2013-2014 Annual Report: Marketing

Attracted 1.66 million visits to the official tourism websites in 2013‒2014. Won two Silver Awards in the Sept. 2013 competition for W3 Awards—one for the visitRaleigh.com website and another for the CVB's mobile site; both had been redesigned and relaunched during the 2012‒2013 fiscal year. Updated visitRaleigh.com in Feb. 2014 to offer users and potential visitors the ability to book flights to and from RDU International Airport, in addition to booking area hotels and rental cars.

Helped prepare for the arrival of the International Bluegrass Music Association's first World of Bluegrass (WOB) week in Raleigh, Sept. 24-28, 2013, providing project management and Internet marketing support for a WOB Official Visitors App. Additionally, redesigned and relaunched the Bureau's mobile website early in 2014; mobile traffic now represents 44 percent of all CVB Internet sessions. Director of marketing Jonathan Freeze, CDME, attended the U.S. Travel Association's ESTO, Aug. 18-21, where he was a panelist for a session on effective mobile strategy.

2013-14 Marketing Calendar snapshotPROMOTIONAL CALENDAR
Continued to plan tourism marketing activations according to a promotional calendar, with each month devoted to a Destination I.D. and major event or thing to do in the area. One highlight was the successful, summer-long "Music Mania" leisure tourism campaign; another was the innovative tourism campaign in which area cultural presenters, CVB staff and other allies programmed and promoted Oct. 2013 as a month with "31 Days of Art."

Enacted, with support from a Live Music Advisory Committee, a long-term strategy to develop the area's live music scene into a more attractive and competitive tourism product. Began to position Greater Raleigh in the minds of potential visitors as the destination with the most live music in N.C. Central to the strategy is the most complete, year-round calendar of area live music events readily available to visitors.

Completed a study in Aug. 2013 with Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, resulting in the first-ever report on the total economic impact of tourism in Greater Raleigh. Calculated that visitors to the Raleigh area spent $1.9 billion in 2012, which generated $3.0 billion in total business sales, including indirect and induced impacts--among other findings. Laid plans to repeat the study biennially.

Deployed a robust advertising plan with leisure, meeting group and sports markets, resulting in brand impressions and customer conversions. Won two Destination Marketing Achievement Awards for advertising from the Destination Marketing Association of N.C.: a Gold for Destination Print Advertising (Leisure) for the "Raleigh Revisited" promotion, which ran in Our State magazine, and a Platinum for Destination Print Advertising (Group) for GRCVB's accolades-based ad creative placed in meeting planner-targeted publications.

Social Media Twitter snapshotSOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Reached 16,955 total likes for visitRaleigh on Facebook and 17,139 total followers of visitRaleigh on Twitter, through constant social media marketing activity on both platforms in accordance with yearlong strategies. The Bureau grows its audience on both in order to engage past, present and future Greater Raleigh visitors, driving more interest, preference and demand for the area and its destination brand.

Visitors Guide Covers snapshotOFFICIAL VISITORS GUIDES
Produced and distributed 180,000 printed Official Visitors Guides, in conjunction with GRCVB's Services Department, and offered the guide digitally at raleighvisitorsguide.com. Released a request for proposals in June 2014 to select the custom publisher for carrying out advertising sales, production, printing and shipping of the 2015 Official Visitors Guide to Raleigh, Cary and Wake County.

Revamped the CVB's and GRSA's SmartCard program for arriving groups; the revamped program—a partnership benefit for area businesses—is now administered entirely through PIXL (Partner Information eXchange Login) and website-driven listings, instead of by a third-party deals network. Area restaurants, attractions, event/festival organizers and service providers are encouraged to submit a deal or special offer in order to draw more attention from group visitors who arrive every week in Greater Raleigh.

Issued a request for services in Apr. 2014 seeking proposals from qualified firms for a destination brand strategy reassessment; working with the selected consultant (Development Counsellors International) in late 2014, the Bureau will reassess the strategy that has been in place since 2007-2008 and further distill or tune-up the visitRaleigh brand strategy for the next five years and beyond based on research.