The answer is YES if the State of New York succeeds in its re-branding concept.
Been hearing bits and pieces of what is planned; here’s what I know so far:
GO, STAY, and PLAY
New York’s tourism marketing for this summer season will focus on three elements:
- GO (rail/rental car links)
- STAY (lodging offer)
- PLAY (highlighting outdoor recreation and NYS Parks)
OK, I’ve always been a big proponent of identifying and reducing barriers to travel (or purchase) as a means of turning demand into a conversion. While we can’t put money into people’s pockets, a DMO certainly can help in reducing barriers. Chiefly, this is simply a matter of providing relevant information. My official term for this is DSL – Destination Specific Linkbait (I’m sure someone will be creating a Wikipedia page for this soon). This three-prong approach is simplistic, but it does address some core human needs (see:Maslow) that must be solved in any travel plan. Let’s take a look at how this will be promoted.
Print ads in newspapers and “Online” in three geographic markets – NYC, Ontario (Toronto), and NJ/PA/OH. Call me when I wake up from my nap…… Huh? Oh, yeah, the marketing.
Pretty vanilla stuff. I think there are still people reading newspapers in the two cities and I like the NYC market. Heck, maybe some visitor’s to the city might even get a “complimentary” newspaper and see the ad. That’s kind of like an international marketing bonus. Plus, it helps keep those newspapers in business. Truly, tourism does contribute to economic development. All stakeholders form a circle and rejoice.
We kind of like a little more Quebec focus, but “the research” didn’t justify it.
Stay Two, Get Third Night Free
I feel like I have narcoleptic. Zzzzzzzz. How many times have we see this travel promotion meme? Anyway, that’s the lodging bait. Whether such an offer will increase revenue through Length-of-Stay manipulation remains to be seen. Will the “deals” be sufficient to provide a clear marginal benefit to potential travelers? Participating lodging partners will be listed on the promotion’s microsite. I don’t like microsites very much. Look for a Gmap interface and regional groupings of the properties. There’s more.
Eligibility Requirements include the following:
- Offer free night for a “stay 2 nights get the 3rd night free” promotion mid-week, weekend or both.
- Report back to I LOVE NEW YORK booking information on a weekly basis.
- Offer transient tourist accommodations open to all travelers on a nightly basis (without need for affiliation with any group).
- Have a permit to collect New York State sales tax and any local or county lodging taxes.
- Meet all zoning, fire safety and other requirements provided for under local, county and/or state ordinances for transient tourist accommodations where property is located.
Well, that will weed out a few participants. Plus anyone who only wants two overnights. Or 1, 4, 5, and 7. I guess it doesn’t hurt anyone to participate, but surely this will be narrow in both supply and audience.
Reports on the very similar winter promotion include, “hundreds of views and clickthroughs” and “5% sales boost.” Heh, I’d be the first to set a low benchmark for myself too, if I’m the one setting benchmarks.
Transportation and Activities
I like the idea of highlighting rail and rental services. If we could open up access to all those NYC residents without cars, then a whole new audience is available to us. Haven’t seen much since last year, but the Zipcar/I Love NY partnership is intriguing. Interesting business model there, price point in the city seems kind of high. Big weakness – closest location with cars is Middlebury, Vermont. Having cars available in Albany or Burlington, VT would make an air link plus car much more feasible. As it is, Amtrack to the Rennselaer Station then rental car to the Adirondacks is most realistic.
No word on how activities, parks, and such will be included. Possibly, there will be a geographic search near the participating properties.
On a scale of 10, this program is an unexciting 5. Safe, trackable, and easy to comprehend. I don’t think anyone is going to have to worry about any embarrassing Lovemarks, if you know what I mean.
I leave you with this now disturbing photo of “Zipper Spitzer” stroking a Zipcar. That grin is scary.