2020 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Marketing Plan & Budget
2020 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Marketing Plan & Budget
2019 was a year of successes--between a banner snow year, the progress of initiatives like Blueprint Salt Lake, the growth of our largest convention clients, great new clients, and the success of the United Nations Civil Society Conference, we are seeing growth we would have never expected. The story of Salt Lake is attracting new visitors and clients, and the growth is palpable - you can see it in the Salt Palace, on the streets and in the restaurants and storefronts of Salt Lake.
To ensure the continued long-term success of Salt Lake’s meeting, convention and leisure travel industry, the Visit Salt Lake team is focusing on three primary strategic initiatives in 2020: Industry Specific Member Training Outreach through highly customized training, Bringing Trade Shows Back leveraging the trade show specific nature of the Salt Palace and differentiating the venue by highlighting our renowned sustainable practices, lastly through the new messaging and story-telling around the Blaze New Trails narrative. While these three critical initiatives are at the forefront of our 2020 efforts, rest assured we will remain vigilant to the ever-changing landscape of our industry, adapting and acting accordingly to take full advantage of the opportunities presented like the trailblazers that we are. As 2019 has shown, our ability to adapt and react is in our nature.
We are confident that our collective vision will take VSL to new heights and to new paths, and we can’t wait to see the new trails that are created and blazed in the coming year. The future is bright, and we have an exciting path ahead of us.
“Do not go where the path may lead. Instead, create a path and leave a blazing trail behind.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The overall goal for Visit Salt Lake’s marketing, content creation, social media strategy, communication programs and our advertising campaigns is:
“To improve the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers, and visitors to Salt Lake County.”
The message strategy is best supported with an “always on” media strategy because the more stories audiences hear, the more compelling the story of Salt Lake becomes.
As we move away from seasonal, product messaging focused on Meetings, Ski and Non-Ski Summer, we will expand the Visit Salt Lake messaging to encompass all product offerings for maximum impact.
We are working on crafting one singular, defining story that speaks to the heart and soul of what visitors can expect from Salt Lake, and what inspires visitors and business to make Salt Lake their home.
Our defining story will have three major themes.
CROSSROADS OF THE WEST
A vibrant & thriving urban hub complemented by the natural beauty of a snow-capped backdrop
SALT LAKE MAKER
An unwavering commitment to authenticity, innovation & next-level craftsmanship
THE CURIOUS VOYAGE
Wanderlust spirit rooted in exploration of a modern pioneer culture
Our new campaign will be called:
“This is Salt Lake.”
The concept is to build the Salt Lake story through authentic stories from our destination.
The places. The people. The activities.
It’s authentic. It’s engaging. It’s creative.
It allows VSL to create one cohesive campaign for all initiatives.
It enables us to tell the story of Salt Lake’s “core truths” and “emerging reality.”
Over the course of the past three decades our trainings have been focused on 30,000-foot topics related to how to best leverage our members presence digitally, and an introduction to our CRM. Moving forward we are going to follow one of the most important trends in today’s world, customization!
We will develop trainings focused on the industries represented by our members. Be they restaurants, ski rental shops, or hotels. We will develop content to help all of our members grow their share of the visitor economy, and grow the overall visitor economy. These topics will be developed by our membership committee and vetted with active members of Visit Salt Lake who represent key industry segments. We are keenly aware that the information we have in our CRM is very valuable, and when combined with relevant training it has the potential to be invaluable.
Recognizing that the Salt Palace is well-designed for expositions and that Utah is a right-to-work state, aggressive efforts will focus on booking B2B trade shows. This includes attending the SISO CEO Summit, SISO Leadership Conference, Connect Marketplace and Connect Expo Leadership Summit.
Direct sales calls will be made to key prospective clients, and the strategic relationship focus on Emerald Expositions will be a top priority in 2020.
The Salt Palace Convention Center has a comprehensive, industry-leading sustainability program, and there are numerous Corporate Social Responsibility programs within the greater Salt Lake community. All this creates a ‘green’ option for sustainability-conscious clients, and differentiates Salt Lake as a desirable destination.
To ensure convention clients take full advantage of these offerings, the Services team will create sustainable meeting guidelines and policies, then discuss them with incoming convention clients early in the planning process.
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, bringing delegates and their spending into our community. One of Visit Salt Lake’s most impactful priorities in 2020 is $340,000,000 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.
The Sales team at Visit Salt Lake has stepped up efforts to attract new meetings, conventions, athletic events, and other clients, and you can see a difference in the building. The Salt Palace has been buzzing all year, and we’re looking forward to even more events and clients in the years to come with a 2020 total room night booking goal of 838,946 room nights—a 3% increase over the 2019 actual production.
Visit Salt Lake’s Sales team is committed to aggressive sales efforts to book new conventions, meetings and athletic events to the Salt Lake market, and retain existing business through a proactive client-focused retention program, to generate economic impact from direct delegate spending. The team will conduct 50 personal targeted sales trips and 130 site inspections to meet this goal. To further leverage the success of the Connect Marketplace, the top 80 attendants will be contacted by our sales team a minimum of three times in 2020. Also, each sales director will make a minimum of 104 prospecting actions, and each EMM and national sales manager will make a minimum of 240 prospecting actions.
Visit Salt Lake’s Services team will continue to maintain our consistently high level of customer satisfaction and client interaction, thereby benefiting the planner, the attendees, and Visit Salt Lake members, making it easier to retain our high value clients, and enhance the positive perception about Salt Lake as a destination. By rolling out the red carpet and helping with Services pre- and post-event, our team has instilled a level of client catering and personal touch unparalleled in the industry.
To ensure success in Services, Visit Salt Lake’s team will maintain an average Post Event Customer Satisfaction Survey score of 4.8 or higher (of a possible score of 5). The team will strive to achieve the Stella Honor in Excellence Award (formerly known as the Meetings and Conventions Gold Service Award) for the 25th year, and maintain membership in the M&C Gold Award Hall of Fame. Additionally, social media will be leveraged to target and build attendance for city-wide groups with a 75% adoption rate. To top it off, quarterly outreach events to regional repeat clients will be conducted.
Increasing awareness about Salt Lake is our goal, and we will support Sales efforts by leveraging innovative approaches to generating influence and interest in our destination. Our website is our hardest working employee, and Visit Salt Lake’s content strategy, communication efforts and social media leverage are all supporting our virtual home. In addition to updating our sites aesthetically to mirror the feel of our burgeoning urban city, Visit Salt Lake has employed cutting-edge best practices for the changing online environment. Our new sites are already seeing increased traffic—which is what increasing awareness is all about. As a high tide rises all boats, our Earned Media efforts have been rewarded, and will continue to grow. Also, our Tourism Sale efforts will continue with product developments that enhance client stays and engender repeat bookings.
To achieve our marketing mission of increasing awareness, Visit Salt Lake’s Marketing team has committed to generating $15.4 million worth of positive earned media between Visit Salt Lake and Ski City. 8 new content articles will be created monthly, with a goal of increasing website traffic by 10+% YoY more than 3 million total visits to the site across mobile, main, and booking sites. The email database will also be grown by 10% to meet these goals, with an additional goal of increasing Connect Pass sales by 5% YoY. To support all these efforts, Tourism Sales will host 12 familiarization tours, and we’ll attend 5 targeted trade shows to reinforce the message and to gain new clients.
Partnership Development’s mission is to extend and expand Visit Salt Lake’s presence and value in the local market, thereby benefitting the meeting planner, the convention attendee, the visitor and Visit Salt Lake members. Our Partnership Development team makes it easier to retain current clients and increase the positive perception about Salt Lake as a destination for meetings, conventions and leisure travelers.
In order to achieve its 2020 goals, the Partner Development team will complete more than 288 prospecting actions to potential members. It will also produce a host of member events including Member Connections, where members and Visit Salt Lake staff can socialize and network. Bi-annual educational seminars and monthly training sessions will also be offered to help members understand and utilize all the marketing tools that are provided and available to them. Additionally, we will leverage the listings tools and ad placements on our website to increase the quality and number of marketing tools for members, including extensive content, and new website advertising opportunities.
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 2019 are expected to exceed calendar year 2018 by 1.8%, and management anticipates 2020 will increase an additional 2% ahead of 2019. Those funds will be available to VSL’s long term commitments to sales and marketing programs.
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 $12,484,599, a 3% increase over the 2018 budget. This amount includes $12,034,599 in funding from TRT and an additional $450,000 from a Tourism Transient Room Tax on county hotel revenues. Anticipated 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 2019/2020 ski season, and additional Partnerships with Salt Lake’s hotels and hospitality companies such as Delta Air Lines, but 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.