Sacco: on the road with Absolutely Scottsdale marketing campaign

A view of digital advertising boards at Penn Plaza in New York City. (Submitted photo)

This month, should you find yourself in New York City or Chicago, you may come across some familiar sights, from the rooftop pool of the W Scottsdale to the cacti-dotted hills of the Sonoran Desert.

Rachel Sacco

That’s because Experience Scottsdale launched our month-long, out-of-home advertising campaigns in those cities last week. Currently, our Absolutely Scottsdale campaign is on display in Penn Station in New York City and Ogilvie Station in Chicago.

All total, nearly 400 advertising assets cover these venues from floor to ceiling on walls, pillars and stairwells. Outside Penn Station, Experience Scottsdale’s messaging also spans two full blocks near Madison Square Garden and is projected onto large-scale digital boards in Penn Plaza.

With our New York and Chicago takeovers, we garner more than an estimated 34 million advertising impressions. That means millions of people see Experience Scottsdale’s invitations to “come see what blooms in the desert.”
Simultaneously, our 30-second spot is playing on broadcast television in New York and Chicago. With our commercial, we grab New York City and Chicago residents’ attention even when they’re at home.

Each year, we roll out such out-of-home advertising campaigns at the start of our high tourism season. This year, we do so with a full year of Absolutely Scottsdale under our belt. Our target demographics are recognizing our Absolutely Scottsdale advertisements, spotting them on television, on the streets, and in high-end publications like AFAR, American Way, National Geographic Traveler and Sunset.

All of Experience Scottsdale’s marketing strategies — as well as our robust public relations, convention sales, and tourism programs — are determined by extensive research. Our biennial visitor research analyzes U.S. and Canadian leisure visitor records from luxury and upper-moderate Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts during a 24-month period.

With such research, Experience Scottsdale finds the most effective ways to promote Scottsdale to potential visitors. The research enables Experience Scottsdale to pinpoint — down to the household level — potential, high-value visitors with a propensity to travel to Scottsdale. From where advertising is placed to when it is deployed is determined in part by the findings of this study. That’s how we know to target New York and Chicago, our top two markets for visitation, during the winter.

We used that same research late last year when we decided to launch a similar high-impact campaign in Los Angeles. L.A. is our third largest market for visitation, and Scottsdale sees an uptick in Los Angeles visitors in the fall. In November, we splashed our advertisements on Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, and throughout Santa Monica Place, where an average of 650,000 shoppers head each month.

Experience Scottsdale not only knows we’re targeting the right markets and demographics, but we also know our advertisements are resonating. Last year, we partnered with marketing research firm SMARI to test the effectiveness of Experience Scottsdale’s advertisements. SMARI found that after seeing our Absolutely Scottsdale commercial and print advertisements, consumer interest in visiting Scottsdale increased by 25 percent.

Participants called Scottsdale “exciting,” “inspiring,” “energizing” and a “fun place to visit.” Plus, the ads appealed to all participants, regardless of their age, geography or familiarity with the destination.

Beyond our marketing campaigns, Experience Scottsdale also deploys our convention sales, tourism and public relations staff to our top markets throughout the year to promote Scottsdale’s tourism industry. We meet one-on-one with qualified meeting planners who could potentially book their next meeting or convention at one of Scottsdale’s hotels and resorts.

We train travel agents and tour operators on how best to sell the Scottsdale area to their affluent clients. We host events attended by journalists from publications like Redbook, Travel & Leisure, USA Today and more, convincing them to write positive editorial coverage on Scottsdale travel.

By investing in these high-impact, out-of-home campaigns and sharing Scottsdale’s story in places like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Experience Scottsdale ensures that Scottsdale remains top of mind with current visitors and captures the interest of new visitors in the process.

Editor’s note: Ms. Sacco is the president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale.

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