Concord, California, is not your typical tourist destination. Located in San Francisco’s East Bay Area, the small but growing suburb offers visitors an affordable, convenient jumping-off point to enjoy the splendors of San Francisco, California wine country, as well as Northern California’s outdoor pursuits. Despite its favorable locale and affordability, Concord remains overshadowed by the Bay Area’s better-known cities, making it a challenge to attract travelers, groups and events.
Searching for ways to increase occupancy and revenue, but with no dedicated city tourism department to provide marketing support or funds, management at Concord’s nine local hotels banded together to form the Concord Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) and received city approval for a 3 percent collection on all hotel room revenue to support marketing efforts for promoting Concord to visitors. Equipped with a budget and a board of directors, the TBID hired an agency to create a brand, launch a website and develop marketing materials.
After 18 months of little to no brand awareness and questioning their return on investment, the TBID turned to Red Sky for help with strategic planning and elevating the existing brand to attract more visitors.
During Red Sky’s initial research and discovery, they noted the absence of marketing and public relations plans along with unidentified target audiences (and their pain points) and communication channels, prompting the recommendation of a strategic planning session to uncover these and other vital components with the TBID’s board of directors.
The strategic planning session provided a forum for the collective team to clearly define target audiences, evaluate the existing brand identity and marketing materials and discuss untapped opportunities. This session informed the development of a strategic communication plan, helping to lay the framework for all future marketing and public relations tactics, including:
- Refocusing and elevating the brand identity (changed from Diablo Valley to Visit Concord) to reflect Concord’s tourism vision direction
- Redeveloping the website and collateral material to a cleaner, more accessible format, complete with fresh, compelling content and itineraries resonating with primary target audiences
- Integrating a marketing automation platform to track customer leads and manage outbound marketing campaigns
- Developing paid print and online ad campaigns targeted to key audiences
- Refocusing social media tactics to reflect updated, relevant content along with the introduction of an editorial calendar
- Developing a new tradeshow booth experience
- Identifying and evaluating target audience-specific tradeshows to engage new leads and partnership opportunities
- Tracking and following up with tradeshow attendees
- Pursuing community engagement and partnership opportunities, helping to build awareness and camaraderie with other businesses in Concord
- Identifying and partnering with local and regional influencers to boost awareness and consideration for visiting Concord
- Bolstering relationships and partnership opportunities with Visit California and Brand USA
- Hosting familiarization tours for meeting planners to increase hotel room bookings and meeting space reservations
- Identifying and developing sponsorship opportunities and contracts to attract sports organization and lifestyle events to consider and book in Concord
Within a year of partnering with Red Sky, Visit Concord experienced the following results:
- 25 million total media impressions (print and online)
- 22,096 website users
- 10,449 total social media followers
- 14% increase in hotel revenue from 2015 to 2016
- $102,400 in total sponsorship revenue