2018 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Marketing Plan & Budget
2018 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Marketing Plan & Budget
As we look forward to 2018 and the opportunities it presents, we’d be remiss not to address the loss of Outdoor Retailer and all that those annual trade shows meant to our community. The OR Winter and Summer Markets will most definitely leave a hole, particularly in January, but it’s important to keep in mind that we host over 50 city-wide events each year, and we will continue to do so long into the future.
We must now look and move forward to capitalize on what’s next for Salt Lake and our visitor economy. As a silver lining, OR’s departure actually frees up a substantial amount of resources, which we can and will now put back into marketing Salt Lake.
Rest assured that Visit Salt Lake will continue to do what we do each and every day: market, position and sell Salt Lake as the world-class meeting, convention and leisure travel destination it is. The sales team will continue to prospect and bid on possible conventions to fill the Salt Palace and meetings for Salt Lake’s many hotels; the marketing team will continue its efforts to position Salt Lake as the ideal year-round meeting, convention and leisure destination; and the services team will continue to fulfill the wants and needs of our clients while welcoming their attendees with the warm hospitality that has become a hallmark of our community.
We will also continue to take the lead on Blueprint Salt Lake on behalf of our entire community in an effort to find a common narrative and action plan to ensure a robust visitor economy well into the future. From this blueprint will evolve a crucible for innovation, investment and economic growth for the Greater Salt Lake area.
The year ahead promises to be an exciting time throughout our community, and Visit Salt Lake will continue to create opportunities and work hard on your behalf to ensure the long-term success of the meeting, convention and leisure travel industry in the greater Salt Lake region.
President & CEO
Travelers have an unlimited number of online resources they can use to plan and book their trips. Our websites remain relevant for the seasoned visitor who has always used them, and because they rank high in Google search results.
At the foundation of our successful search results is our ongoing commitment to highlighting the scope and scale of the events in the greater Salt Lake area. Visitors are naturally drawn to discovering what there is to do in a potential destination. We are integrating ground breaking mapping and geo-location technology into our new sites, ensuring their continued relevance in search, and their ability to showcase all there is to do in Salt Lake.
Our new websites will emphasize user-generated content from platforms like Instagram and we will be doubling down on video content to share the truly authentic elements of our destination. But we will also focus on retaining our voice on the new sites through content that we produce and control. Our goal will be to strike the right balance with the stories of our destination that we want to tell and the personal and persuasive stories told through user-generated content.
Much of the most strategic change and innovation with our new websites is happening on the back end. Data mining from our site visitors is a practice that we are integrating into our new sites. Our customer relationship management (CRM) platform is capable of generating endless amounts of data analytics for us to use to target visitors with relevant content, learn which partners provide the best return on investment, and leverage the site as a testbed for larger marketing initiatives.
2017 has been defined as the year Salt Lake lost the two Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. So in 2018 we will focus our sales and marketing efforts in the city wide convention markets to securing new business to fill the immense holes left by the early departure of these two significant events.
Tradeshows are enormously impactful to an area economy because of the broad impact these events have in our city. Tradeshows include enormous labor demands to build and supply the exhibit floor, the exhibitors entertain and meeting with their clients out in the community and via private events and parties, and the overall impact of these highly focused attendees makes the economic footprint of tradeshows the largest in the industry.
Through a new partnership with the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) Visit Salt Lake and SMG are strategically pursuing several specific tradeshow producers to consider Salt Lake as the future location of their tradeshow.
Today a significant opportunity exists for leaders from Salt Lake’s visitor economy, business, economic development, social and government sectors to collaboratively develop and activate a “blueprint for the visitor economy” that aligns community stakeholders and their respective enterprises around a compelling vision and narrative for the future of the destination.
By aligning key community and state enterprise resources around one core destination vision and story narrative, Salt Lake’s visitor economy, business, economic development, social and government sectors can realize huge performance and quality of life benefits.
Leadership is required to get this done.
Visit Salt Lake can be the leadership catalyst to develop a collaborative “blueprint” that defines how Salt Lake’s destination appeal and experience can be enhanced to become a crucible for innovation, economic growth and quality of life for the State of Utah.
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 2018 is $215,000,000 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 Visit Salt Lake sales team works diligently to land new meetings, conventions and athletic events, and makes sure the existing clients continue to return. These efforts result in events whose attendees spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The team's 2018 booking goal is extremely ambitious; the greater of 3% over 2017 production, or 701,000 room nights.
Visit Salt Lake's sales team remains committed to attracting conventions, meetings, and athletic events to Salt Lake. Significant focus on securing business to business trade shows will take place in 2018. To secure these events and prospective clients, the team will conduct 50 sales trips to visit targeted clients, and host 130 customized site inspections. Each executive meeting manger and national sales manager will make contact with 240 prospective new clients, and each convention sales director will contact 104 new potential clients. Hosting the Connect Marketplace in August of 2018 will introduce 1,300 event planners from all market segments, including trade show planners to Salt Lake.
Salt Lake’s urban feel is maturing quickly, and you can see it in the dining, nightlife, recreation and cultural offerings. Visitors to the Western U.S. are finding more reasons to include their visits to and lengthen their stays in Utah’s capital city. This leisure segment, which includes group and package tours as well as the growing individual traveler segment, presents significant potential for growth in Salt Lake.
Visit Salt Lake will continue its outreach to our top domestic and international tour operator partners in 2018. Our community kicks off the year as host of the annual Go West Summit, introducing some of the world’s top international tour operators to specialty suppliers in the American West. Visit Salt Lake is partnering with the Utah Office of Tourism and many other local partners to showcase Salt Lake and its surrounding areas.
Technology allows us to better target individuals with our messaging, but what do we do with this ability to tailor information to their wants and needs after the ‘first touch’? VSL’s marketing department will focus on how we can better capture and analyze data to build better and stronger relationships with consumers and visitors to supply relevant and useful information to meet these wants and needs.
While website visitation remains a primary goal of our organization, the quality of each web visit will be tantamount. Time on site, referrals to partners, purchase intent and the capture of consumer data will be top KPI’s for our web properties. Marketing will increase visits to Visit Salt Lake's websites by 5% (that's a goal of nearly 2.5 million total visits!)
In Q1 of 2018, Visit Salt Lake will re-launch the VisitSaltLake.com and SkiCity.com websites. These websites will use sophisticated technology to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. Each site will deliver personalized content based on location, referral type and past visitor sessions. Our websites will allow us to have better interaction with visitors as well as those looking to plan meetings, conventions and events.
2017 Marks the end of a 22-year run with our largest trade show, Outdoor Retailer. However, as the OR door closes, numerous other doors will open and give us a chance to demonstrate the sophisticated levels of service and commitment that we have developed over 42 OR Trade Shows in past years. Already, the Services Team is executing their high level of personal touch to groups which will continue to visit Salt Lake in the future.
Services will receive the Meetings & Conventions Gold Service Award for the 24th straight year, maintain membership in the M&C Gold Award Hall of Fame, and generate post-convention scores at the highest levels—a reflection of our constant striving for excellence.
New in 2018, in partnership with Sundance, Salt Lake County Arts and the Utah Film Commission, we will strive to expand the vibe, presence and footprint of the Sundance Film Festival and its related activities here in Salt Lake.
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.
In 2018, the Partner Development team will improve member engagement by increasing attendance to member events, trainings, and educational opportunities by 6%, increasing the number of member-made listing updates by 7%, and maintaining a member retention rate of 91%.
It will also increase membership by 5%, membership revenue by 3%, and advertising revenue by 7%.
Partner Development's objectives also include those of Now Playing Utah, whose mission is audience development for Utah’s art and cultural community through a comprehensive calendaring resource.
In order to achieve its 2018 goals, the Partner Development team will complete more than 250 prospecting actions to potential members. It will also produce a host of member events including Board of Trustees / Membership meetings and 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 new website and its improved offerings 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 2017 are expected to exceed calendar year 2016 by over 11% and management anticipates 2018 will increase an additional 2.5% ahead of 2017, and that money will be available to VSL’s long term commitments to sales and marketing.
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 $10,476,026—a 4.5% increase over the 2017 budget. This amount includes $10,026,026 in funding from TRT (% more than in 2017) and an additional $450,000 from a Tourism Transient Room Tax on county hotels. Support for ongoing programs will include $250,000 from the Utah Office of Tourism’s (UOT) Co-operative Marketing Program to advance Ski City in the 2017/2018 ski season, 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, 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.