||Overseas Tourism Marketers Book More U.S. Sponsorships
Properties That Can Demonstrate Interest in Specific Foreign Travel Destinations on the Part of Audience Members Should Target Destination Marketers
With international travel by U.S. consumers on the rebound, more foreign tourism councils are using sponsorship to promote their locales as desirable destinations.
Among recent activity, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism have come on board as new sponsors of the NBA New Jersey Nets, while Travel Alberta -- the destination marketing organization for the province of Alberta, Canada -- last month announced a renewal of its year-old status as official travel destination of the NHL Anaheim Ducks and the Honda Center arena.
Those destination marketing organizations follow in the footsteps of other tourism councils who launched sponsorship efforts when U.S. visitor counts began declining during the recession.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. citizen outbound overseas non-stop air passenger traffic rose 11 percent in June 2010 over the year-ago period. The increase marked the sixth month-over-month increase since December 2009.
The turnaround in travel has sparked a round of new spending, with foreign tourism councils primarily focused on properties located in their top-drawing markets.
For example, Travel Alberta aligned with the Ducks based on research that showed Orange County, Calif. as a significant source of visitors to the Canadian province that is home to Calgary, Edmonton and Banff.
"Our partnership with the Ducks and Honda Center has proven to be an effective means of reaching potential travelers in the primary market of Southern California," said Wade Harper, Travel Alberta's executive director, international marketing, in a statement.
Similarly, the U.S. Virgin Islands partnered with the Nets in part to maintain top-of-mind positioning among consumers in the New York City area, the destination's top-drawing market.
Amos Varon, the Nets' managing director, corporate partnerships, noted that the fall-through-spring NBA season also gives the Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic presence during a key time when residents of the Northeast are considering travel to warm-weather destinations.
In addition to media and other standard benefits, each of the Nets' foreign tourism partners will sponsor at least one home game to promote their destinations. The games will include visits by island dignitaries as well as promotional item giveaways, Varon said.
Below, IEG SR shares tips on selling foreign tourism councils:
Research audience travel patterns. As in the Ducks and Nets examples, properties should understand the travel habits of consumers in their market and conduct research that documents their audience's travel activity and interest to properly target their most likely prospects in the category.
Questions about travel can be included in a property's ongoing audience research efforts.
Help develop a database. Properties should work with sponsors to capture names and contact information partners can use to follow-up with travel information and promotional offers.
For example, the Mexico Tourism Board has leveraged its sponsorship of the Chicago Red Stars Women's Professional Soccer League team with a Soccer Mom of the Year contest. The board used the contest to gain information from fans, including the size of their family, whether or not they have been to Mexico, and the frequency of their family vacations.
Facilitate cross-promotions. Like other sponsors, foreign tourism councils often look to conduct joint marketing activities with cosponsors, particularly those that may have a physical local presence.
For example, Travel Alberta this year is leveraging its Ducks partnerships through a cross-promotion with Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Co., a new team sponsor. The restaurant chain is hosting 11 viewing parties for out-of-market games, around which Travel Alberta is running a sweepstakes dangling a trip for two to Calgary to watch the Ducks play the Calgary Flames.
"We decided to participate by offering a grand prize trip; that's something we will have fun with," said Hugh Wakeham, president of Wakeham & Assocs. Marketing, which helped Travel Alberta develop and execute the program.
Travel Alberta plans to expand its Ducks activation in 2011 by hosting a fan appreciation event that will feature attraction and entertainment options in Alberta, Wakeham added.
Attend trade shows. As in prospecting other categories, properties should attend trade shows to identify potential partners and gain contacts in the tourism industry.
For example, the Nets attended tourism conferences in New York City to identify potential corporate partners, Varon said. "Just like any other category, we went wide and deep."
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report, 11/08/10)
How You Can Make Money:
In addition to larger properties (and sports teams), tourist bureaus have been known to purchase sponsorship options for station events and co-partner for in-store and other retail campaigns.
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