Tourism Whistler (TW) has provided the first glimpse of its latest marketing campaign, building on the resort's record-breaking summer of 2013.
The campaign, coined "Lost and Found," aims to highlight the full slate of activities and attractions that the resort has to offer in the summer months, and will be featured on TW's website and social media accounts, as well as in a video that will play in four key destination markets in Canada and the U.S.
"'Lost and Found' is meant to explore that personal connection between our customers and this place," explained Tourism Whistler's senior manager of marketing services, Kirsten Homeniuk. "'Lost and Found' kind of toys with that and the notion of losing yourself in Whistler with the goal of ultimately reconnecting with yourself and experiencing exhilaration, rejuvenation and whatever it is our customers are seeking in their vacation to Whistler."
Key to the campaign will be a two-minute video produced by local company Switchback Entertainment that features footage of Whistler's high alpine, the village and a number of outdoor summer activities visitors can experience.
"There's some really beautiful footage and there's a voiceover that waxes poetic about that lost and found theme, and speaks about that connection you have with the outdoors, with getting away and how important it is to make time for yourself," Homeniuk said.
The segment will appear on whistler.com, in social media and will play before video content on selected websites, like YouTube, Homeniuk said. A shortened 30-second version of the clip will also play on the big screen in 10 to 14 cinemas in each of the four U.S. and Canadian destination markets selected by TW. Homeniuk said estimates indicate the video will result in around three million impressions.
The next step of the campaign occurs at the booking stage, with the roll out of eight themed itineraries on the TW website suggesting activities and attractions "to help people understand what the Whistler experience is about," Homeniuk said.
Some of the themes are: arts and culture, food and wine, adrenaline adventure, family fun and iconic Whistler sightseeing. Tourism Whistler's marketing team used Facebook to crowd-source activity suggestions from the public, a key strategy by TW to leverage ambassadors of the Whistler experience.
"We continue to have success in growing ambassadors and leveraging ambassadors," said Homeniuk, citing last year's "Behind the Lens" campaign where local photographers shared their own images showcasing the resort. "It's one thing when Tourism Whistler tells you that Whistler is great, we're obviously a little bit biased, but when you have the community and the people that come here day in and day out really sharing their passion for this place, it really makes our marketing successful."
Tourism Whistler also shared some findings from the winter season, which, despite a slow snow start, saw improving room night figures month-over-month from November to February, said TW's VP of marketing strategy Louise Walker. March room nights were down two per cent compared to the same period last year, although Walker attributed that to the Easter holiday falling in April this year. This winter also saw a pickup in visitors from U.S. destination markets and group business, according to TW figures.
Walker attributed the strong winter visitation numbers to a variety of factors, including an improved economic climate, a busy event schedule, the resort's reputation for reliable snow and TW's early bird booking campaign.
"That has been really successful in encouraging people to book in advance, and really sets the resort up for success because you're less weather dependent and all the businesses know what to expect," said Walker.