After conducting extensive consumer research, we found that New York State's endless array of unique attractions and destinations, ranging from award-winning beaches to fairytale-like castles, had particular appeal for family travelers. Our core objective was to reach and engage family travel decision makers on social media using compelling visual content that would inspire them to consider and ultimately choose a New York State vacation.
Instagram's ability to showcase visual content, coupled with the understanding that family travel decision makers are increasingly spending more time on the platform, made it a natural choice as a cornerstone of our campaign.
Our strategy was simple: convince family travel planners that a New York State vacation would create memories to last a lifetime. We decided to showcase real families experiencing the best of what the state has to offer through year-round influencer/content creator partnerships, and determined that user-generated campaigns would be a way to start a conversation about NYS travel in a manner native to the Instagram Platform. Additionally, we launched a series of Instagram Stories to provide our audience with an opportunity to virtually experience a day at some of New York's top destinations.
Influencer/Content Creator Partnerships
During the summer of 2017, eight diverse family influencers were given tailored itineraries to match their families' interests and travel styles. Collectively, they visited over 55 attractions in 10 New York State vacation regions to capture photos, videos and real-time Instagram Stories, which were further elevated with paid media support. The content told the comprehensive story of a journey to New York State on Instagram, allowing audiences to vicariously follow our influencer families on adventures such as: hot air ballooning over Letchworth State Park (aka the Grand Canyon of the East); meeting viral sensation April the Giraffe and her baby at Animal Adventure Park; lakeside family dinners; and a make-your-own-glass experience at the Corning Museum of Glass.
This campaign generated significant engagement and inspired conversation around New York State adding credibility to the state's marketing message. The authentic validation from a trusted source helped further drive consideration among our target audience. Comments on influencer posts showed strong, positive sentiments toward future travel to New York. Influencer posts started a number of conversations where followers mentioned intent to travel and tagged friends. Several influencers even took repeat trips to New York State on their own so they could spend more time there.
User-Generated Content Campaigns
Though year-round user-generated content campaigns, we leveraged the power of Instagram to encourage New York State visitors to become advocates and create relationships with talented local content creators. These micro-influencers provided continuous content for I LOVE NEW YORK's Instagram and iloveny.com, as well as improved the user experience by providing our audience with a view of our top destinations as experienced by fellow travelers helping to transcend brand marketing and serve as an authentic word-of-mouth recommendation.
I LOVE NEW YORK's early adoption of Instagram Stories generated positive returns throughout the year. Our strategic approach to Stories was to inspire followers by showing them what their visits to New York State could look like by featuring authentic activities and experiences including:s a weekend at the New York State Fair; an autumn day at Hunter Mountain; and a journey through The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Halloween. By partnering with county and regional tourism offices to launch over 30 Instagram Stories, we successfully leveraged local experts as guides to the best places in their areas and drove users to click-through to iloveny.com to learn more about NYS.
Throughout the year, I LOVE NEW YORK successfully engaged family audiences in generating massive social action and significant positive sentiment for the New York State vacation experience.