Having an ongoing social media presence on sites like Tumblr aligns with a shift in Travel Alberta’s strategy.
Last summer, during the high season, Alberta bookings reached capacity quickly, Thompson said. It was a great problem to have, but it meant that heavy marketing spending during peak summer season might not be the best allocation of resources.
“The always-on strategy was born out of that,” Thompson said. “We don’t want to stop marketing in the summer, but we’re starting to look at shoulder seasons.”
The Tumblr campaign increased Travel Alberta’s following substantially, making those users easier to reach in the future.
Having an always-on strategy also eliminated the waste of shorter campaigns. “Ramping up and ramping down campaigns is a costly venture, especially on the search side,” Thompson added.
As it moves to an always-on marketing strategy, Travel Alberta wants to bring in more data to drive its spending decisions. One challenge is that its data resides mainly with its partners, not itself, making optimization and attribution difficult.
“In CPG, you do something, and you see sales. Whereas in tourism, you do something, and then have to wait to hear from your partners to hear about sales,” Thompson said.
Travel Alberta is working on building a data-management platform in the form of a “Traveler Engagement Index,” which will aggregate information from sources like Google Analytics, Facebook, Media Reach and Weibo. The goal of the index will be to bring in “consistent, clean” data to enable faster decision-making and richer insights, Thompson said.
And with that data, Travel Alberta can closely track changes in its prospective visitors. “This real-time data is important for us to optimize globally and understand how our audience is engaging with direct-to-traveler conversations.”