Connecticut Office of Tourism: Bucket List

Overview Videos Social Media Web Articles Earned Media
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Insights

Recent brand awareness studies for Connecticut showed that resident pride had continued to slip steadily and only one-third of residents reported being proud to live in Connecticut. This was unfortunate timing as tourism businesses were clamoring for more in-state visitation which is critical to their success. At the same time, the news director of our local Fox affiliate (FOX61) was also bent on bringing the state some good news.

With a limited budget for in-state programs, we partnered with FOX61 to break through this negativity. Our strategy was to create a program that would collect and amplify the authentic voices of our residents who were proud of the state and could inspire others. We developed—in less than a month—an innovative, non-paid partnership that could reach the audience using an integrated mix of all of the platforms between the two partners, including FOX61’s on air mentions, special segments and social platforms, as well as COT’s social platforms, content marketing and email programs. Through these touchpoints, we sought to engage residents and encourage them to recommend their favorite places to visit to other residents.

Ideas

We concepted and named this buzz-building program “What’s on Your Connecticut BucketList?”. Our research had shown that in-state residents were four times more engaged on social media than out-of-state residents. So, we supported the media partnership with a highly integrated array of tactics that were all linked through the hashtag #CTBucketList, in order to foster and monitor positive conversation through social. We worked closely with FOX61 reporters/producers to feed them new ideas about attractions to feature in their segments and provided ready access to Connecticut thought leaders for interviews. We used COT’s social media channels to offer inspirational #CTBucketList ideas through weekly Instagram stories featuring a variety of partners. We also developed an array of engaging, interactive #CTBucketList posts including Instagram Story bingo and fill-in-the-blank cards, Instagram Story and Facebook “This or That” polls, Facebook LIVE and published FOX61 “Daytrippers” CT travel segments.

We also partnered with FOX61 to create an online landing page for the campaign to house the hashtag feed, which displayed real-time #CTBucketList social media user submissions. On the state’s official tourism website, CTvisit.com, we created a variety of articles that included social media user-generated #CTBucketList ideas. To drive traffic to these articles we used social posts as well as emails. And to help drive interest in the campaign and expand our reach, we created 20 different :15 and :30 second horizontal (broadcast) as well as vertical (digital/mobile) promotional videos that FOX61 promoted on-air regularly and on the station’s social channels— all at no cost. We also posted those videos through COT’s social media channels and paid to promote them to in-state residents through targeted advertising.

Impact

The six-month, almost no-cost campaign earned spectacular results for in-state tourism. Using GPS-based tracking technology from Arrivalist, we showed that Connecticut residents who saw our campaign were twice as likely to travel within Connecticut (beyond 25 mi.) than residents who were not exposed. Additionally, it:

  • Reached 3,860,797 people across social channels and generated 659,599 positive engagements
  • Drove 66,030 clicks to CTvisit.com and the FOX61 website, capturing more than a 500,000 video views on social media
  • Amplified positive voices for Connecticut by inspiring more than 2,000 enthusiastic posts on Instagram using the hashtag #CTBucketList and furthering positive buzz for in-state tourism
  • Generated significant media coverage with more than 4 million earned media impressions during the summer and fall seasons and secured four on-air interviews for the Director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism
  • Featured ~500 tourism businesses of all sizes across the state of Connecticut