In late 2012, 1dea Design + Media Inc. engaged in a discussion with the 1000 Islands Accommodation Partners (TIAP) about contributing our creative services in a much greater capacity by managing and executing all tourism marketing on behalf of TIAP in support of Gananoque tourism. This involved drafting a 3-year marketing plan and conceptualizing a major creative campaign. This is where the “Win an Island for a Week” campaign – founded by our Creative Director Karen Bonhomme was born. What unfolded from there was more than 1dea or TIAP could have imagined. The “Win an Island” campaign took home the top prize of the evening at the 2014 Tourism Industry Association of Ontario Awards gala on Thursday, November 13, winning the prominent Tourism Advertising Award in the Marketing Awards of Excellence category.
The Ontario Tourism Awards
The Ontario Tourism Awards are a celebration of excellence and an opportunity to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to the tourism industry. The awards honour a commitment to tourism growth, while celebrating significant achievement in promoting the tourism industry. Essentially, the Marketing Awards of Excellence recognize the results achieved when sharp strategy and impactful creative are united.
Hundreds of tourism professionals from across the province, including 1dea’s Trevor Trewartha and Karen Bonhomme, and Kathrine Christensen, TIAP’s executive director, gathered at Blue Mountain Resort to engage in industry trends and forecasts, share best practices, network with colleagues and to recognize industry leaders. As a finalist for both the Tourism Interactive Marketing Award and the Tourism Advertising Award, 1000 Islands Tourism was up against major players from across the province, including Ottawa Tourism and Tourism Partnership of Niagara Falls.
The Campaign Objective
The overall objective of the “Win an Island” campaign was simple. We needed a campaign we could grab a hold of, stand out amongst other tourism destinations and one that had the potential to put the 1000 Islands on the map in an effort to captivate the attention of independent travellers in Canada and abroad. For impact and memorability, we utilized the contest as the main focus for all advertising. To enter the free contest, advertising teased a call-to-action to visit 1000islandstourism.com/contests or winanisland.ca. One lucky winner received the ultimate vacation package, including:
• 4 night, 5 day stay at the historic Sampson Island in the 1000 Islands
• A private boat shuttle service available upon request for the duration of winner’s stay
• Passes for a Gananoque Boat Line boat tour
• Tickets to a Thousand Islands Playhouse theatre performance
• Dinner vouchers at a Gananoque and area restaurant(s)
• An “on-island” catered dockside barbeque for the winner and up to 30 of the winner’s friends
• Spending vouchers for use in downtown Gananoque
• Free bicycle rentals
• A 1 day kayaking lesson and tour
• An 18 hole round of golf at Smuggler’s Glen
• 1 skydiving jump with Skydive Gananoque
• Complimentary fishing charter tour
In turn, contest entrants were asked a series of questions pertaining to their travelling habits. The May to October campaign attracted over 13,100 contest entries and nearly tripled TIAP’s year over year website traffic to just under 62,000 visitors. By visiting the contest landing page, we were able to introduce Gananoque and the 1000 Islands to consumers who may not have otherwise known the 1000 Islands existed. “Our entire advertising campaign almost exclusively promoted the contest itself, says Trewartha. “It’s the perfect way to create engagement and a call-to-action in advertising that’s sometimes hard to find. Who wouldn’t want to enter a free draw to ‘Win an Island for a Week’?”
Currently in the 2nd year of the 3-year initiative, our 2014 “Win an Island for a Week”
campaign has attracted some very interesting results. They include:
• The 2014 contest has just concluded and resulted in 14,485 contest entries
(up from 13,123 in 2013).
• From January 1st to November 25th, 2014 1000islandstourism.com has attracted 83,580 unique visitors to the site, which is an increase from just under 62,000 visitors for the full calendar year of 2013.
• In 2012, 1000islandstourism.com attracted just over 22,000 unique visitors to the site, meaning we’ve witnessed a 400+% increase in visitor traffic in less then 2 years.
• Social media engagement has dramatically increased. We began 2013 with just over 50 Facebook “likes” at 1000 Islands Accommodation Partners Facebook page. As of November 26th, there are 2,512 fans supporting the Facebook page and engaged in the conversation about Gananoque and the 1000 Islands tourism.
• In 2013, we began collecting e-newsletter subscribers through an opt-in process on the contest landing page. Since May 2013, we’ve had 9,645 subscribe to the TIAP e-newsletter…a resounding success!
• Our 2013 winner was from Ottawa whereas our 2014 winner is from Chicago. We look forward to welcoming this year’s lucky winner to Gananoque and the 1000 Islands this summer.
We’re thrilled and proud of what the TIAP marketing campaign has accomplished. We continue to also co-ordinate all advertising and media buys on behalf of TIAP and the performance of this advertising has been tremendous.
TIAP is a wonderful organization and we’re so thankful for the ongoing support (both financial and execution) by executive director, Kathrine Christensen and all of the accommodation partners who make TIAP the organization it is.
We can’t wait to co-ordinate the next big idea!