Ski Campaign Lifts Travel Marketing to New Heights

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The Strategy: While the clarion call of the slopes would be a more obvious focus for a travel campaign promoting the amenities of a ski destination, the North Lake Tahoe Marketing Cooperative (NLTMC) and San Francisco-based agency School of Thought decided to take a slightly more subtle approach with its advertising initiative this past winter. Despite targeting winter sports enthusiasts in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas (ages 18 to 54) with kids, the campaign messaging was emotive, with taglines—for example, “Your life called. It wants its balance back”—designed to present a trip to Tahoe as a sort of inner restoration of the soul.

The Channel: NLTMC's $3.3 million integrated winter campaign tapped a variety of touchpoints, including billboards, print ads, advertorial spreads, TV and Internet radio spots, blogger outreach, banners, Facebook, and posts on outdoor sports and parenting websites.

The Creative: The extensive out-of-home effort also featured 275 ads stenciled onto the steep streets of San Francisco with the message: “All these hills and no snow. What a waste.”

The Results: The North Lake Tahoe area saw a significant increase in hotel stays in 2012, with an over 31% uptick in bookings and a more than 36% boost in marketing ROI.

Customer View: NLTMC's Facebook community is effusive in its love for the location—with one fan gushing in early March: “Hope it snows every day until I get there!” Its Twitter followers are, as well: “off to @TahoeNorth again this weekend to snowboard cause kids had so much fun last weekend at #EscapeToNorthTahoe.”

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