Case Study

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development: "For The Love of Tennessee"

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Engage Awards 2021 Doers
23 years

of content watched in 30 days

62 million

completed video views

Highlights

Situation

The pandemic wreaked havoc on the tourism industry, resulting in sharp economic and employment losses.

Challenge

The TDTD had to find a way to convince Americans they could still travel safely.

Our Solution

Acquia Cloud Platform, Acquia Personalization

Results

The “For The Love of Tennessee” campaign increased out-of-state travelers’ intent to visit Tennessee. 

  • Visitors watched more than 23 years of content (203,382 hours) in 30 days
  • Viewers watched an average of 4 to 5 minutes of branded content prior to watching their selected video
  • The site had more than 567,000 clicks and 61.9 million completed video views

The Client

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) focuses on attracting domestic and international tourism to Tennessee. 

The Situation

The Tennessee tourism industry saw record-high travel spending in 2019, which led to increased economic activity, jobs and crucial tax revenue supporting essential public services. But after the pandemic began, no one was traveling. 

The Challenge

In late 2020, after months of being stuck at home, Americans wanted to travel, but they were afraid to do so. The tourism industry was hit hard, resulting in sharp economic and employment losses. Additionally, Tennessee's music industry suffered, meaning many musicians were stuck at home. To rebuild tourism in Tennessee, the TDTD had to find a way to convince Americans they could still travel safely.

The Solution

Working with partner VMLY&R, the TDTD conducted research that showed that people felt most comfortable taking road trips closer to home and that travel by RV was also gaining popularity. With a desire to showcase Tennessee's plethora of all-age outdoor activities and inspire people to travel safely, the teams tapped into Tennessee's most important available resource: musicians stuck at home. 

Specifically, TDTD contracted with Tennessee-based singer-songwriters Drew and Ellie Holcomb, sending them on the road with their family to explore Tennessee’s unmatched scenic beauty. TDTD filmed these adventures, turned them into a six-episode web series documenting the journey and hired the singers to craft an inspirational travel-themed song. At the trip’s conclusion, the Holcombs performed their song at the famous (and empty) Ryman Auditorium.

The teams launched the “For The Love of Tennessee, Travel Safecampaign in October 2020, supported with teaser spots, animated banners, social posts, email, out-of-home (OOH) and print promotions. Additionally, they used teasers of the Holcomb’s web series on Hulu, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to reach an audience of families and music lovers within 500 miles of Tennessee. All spots drove traffic back to TNVacation.com to connect users with the full series as well as other travel resources. 

Since TNVacation.com was built with Drupal, it was extremely simple to develop and implement new pages to support the campaign and the Acquia Cloud environment performed very well, handling the increased spike in traffic from media buys and exposure without any hiccups. The site also utilizes Acquia Personalization, which helped build out further user segmentations for family experiences. As visitors viewed more pages as part of the “For The Love of Tennessee” campaign, the site built a user profile that leveraged additional family-related content, ensuring a rich, contextual consumer experience as they explored the site further.

The Results

All told, this was a $4.5 million campaign funded by the CARES Act. Metrics showed that the storytelling-based content truly resonated with viewers and users, who watched more than 23 years’ worth (or 203,382 hours) of content in 30 days. Specifically:

  • Viewers watched an average of 4 to 5 minutes of branded content prior to watching their selected video.
  • The site had more than 567,000 clicks and 61.9 million completed video views. 
  • The press loved the story; it garnered more than 756 million earned impressions.
  • SMARI advertising effectiveness study showed that travel intent to Tennessee doubled for out-of-state travelers who viewed the content.

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