was to satisfy the ever-increasingly pressing demands of the tourist market while facing the organization's budgetary restrictions caused by a bleak economy. There were two distinct components to this campaign. The first one, which showcased the popular Sweet Deal through the placement of advertising banners on several travel sites – to count on a captive market already in the process of choosing a destination – aimed at converting visits into sales. The optimization of this media strategy, in tandem with increasingly precise consumer targeting, resulted in a 51% rise in Sweet Deal conversions.

The second part of the campaign, “ Get the local buzz from Montréal Insiders ,” consisted of having Internet users discover the many faces of the city through five blogs, each one written by Montréal insiders who love their beat. The contents were made accessible through Tourisme Montréal's website, but were also disseminated through various social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, as well as You Tube and many other travel and lifestyle sites. Promotional offensives – particularly in Toronto and New York – were also launched in tandem.

The “Get the local buzz from Montréal Insiders” campaign alone generated more than 360 articles posted on the Tourisme Montréal site, with 435 photos and 145 videos shown on the blogs. With 142 videos on You Tube and over external 700 links, comments and articles, journalists and bloggers generated as much as did our insiders. It's worth mentioning that one of the Montréal insiders, Tamy Emma Pépin , managed to bring to Montréal the much-celebrated creator of the successful Wine Library TV blog to promote his book Crush It. Tamy is one the most followed Quebecers on Twitter.

Figures recently compiled to measure the combined impact of these strategies indicate an 19.5% increase in unique visits to the Tourisme Montréal site.

2. Business market

The meeting and convention industry received a direct hit from the economic crisis, especially due to the major drop in travel. That's why Tourisme Montréal specifically targeted convention planners – with ads in trade magazines – to advertise an irresistible proposal: an exclusive financial offer to large multi-hotel associations.

The challenge was great, as the market in this industry is less receptive to change than the tourism market. The creative approach must then be skilfully adjusted to pique their curiosity while meeting the specific needs of professionals. The strategy put forward by Tourisme Montréal was based on a traditional vehicle: a brochure, but also on a video aimed at generating conversational capital (the viral effect), a first for this kind of market.

The results show that out of 4,595 emails sent out, 1,584 recipients visited the site and viewed the financial-offer video representing an average of 34% of those targeted.

3. Awards

Since it went online in May 2008, the Tourisme Montréal website has earned several prestigious awards, but the print advertising created by Sid Lee, the organization's prominent agency, also won awards.

Last October, at the Meetings Industry Marketing Awards (MIMA ) ceremony organized by Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine, Tourisme Montréal won bronze in the Best Print Advertising Campaign category for its “ When We Say Host City We Mean It” print campaign. Tourisme Montréal was the only organization in North America to win such a prize, which recognizes excellence in service within the industry.

A few months earlier in May, the Tourisme Montréal website won the prestigious Webby Award , tourism category. For the past thirteen years the Webby Awards have been recognizing excellence in website content, which includes current consumption products, sports, science and education, and in more than 70 distinct categories.

On April 8, the Grand Prix Créa 2009 , promotional website category, was awarded to Tourisme Montréal for excellence in its artistic advertising.

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