In Georgia, we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to types of attractions – cities, civil rights heritage sites, beaches, mountains and presidential trails. There’s something for everyone. We’ve also seen our visitor demographics shift, incorporating more diversity and younger groups of travelers. Doing justice to all of our attractions and our audiences didn’t seem doable with the limited budget we had.
We breathed new life into Georgia Tourism by studying visitor data, seeking feedback from our partners in the field and engaging in honest dialogue about what today’s Georgia visitor really wants. What we found was that all visitors to Georgia, regardless of their demographics, are inspired by the same thing – a chance to have an unscripted, memory-making, visceral experience that they can’t find anywhere else. They also want to experience an authentic Georgia – to get off the beaten path, to meet the locals and just possibly to find themselves through music, food and beauty. Knowing that the younger audiences would recognize staged experiences from a mile away, it was important that we find a way to tell a first-hand travel story our audience could project themselves into. We turned to social media to inspire us and found an incredible treasure trove of breathtaking moments. We sourced social media influencers, GA Tourism’s social media followers and regular citizens to create a user-generated content campaign that highlights the incredible diversity our state has to offer. Through the curated content, we showcase true stories of Georgia’s landscape, culture and unique destinations to inspire travel to and around our state. An added benefit of this approach is that we are able to produce a huge amount of content without the cost burden of frequent productions, a problem in the past. The work we did to redefine our Georgia Tourism audience and mindset also had major ramifications on what channels and products we chose to focus on. We shifted our market priorities driving one more night or increasing the value of an average stay. We chose channels that could help us deliver large volumes of content to a variety of audiences, all with the purpose of driving increased website traffic. We invested in a TV spot that brings User Generated Content together with an iconic Georgia soundtrack. And we focused on highlighting the types of attractions that can deliver that transformative experience our visitor is seeking.
Ongoing brand research points to the positive impact of the campaign on interest (150% more likely to seek information) and intent to travel to Georgia (75% more likely to visit). We also set records for most visitors, highest travel spending and jobs created.