Marketing & Communications
Award-winning and record-breaking visitRaleigh.com
Continued to attract record traffic to the official tourism sites in 2018-2019, including 3.06 million sessions in 2018-2019 (an all-time high, smashing last fiscal year’s record of 2.48 million sessions by 23 percent). The CVB’s visitRaleigh.com site, redesigned/relaunched in Dec. 2017, also won a Silver Adrian Award at the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association’s Jan. 2019 Awards Dinner Reception and Gala and won Gold for Website Design in May 2019 Hermes Creative Awards announcements. Tracked arrivals by individual travelers during the fiscal year as a result of website visits totaled 7,464 (out of 12,616 total arrivals—the rest of which were a result of destination advertising initiatives, mentioned below).
The CVB continued to highly focus on its content marketing strategy, including an emphasis on insider articles, content about the destination’s passionate minds (profile pages, videos—mentioned below—and more) and distribution of this content via owned (email marketing) and non-owned (social media, native ads etc.) channels. Content continues to be used to attract leisure tourism and inspire trips, grow online audiences and website traffic, engage locals (Backyard Boosters), build destination brand and CVB brand loyalty and heighten the Bureau’s reputation as the official voice for tourism in Raleigh, N.C. Traffic to the leisure tourism blog increased by 340 percent in the 2018-2019 fiscal year over the previous. The Bureau also continued to produce articles for meeting planners, including destination news, features on unique meeting sites in Raleigh, N.C., and more as part of the content marketing strategy.
Tourism editorial calendar
Continued to plan tourism marketing activations according to an editorial calendar, with each month devoted to a specific editorial emphasis driven by key messaging-defining destination themelines, plus destination pillars (themes; e.g., arts, culinary, live music etc.) consistently being touched on through content throughout the year.
After participating throughout 2017-2018 in local planning efforts for Wake County’s first-ever Destination Strategic Plan (DSP), managed the DSP’s public conclusion and implementation kickoff via the Aug. 2018 GRCVB Annual Meeting. Launched a new, permanent site section housing the plan documentation and Destination 2028 implementation progress at visitRaleigh.com/2028. Worked with DSP consultant JLL by Nov. 2018 to finalize all marketing implications for the DSP’s implementation. Acted on several implications to begin with fiscal year 2019-2020 including preparing with the Information Technology Department to upgrade the Bureau’s Arrivalist platform and agreeing to a strategic alliance with People-First Tourism, Inc., for new experience development and fulfillment support.
Social media marketing
Through consistent social media marketing activity on platforms in accordance with yearlong strategies, the CVB accomplished the following in 2018-2019:
- Facebook (@visitRaleigh)
- Reached 68,657 Likes; 8.7-percent increase since previous fiscal year
- 561,996 total audience engagements
- Twitter (@visitRaleigh)
- Reached 64,800 followers; 3.3-percent increase
- 59,816 engagements
- Instagram (@visitRaleigh)
- 28,750 followers; 37.6-percent increase
- 99,865 engagements
Extended the award-winning video strategy highlighting passionate locals and sharing Raleigh, N.C., through their eyes. Continued producing videos in an "interview" style (example here), plus began producing more people-focused, vignette-style videos to be distributed and promoted in the 2019-2020 fiscal year showcasing visitor interest points beyond that of the passionate mind's own (example here). Produced several videos highlighting the destination overall, which sparked incredible engagement on social media platforms (example here). Collected destination b-roll footage at 23 points of interest throughout the fiscal year.
With the Bureau’s 2018-2019 advertising and marketing communications agency of record (MSA Marketing, Inc., now transitioning to the name Avenir Bold), deployed a robust, yearlong ad plan with leisure visitor, local/visiting-friends-and-relatives, meeting group and sports event-planning markets, resulting in 12,410,270 new brand impressions and in customer conversions including 5,152 tracked arrivals by individual travelers (out of a total of 12,616 arrivals during the fiscal year). Began a refresh of the ad creative look-and-feel for all vertical markets, to be deployed in late 2019.
Official visitors guides
Renewed 2018-2019 relationship with Compass Media as custom publisher to carry out advertising sales, production, printing and shipping for the new Official Visitors Guide to Raleigh, Cary and Wake County. Printed 145,000 Visitors Guides in May 2019, for yearlong distribution in conjunction with the CVB’s Convention Services Department, and offered the new guide digitally at raleighvisitorsguide.com.
Convention sales and services support
Honored with Gold in the N.C. Travel Industry Association’s (NCTIA’s) Tourism Marketing Achievement Awards for the 2018-2019 tradeshow theme “Originally Raleigh” and new approach to tradeshows and potential client introductions based on the destination brand promise and built around four subthemes—food, drinks, style and indulgences. Added a new position, group marketing manager, to the Marketing and Communications Department in May 2019 to better support the content and direct marketing needs of these two departments as well as of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.
Community engagement strategies
Continued to plan and publish new Tourism Talk blog posts weekly in 2018-2019, one tactic under new community engagement strategies for the Bureau, which began to be deployed in July 2017 and which won a Platinum Award in the NCTIA’s 2018 awards program. Along with the Administration, Marketing and Communications and Public Relations and International Tourism Departments, updated the strategies further for 2019 and 2020, defining target audiences/talking points specific to the new years (see 2019-2020 Business Plan). Created a community engagement resource kit at visitRaleigh.com/tourismmatters as well as commissioned a new, yearlong research project with North Carolina State University to determine target audiences’ current perceptions of the important role/impacts of tourism in Raleigh/Wake County as well their perceptions of the Bureau and willingness to engage as advocates for the CVB’s mission.
Tourism Talk revised strategy
Reconceptualized the Bureau’s communications strategy for local stakeholders and partners, including the July 2017 deployment of a Tourism Talk blog within a redesigned Tourism Talk weekly e-newsletter. Planned and published new blog posts weekly in 2017-2018, writing in-depth for the first time online about destination marketing issues for local stakeholders as readers. Also promoted quarterly Marketing Update Meetings under the new brand name of Tourism Talk Live, beginning in Nov. 2017, to complement the new, online community engagement efforts. The department also participated in local planning efforts for Wake County’s first-ever Destination Strategic Plan throughout the fiscal year.
Official visitors guides
Renewed 2017-2018 relationship with Compass Media as custom publisher to carry out advertising sales, production, printing and shipping for the new Official Visitors Guide to Raleigh, Cary and Wake County. Printed 150,000 Visitors Guides in May 2018, for yearlong distribution in conjunction with the CVB’s Services Department, and offered the new guide digitally at raleighvisitorsguide.com.