2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Marketing Plan & Budget
2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Marketing Plan & Budget
The past year has been an exceptional one for Visit Salt Lake and our hospitality community, topped off with the incredible hosting of ASAE’s 2016 Annual Meeting & Exposition. We cannot adequately convey the gratitude and pride we have for the way our community stepped up to welcome and host what will no doubt prove to be Salt Lake’s single best business development opportunity for the future of our meetings and convention industry.
With ASAE officially “in the books,” it’s now the time to capitalize on it and turn that great experience into actual bookings, something our entire sales team is focused on for the remainder of 2016 and 2017. From unique one-to-one post ASAE sales strategy, to a refined sales effort with the association market, we are prepared to take full advantage of the afterglow of this incredible event.
To complement our focused sales efforts, we’re rolling out a new look and feel for Visit Salt Lake’s sales and marketing programs. The new creative will highlight our unique urban product and will undoubtedly generate additional buzz for all that Salt Lake has to offer meeting and convention groups and leisure travelers alike. You will begin to see this creative evolution—touching upon Salt Lake’s unique urban aspects and elements—across all of our sales and marketing programs and platforms.
On the heels of ASAE and with a renewed focus on Salt Lake’s urban product, the sky truly is the limit for where we will go in 2017 and beyond. With an eye to the future, we assure you we will remain focused on our mission of improving the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors to Salt Lake County.
The 2016 ASAE Convention and Expo was a resounding success, and we plan to keep the conversation booming. VSL’s Sales team will maintain close relationships with top ASAE attendees, ensuring that the echoes of Salt Lake’s successful hosting will bring future conventions and meetings to Salt Lake.
The online environment is fast paced, and Visit Salt Lake is keeping up with an updated aesthetic that reflects Salt Lake’s thriving urban culture, as well as our strategic vision. VSL’s creative evolution represents signs of the times—and signs are pointing to more interest, and business in Salt Lake.
Stories engage and inspire, and Salt Lake is teeming with authentic characters. Through a combination of enticing imagery, video, and storytelling, we aim to entice people with the tale of our town. The VSL Marketing team creates, aggregates, and pontificates content that reflects and promotes our gem here in the West. Our strategy is simple—content is king, and we intend to wear the crown.
We also know that other opportunities present themselves throughout the year, for which we will also be prepared. However, these three initiatives will be front of mind in all we do in 2017. We appreciate and applaud your ongoing support of everything we do at Visit Salt Lake, and we assure you we will remain focused on our mission of improving the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors to Salt Lake County.
President & CEO
As Salt Lake County's official destination marketing organization, Visit Salt Lake is responsible for generating a sizeable portion of our community's visitor revenue largely through the solicitation and booking of city wide conventions, which bring delegates and their spending into our community. One of Visit Salt Lake’s most impactful priorities in 2017 is $250,000,000 generated by new visitors attending meetings and conventions in Salt Lake County.
VSL works with County representatives to ensure its activities are supporting the County's economic priorities as effectively as possible. From the small-business owner to the state capitol, strategic alignment is crucial to the continued health of our region's economy, and VSL is devoted to its role in this symbiotic system.
Our Convention Sales team continues to pursue new clients aggressively (and tactfully), and works tirelessly to keep existing clients coming back. These dedicated efforts precipitate millions of dollars spent in Salt Lake by meeting organizers and attendees, directly (and hugely) impacting our economy.
2017 will mark a lofty goal for the sales team, with more than a 5% increase in room nights over 2016. That additional 5% equates to a grand total of 600,000 room nights.
Interested in how the sales team will generate so much business?
The team will prospect to potential clients non-stop—sales calls, email, direct mail, conducting personal, targeted sales trips, and conducting more than 130 site inspections to show potential clients everything Salt Lake has to offer their groups. And to continue our great relationship with ASAE, VSL will contact each of the top 80 ASAE attendees at least three times in 2017. Our convention sales directors will make more than 100 outgoing prospect actions, and national sales managers will make at least 240 outgoing prospect actions to get the job done.
Salt Lake’s urban feel is maturing quickly, and you can see it in the dining, nightlife, recreation, and cultural offerings—it’s no wonder that the first national tour of Hamilton will be coming to Salt Lake’s new Eccles Theater. This leisure segment, which includes group and package tours as well as FIT, presents significant potential for growth in Salt Lake.
We will continue to develop and promote Salt Lake as America’s Ski City. Our Marketing efforts will include a robust marketing co-op with over 20 hotel partners. Through our advertising efforts we will target potential visitors to Ski More, through the offering of our Ski City Super Pass that is valid at all four of the Ski City resorts (Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, Solitude). Do More, by encouraging visitors to build their trips through our new personalized Trip Planner, and Save More, through the deals and packages offered by our 20+ hotel co-op partners. Ski City will also supplement its advertising by taking the Ski City Airstream Mobile Visitors Center on the road to Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California, to attend Consumer Ski Events and film shows.
VSL’s Marketing department is Salt Lake’s megaphone and its sounding board—it is the raconteur of our great destination. It strives to tell the story of Salt Lake as an obvious destination for conventions and tourism, incentivized visitation, and improved external perceptions of our region. The VSL Marketing team is solely focused on driving the story of the urban, hip, culturally significant, and surprisingly eclectic home where the mountains meet city.
To meet these aggressive goals, VSL’s Marketing team will shout Salt Lake’s story from our nearby mountain tops. Marketing will generate $16 million in positive earned media value—this is inclusive of the Ski City earned media goal, although Ski City will be tracked separately and have a goal of increasing by 10%, or generating the equivalent advertising value of $5 million. Marketing will also increase visits to Visit Salt Lake's main, mobile, and booking websites by 10% (that's a goal of 2.42 million total visits!), and increase visits to SkiCity.com by 10% for a total of 260,000+ visits.
How will the Marketing team achieve these goals?
They'll host FAM trips to showcase Salt Lake's offerings to visiting media and complete PR trips to proactively spread Salt Lake's message. They'll push the Connect Pass and other Salt Lake offerings through proactive communication and advertising campaigns. And they'll publish at least eight (8) new articles per month to Visit Salt Lake's blog "The Salt Lake Scene" and SkiCity.com, and amplify this content through Visit Salt Lake's various channels.
The successful hosting of ASAE’s 2016 Annual Meeting & Expo put another notch in Salt Lake’s impressive services legacy belt. It’s said that the proof in the pudding is in the eating, and ASAE loved Salt Lake’s services’ pudding.
VSL will continue to win in Services in 2017—we will receive the Meetings & Conventions Gold Service Award for the 23rd straight year and maintain membership in the M&C Gold Award Hall of Fame, and maintain a post-convention score average of 4.8 or higher.
Additionally, the Services team will achieve a 70% adoption rate on VSL's Social Media Attendance Promotion package.
What initiatives will the Services department undertake in order to meet these goals?
The Visitor’s Center Staff will provide attraction and restaurant information at 10 in-state special events, they will also produce four (4) quarterly Visitor Center Awareness Events. Additionally, four (4) quarterly concierge events will be hosted, as well as quarterly outreach events to in-state repeat clients.
The more engaged we are with Visit Salt Lake's membership, the stronger our destination. And the stronger the destination, the more our members benefit. It's a virtuous circle of dollar signs and support—after all, it takes a village, right?
In 2017, the Partner Development team will improve member engagement by increasing attendance to member events, trainings, and educational opportunities by 3%, increasing the number of member-made listing updates by 5%, and maintaining a member retention rate of 91%.
It will also increase membership by 5%, membership revenue by 4%, and advertising revenue by 5%.
Partner Development's objectives include those of Now Playing Utah, whose mission is to become the most comprehensive (and hence most queried) database of events along the Wasatch Front.
In order to achieve its 2017 goals, the Partner Development team will complete more than 250 prospecting actions to potential members. It will also produce a host of events, including Board of Trustees / Membership meetings; "Member Connections," where members and Visit Salt Lake staff can socialize and network; and training sessions to help members utilize all the marketing tools available to them.
Salt Lake County funds Visit Salt Lake’s (VSL) sales and marketing programs under a contract for services. The county’s funding for this contract comes from transient room taxes (TRT) on hotel room revenues in Salt Lake County. As such, the level of funding for VSL varies each year depending largely on hotel room revenues. Hotel revenues in Salt Lake County in calendar year 2016 are expected to exceed calendar year 2015 by over .6%, and management anticipates 2017 will increase an additional 3% ahead of 2016, and TRT available to VSL will increase approximately the same amounts.
In order to put our TRT dollars to work for our community, management has proposed a total budget to be funded by Salt Lake County of $10,031,860—a -4% decrease as compared to the 2016 budget. This amount includes $9,581,860 in funding from TRT and an additional $450,000 from a Tourism Transient Room Tax on county hotels. Support for ongoing programs will include $275,000 from the Utah Office of Tourism’s (UOT) Co-operative Marketing Program to advance Ski City in the 2016/2017 ski season; $1,249,000 from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development combined with $263,000 from Salt Lake City to underwrite a portion of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017 Pavilions; and additional Partnerships with Salt Lake’s hospitality and hotel community such as Delta Air Lines, and AVIS Car Rental will add $220,000 more. In total, Visit Salt Lake’s sales and marketing efforts for 2017 will be supported by $2 million and more importantly, the enthusiastic participation of an entire community.
Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. In partnership with Salt Lake County, Visit Salt Lake improves the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers, and visitors with a strong commitment to sustainability and stewardship of the area’s natural environment.