One of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s goals for New York City was to reach 50 million visitors per year by 2015. Based on street interviews in Lincoln Center and Times Square, an interview with a representative from NYCGO (New York’s visitors’ bureau), and data from Longwoods Travel USA, LaPlaca Cohen, and the New York Economic Development Corporation (EDC), my team developed a communications strategy that would capture another 1.3 million visitors to add to the current 48.7.
We targeted cultural indulgers who live within a 300-mile radius of NYC, have visited NYC before, and have average household incomes of $85,000 or more. NYCGO indicated that this market has not reached saturation and that this sector has been consistently growing at or above the pace of overall domestic tourists (11%).
Our objective: to convince 10% of current NYC cultural visitors to book one additional trip per year to NYC to attend a cultural event.
In order to identify a brand promise for New York, we evaluated it within the competitive set: Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., regional cities such as New Haven and Princeton, and the option to stay home. Although New York was the more costly choice, it had far more new and exclusive cultural events, and a greater variety of cultural events.
Our research indeed showed that novelty was important to cultural indulgers, so the role of our strategy was to amplify cultural indulgers’ desire to come to New York for another new or exclusive cultural event.
We created an integrated marketing strategy centering on the “NYCmore” campaign. According to the EDC, “The common needs across all segments were better information, preferably personalized information, and assistance in physically navigating the city.” Therefore, our strategy encompassed not only a mix of paid, earned, and social media, but also the launch of a personalized multimedia event-alert app which included a cultural calendar and map.