the woodlands convention & visitors bureau
As a tourist destination, The Woodlands offers a unique mix of retail and relaxation. On one hand, it has 1,400 hotel rooms and 6 million square feet of shopping and dining. (For those that know Houston, that's roughly the same as the Galleria and its surrounding retail strip malls.)
On the other hand, The Woodlands also offers unrivaled access to natural beauty — the signature of the development. Visitors have access to 110 parks, 162 miles of biking and walking trails, a beautiful new boathouse for kayaking, a handful of world-class golf courses, and more. (They claim more than 3 million trees…we can't argue.)
The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau, a relatively new organization in The Woodlands, uses a portion of sales tax receipts to promote the area each year. As a public entity, they have a policy of holding an RFP process every two years, and in 2008, John Manlove Marketing & Communications was invited to participate.
After an initial assessment, we felt that The Woodlands had little notoriety outside of the Greater Houston area — we saw plenty of opportunity. We developed a viable strategy to attract tourists from across Texas and parts of Mexico. The plan balanced maximum reach against a limited budget. Due to its reliance on sales tax levels, the budget is also uncertain.
Based on that plan and some spec creative, the TWCVB’s marketing committee unanimously chose JMMC as its new agency of record.
Brand Analysis: The Woodlands has a lot to offer travelers, and the amenities come from such broad ends of the spectrum. Big cities offer shopping and dining, and small towns offer nature — The Woodlands has both. Also, as a community, The Woodlands primarily targets homebuyers in the upper-middle to upper class - travelers to area would likely be comfortable if they also fit this demographic.
Brand Position/Promise: For families and couples, especially those in Texas and Mexico, The Woodlands is a unique travel destination. The nice balance of the natural and the metropolitan make it perfect for relaxation, partying, snuggling or swimming, and with Houston so close, it's easy to get to by car or plane.
Brand Identity: We developed and tested a creative theme called "Fashions in Travel." To demonstrate the wide variety of activities and reach a "fashionable" audience, we used serious models wearing somewhat silly outfits. A man with a suit and tie has board shorts instead of slacks — a fashion we called "business tropical." A woman with a nice dress has a life vest as a fashion accessory — Waterway Chic.
• Use of a unique and creative theme — "Fashions in Travel"
• Search-engine advertising, online display advertising and print advertising through-out Texas.
• Television advertising to an area of East Texas around Tyler, Lufkin and Nacogdoches.
• Online display ads and print ads directed at the most affluent audiences in Mexico.
We don't have prior-year data to compare it with, but we were pleased with our ability to generate web traffic as a result of our campaigns. From February 2009 to March 2009, through some print ads and our web-based tactics, we were able to increase traffic to the site about 50 percent. That translated to roughly 140 extra visitors per day. Also, in April, when advertising was slowed and the rest of the site traffic leveled off, our television spot increased traffic from East Texas by more than 60 percent.
Given the restrictions of a budget based on sales tax receipts, we were also very pleased with our ability to develop cost-effective advertising methods. We achieved more than 2.5 million impressions and 4,000 site visits online for a cost-per-thousand of less than $2.