US capital targets travelers with powerful summer marketing campaign

As part of National Travel and Tourism Week, Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for the nation's capital, announced a new multi-platform marketing campaign targeting regio

US capital targets travelers with powerful summer marketing campaign

As part of National Travel and Tourism Week, Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for the nation’s capital, announced a new multi-platform marketing campaign targeting regional travelers, families, and urban explorers. Designed to boost summer travel to DC, the campaign combines print, online, in-movie theater and television advertising, along with creative partnerships with consumer products and films, catering to value-minded travelers by focusing on DC’s free attractions, fun festivals, and hot hotel deals.

Destination DC outlined its 2009 summer campaign during a public event held today in honor of the first-ever US Travel Rally Day. The announcement shortly after the US Travel Association released its summer travel forecast, projecting a 2.2 percent decline in summer leisure travel volume compared to summer 2008.

“Travelers are searching for good deals this summer, and there are plenty of great values to be had in DC,” said Bill Hanbury, president and CEO, Destination DC. “With so many free attractions and funky festivals, there’s energy and excitement throughout the city. We’ve worked with a variety of partners to create fun promotions and events for travelers with different interests.”

This summer’s efforts build upon the successful “power” campaign launched by Destination DC last spring. Creative messages invite visitors to experience “only in DC moments” – from the museums, monuments, and memorials along America’s front yard to the neighborhood hot spots in DC’s backyard. The 2008 marketing campaign generated nearly a 3 to 1 return on investment in new tax dollars, according to an independent study fielded by Destination DC with oversight from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia.

By negotiating with national media outlets and partnering with consumer product brands, Destination DC secured an additional US$5.6 million in exposure value, lifting its US$1.6 million marketing investment to a US$7.2 million campaign. Destination DC’s summer marketing program was boosted by a US$750,000 investment from the Washington Convention Center Authority. The campaign and promotional partnerships are designed to connect with urban explorers, family travelers, urban explorers, and history buffs in major regional markets such as New York, Philadelphia, and Raleigh.

To target family travelers, Destination DC is partnering with national consumer brands Post Cereals and Kraft Foods to celebrate the city’s starring role in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” Working with Metro, Destination DC created a custom microsite,, and brochure highlighting the DC locations and related themes featured in the film, along with themed hotel packages and special evening programming.

Foodies and families can look forward to the city’s first-ever Cookie + Gourmet Kids’ Restaurant Week(TM), sponsored by Destination DC. During the June 13-21 promotion, families can enjoy kid-friendly cuisine and fixed-price menus at some of DC’s most popular restaurants.

Destination DC will also launch online collaborations with Travelocity, American Express, and Travelocity will run a June on-site promotion supported by print advertisements running regionally in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, garnering 2 million impressions, and an online campaign promoting “Staying Power” packages in July and August, generating 3.5 million impressions.

In partnership with American Express, Destination DC has collected exclusive cardmember offers, which will be promoted through channels such as and cardmember emails and statements, as well as through Destination DC’s own channels, targeting both leisure and convention visitors. Cardmembers can take advantage of exclusive deals like 2-for-1 tickets on Open Top Sightseeing, plus other added-value discounts and offers.

In order to target younger, entertainment-minded African-American travelers, Destination DC is collaborating with to develop a dedicated web channel showcasing locations and themes of interest to African Americans who seek out culture when visiting the home of the new Obama administration. The site, complete with custom video content and guided tours of featured locations, is expected to launch in late June.

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