Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The full report, undertaken by TNS Canadian Facts is available at the following link.
The intentions mirror what many in the regional industry are already seeing; a decline in US traffic and potential growth markets with short haul domestic markets such as Southern Ontario and Manitoba.
Tourism Thunder Bay has responded to the intentions with marketing efforts that focus more on the region, Manitoba and the Southern Ontario outdoor experience seeker market more likely to travel a little further for unique outdoor adventures.
On other fronts, a greater emphasis on sport tourism development and more agressive corporate marketing are helping to offset potential declines in the leisure markets.
Domestic markets remain steady at the moment, compared with 2007 data and while US markets are lower than 2007, we are noticing a resurgence in interest by the motor coach and cruise ship segments. Tourism Thunder Bay will host 8 cruise industry executives and 10 motorcoach industry representatives on two separate Familiarization Tours in late June 2008.
Tourism Thunder Bay is also partnering with NOSTA and the North of Superior Marian Marketing Association to test market the affluent US midwest boaters market with a series of print and online advertisements and editorial promoting the Lake Superior boating experience. With over 1.5 million boats registered in Minnesota and Wisconsin, focusing on a large market seeking high quality marine experiences, aims at attracting U.S. visitors more likely to travel for an experience they have a passion for.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
In addition to the 120 000 copies in circulation (a 20% increase over 2007) the guide is also available online at http://www.visitthunderbay.com/. In its first two months posted, it has been downloaded 9234 times. At this pace, it is conceivable that it will be viewed online up to 54 000 times this year. This would be a significant increase over the 31 000 copies downloaded in 2007 of the previous guide.
While high quality select print visitor information is still considered an essential part of our marketing mix, online posting of the guide makes perfect sense in that it delivers greater reach for our advertisor's investments in the guide, reduces postage costs for one-off distribution and helps meet our goals of environmental responsibility.
The Experience magazine is important for attracting new visitors to the community but more importantly, it can help keep existing visitors in the community for a longer stay, thereby increasing economic impacts. While we strive to attract new visitors, the current North American economic climate also has us looking at visitor retention as a means to compensate for any loss, in visitor numbers, from particular markets. Comprehesive information sources are a great way to achieve this goal.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
From January 1-May 13, 2008, the number of web visitors increased 41% from the same reporting period in 2007, from 89 740 to 150, 702. The site has averaged 1150 visitors per day, up from 685 last year.
76% of these visitors are arriving at the site by typing the url in directly, indicating that the web address is sticking in people's minds and they are responding from a variety of media sources, be it print, web or other.
With www.Visitthunderbay.com coming up second on www.google.com, when "Thunder Bay" is searched, we are also seeing an additional 22 400 visitors arriving at the site through search engines, primarily Google while 9764 visitors came to the site through the City's main website, www.thunderbay.ca.
The Thunder Bay tourism community plays an important role in raising the profile as well. A number of local businesses including hotels, retail and restaurants have posted links on their web pages that have shown to successfully guide traffic to the site. We encourage local tourism businesses and organizations to develop free recipricol links to encourage greater traffic movements between sites, something that benefits the tourism community as a whole.
This data is important in assiting us with future marketing and media campaigns by directing our investments where they are most likely to reach potential consumers. Over the next few years, we will pursue more media opportunities in new experience based online markets and be much more focused in both print and web campaigns. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The Ministry of Tourism has recently released the Spring/Summer 2008 travel intentions survey conducted by Canadian TNS Facts.
Tourism Thunder Bay is following this data closely and developing proactive and logical responses to address changes in visitor intentions involving new marketing tools and segment focus on dedicated experience seekers.
We expect stronger travel intentions from Southern Ontario and Manitoba markets. We expect that Thunder Bay will be a more appealing destination for regional travellers staying closer to home and those travellingcross country. In 2007, we recorded a 14% increase in Canadian travellers at our municipal Visitor Centers over 2006 and we expect a further 5-10% gain in 2008.
With the struggling U.S. Economy, high fuel prices, a strong Canadian dollar and passport confusion, we expect continued declines in US travellers from Minnesota and Wisconsin but especially from Michigan, Iowa and Illinois as US travellers stay closer to home. We expect U.S. declines at Pigeon River to be in the 12-16% range. U.S. travllers coming to the city and area will likely be outdoor experience seekers (angling, hunting and eco/adventure travel) and Lake Superior Circle Tour tourers.
You can view the entire survey at the following link at the following:
What is Tourism Thunder Bay doing about these trends?
With respect to domestic marketing, some of the major initiaitives we are pursuing include:
Seven Days with the Giant is an experience based campaign has focused specifically on the Southern Ontario and Manitoba markets through a multi media partnership with Fednor, OTMPC, Ontario Parks and over a dozen local experience providers. The campaign, with a $12 500 contest grand prize, raises the profile of Thunder Bay around the iconic Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and positions Thunder Bay as an Outdoor City with great air service options between the GTA and Thunder Bay.
Recognizing a strong visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market makes up 28% of our liesure segment, we are focusing on a number of local awareness campaigns, including a "Rediscover your City" tabloid that will be going to every household in June 2008 to promote Thunder Bay's attractions to local hosts and encouraging them to take their out of town visitors around this summer
A 6 month awareness and engagement campaign, to be unveiled in June 08, will allow residents and visitors to tell their stories about Thunder Bay, build awareness of our local experiences and provide material for future campaigns
Local mediarelations partnerships to help residents and regional visitors know about local attrractions and experiences and encouraging local residents to send the 2008 Visitor Experience magazine to their friends and family.
The U.S. market, while declining, still represented 23% of our visitation in 2007 and 30% of visitor spending.
Tourism Thunder Bay is a participant in the Fort William Historical Park Canada Gateway Center. Located along highway 61 south of Grand Maria (with daily traffic counts of 4300 vehicles), the centre is in a popular tourism region and is within our short haul market catchment area. The centre will raise the awareness of Thunder Bay as a destination and provide regular information to the more than 5 000 Cook County residents who travel to Thunder Bay for VFR, dining, shopping and entertainment experiences.
Seven Days with the Giant is being heavily promoted in the US border states of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and targets affluent outdoor experience seekers through outdoor retail stores, websites and targeted direct e-mail.
Attracting affluent niche markets in the boating, outdoor and touring categories with tactical approaches including the Minneapolis Boat Show (resulting in 1400 inquiries in 2008), and editorial focusing on motorsport touring in publications such as Lake Superior Magazine and AAA Living.
We are actively pursuing new strategies to increase market share in both the sport tourism and corporate segments. With respect to Sport Tourism, We will be releasing a new Sport Tourism Strategy mid 2008 and we are actively engaged in the develop of several new "Thunder Bay owned" events including a major fall 2009 marathon project. As well, we continue to communicate actively with regional, provincial and national Sport organizations to position Thunder Bay as a host site for future sport tourism events.
Our corporate markets will see a focus on organizations that have a Thunder Bay presence and thus, more likely to host conferences. These sectors include First Nation, Education, Health Sciences, Mining and Government. We encourage local organizations to host their regional, provincial and national meetings and conferences in the city by providing marketing tools to assist them in championing the city. These include delegate bags, visitor magazines, free rental of our promotional trade show displays, and copies of our meeting and convention planner. For corporate groups looking for assistance with their efforts, please contact Rose Marie Tarnowski, Meeting and Convention Planner at firstname.lastname@example.org.