Tennessee’s vacation matchmaker project recognized, further expands local tourism potential
By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor
The National Council of State Tourism Directors recently presented the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) with two Mercury Awards at the U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations.
Those awards included an award for Tennessee Vacation MatchMaker in the Special Projects category and Live from Tennessee in the Digital Campaign category.
The Tennessee Vacation MatchMaker digital advertising campaign used pre-roll ads edited in real time to match all the viewer’s online behaviors, likes and interests. The geo-targeting filter even ensured the attractions shown were within driving distance of the viewer’s home, and generated more than 40 million video views and 2.5 million social impressions in four weeks.
“The success of the MatchMaker campaign, which was part of a 2016 co-op program, led us to participate in TDTD’s 2017 Spring Match My Trip co-op which has generated incredible results in exposure to our targeted drive and fly markets,” Molly Brown, Director of Public Relations & Marketing with the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitor’s Bureau, said.
Locally, the Match My Trip campaign brought in a social influencer and photographer Paul Tellefsen for an advance Middle Tennessee trip to gather images, sample an itinerary, and create content for the project, Brown said.
The trip was then presented as a sweepstakes via TDTD’s various marketing platforms. Guests had to guess the potential itinerary in order to be entered to win the trip – a Nashville, Clarksville, Cookeville route toured by Tellefsen.
His trip was also documented on his Instagram account, a profile with more than 93,000 followers, and on www.tnvacation.com with an article about the trip; further boosting the potential outreach. As a result, nearly 1,000 people demonstrated significant interest in travel to the region.
“These leads were from individuals who directly responded to the Match My Trip campaign with a specific interest in visiting,” said Brown. “We now have the opportunity to create targeted, follow-up campaigns directed to those potential guests with a goal of inspiring travel to Cookeville-Putnam County.”
Tellefsen has recently requested to return to the area, bringing an additional social influencer along. A Falls in the Fall trip is tentatively planned for October 2017.
“In addition to inspiring our local strategies and as well as our partnerships with TDTD, successes such as the Mercury Awards lead us to encourage our local design agency, WDStone & Associates, to seek similar awards and recognition in the hospitality industry for the launch of our new website,” Brown said. “We feel their work holds a high standard among the industry, especially in the digital and design arena.”
According to TDTD Commissioner Kevin Triplett, these award-winning campaigns attracted more than 110 million visitors and generated more than $19.3 billion for the state economy last year.