The mission of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) is to motivate travel to and within Tennessee by inspiring enjoyment, creating memories, producing a desire to return, and establishing key long-term relationships that result in visitors becoming residents. The department's marketing activities promote Tennessee to vacationers in the United States as well as internationally. The department also operates 16 Welcome Centers along the interstate highway system in Tennessee.
While research shows that moms planning family vacations spend a significant amount of time reading online reviews, popular travel sites neglect including reviews from the most important demographic—kids. With this in mind, the TDTD wanted to identify the places and activities that generated the greatest joy among school-aged children. TDTD engaged VMLY&R to help parents plan the ultimate summer vacations for their families in Tennessee by measuring and reporting on the happiness of children, in the hopes the campaign would drive greater engagement on tnvacation.com and ultimately increase family summer travel to Tennessee.
For TDTD’s “Kid Reviewed” campaign, VMLY&R needed to devise a credible, on-brand way to gather and display data related to the joy and excitement children experience at a given place or attraction. But to visualize the results for vacation planners, the teams required an easily extensible web platform that would showcase the captured data, and a platform capable of scaling with the spike in campaign traffic.
VMLY&R developed a custom wearable technology called a Laugh Tracker that was worn by more than 200 children for over 450 hours at over 30 attractions across Tennessee. Laugh Tracker data was imported to tnvacation.com and visualized in several ways, from excitement meters to laughter heat maps. Laugh Trackers recorded more than 36,000 laughs (1.3 laughs/minute) and 54,000 moments of excitement (accelerated heart rate), with over two million data points analyzed. Additionally, TDTD created a traveling “Kid Reviewed” booth, where children recorded their honest reviews of popular attractions. These reviews were posted along with the Laugh Tracker data on the campaign site.
The revamped site and "Kid Reviewed" campaign led to engaged consumers digging for more information. Specifically:
- The site bounce rate decreased by 11%
- Baseline time on site increased by 22%
- Page visits to the Kid Reviewed site reached 118% of projected traffic goals
- Hotel bookings surpassed 20% of the site’s conversion goals established for the site