Q2 LEISURE TRAVEL MARKETING PLAN

Data-Driven Marketing

Visit Albuquerque’s marketing decisions are informed by data. To gain insight into the outlook for leisure travel, we track research from industry experts including MMGY, Destination Analysts, Destinations International, the U.S. Travel Association and others. For example, at the end of September 2020, a traveler sentiment survey from Longwoods International and Miles Partnership showed:

  • About 65% of U.S. travelers are planning a trip in the next six months, suggesting a strong desire for travel, but 50% say that COVID-19 will have a major impact on their decision whether to travel.
  • One-third of travelers have changed travel destinations to a place where they can drive instead of fly.
  • Lodging properties with cleaning and hygiene programs are important to 55% of travelers in the U.S.
  • About 47% of travelers prefer to stay at a lodging property that enforces mask-wearing requirements and social distancing policies.
  • Less than half of all Americans (43%) support opening their community to visitors.

We will continuously monitor and analyze this type of information as we develop our marketing messages. We also are tracking the following trends and using them as trigger points to initiate, deploy and scale our marketing campaigns targeted to leisure travelers: 

State and Local Restrictions
  • Easing of travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders in New Mexico.
  • Easing of travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders in the top five to seven geographical markets that we target for marketing.
  • Easing of restrictions on mass gatherings and maximum occupancy levels for hotels and restaurants.
Traveler Intent
  • Google search queries for Albuquerque travel, Albuquerque hotels, Albuquerque events and other keywords.
  • Increases in traffic to the Visit Albuquerque website.
  • Increases in Visitors Guide requests.
  • Increased interest from national travel media.
  • Increased engagement on Visit Albuquerque’s social media platforms.
  • Increases in travel-related inquiries on our website’s live chat feature.
  • Increased traveler confidence, demonstrated through industry survey results that show growing positive sentiment toward air travel and overnight stays. 
Behavior
  • Increased positivity in local sentiment and comfort level with welcoming visitors back into the community.
  • Reopening of popular local venues, attractions and activities.
  • Rescheduling of events, including fairs and festivals.
  • Resumption of group tours.
  • Initial increases in local hotel bookings, occupancy rates and average daily rates, as tracked by STR.
  • Upticks in passenger traffic at the Albuquerque International Sunport.
  • Increased interaction at Visitors Centers managed by Visit Albuquerque at the Sunport and in Historic Old Town.
  • Increased consumer spending confidence overall.
Our Target Audiences for Q2

Target Audiences

In FY21, Visit Albuquerque will continue to target the same core visitor profiles for leisure travel as we have over the past few years:

INTREPID TRAVELERS
  • Male dominant
  • Ages 25-45
  • Average income: $70,000/year
  • Top 3 interests: outdoors, cuisine, events
FRIENDLY FAMILIES
  • Female dominant
  • Ages 35+
  • Average income: $75,000/year
  • Children in the household
  • Top 3 interests: outdoors, culture, events
PRUDENT BOOMERS
  • Female dominant
  • Ages 45 to 65
  • Average income: $75,000/year
  • Top 3 interests: culture, art, cuisine

Targeting methodology will remain flexible as new research becomes available and new targets or subsections emerge as opportunities for promotion.

Messaging

Messaging

In alignment with our efforts to position Albuquerque as a healthy city, many of our marketing messages will focus on outdoor recreation. In addition, research shows that many travelers plan to avoid crowded destinations in favor of locations where they can enjoy fresh air, scenic beauty and outdoor adventures. Albuquerque is fortunate to have an abundance of trails and open spaces where people at every skill level can practice social distancing in the outdoors. We’ll encourage visitors to stay, shop and dine while taking advantage of our outdoors and our great weather. We will also highlight Albuquerque’s affordability, since price is a factor in times of economic uncertainty. 
 
We will monitor keyword searches and website traffic, and as people get more comfortable with traveling again, we will begin to expand our advertising to feature Albuquerque’s arts, culture, and attractions. People will feel safer traveling domestically rather than internationally, so we’ll promote only-in-Albuquerque experiences to generate excitement about our history and diverse cultural experiences that differentiate our city from other U.S. destinations. As we shift into this phase of marketing, our messages and ads will feature Native American traditions, Hispanic heritage, historic neighborhoods and authentic cuisine.

In all of our marketing efforts, we will emphasize ways the local hospitality industry is following safety protocols in their operations. Research shows that more than 75% of people say they will research how a potential destination is managing the COVID-19 situation before they make plans to travel there. We will promote the New Mexico Safe Certified program developed by the New Mexico Society of Association Executives (NMSAE) and the New Mexico Tourism Department and encourage businesses in the hospitality industry to become certified. We have started incorporating the Safe Certified logo into our advertising materials and on our website. The certification program will help instill confidence in travelers, who want to know what travel-related businesses are doing to keep them safe. We will also promote the New Mexico Safe Promise program developed by the New Mexico Hospitality Association with support from the hospitality industry encouraging individual commitments to adhere to COVID-Safe Practices (CSPs).
 
At the same time, we will use our communication channels to encourage visitors to do their part in being responsible travelers when they come to our city. It will be important to reassure residents so that they feel safe and comfortable in welcoming visitors to Albuquerque.

Marketing Channels

Marketing Channels

Our marketing channels to reach our target leisure audiences will include:

  • Highly targeted digital advertising via interactive online banners and videos. Using programmatic advertising vendors such as ADARA and Sojern, we can identify people throughout the U.S. whose web browsing activity indicates that they might be interested in traveling to Albuquerque. We will then target these people whenever and wherever they are online to encourage them to book their trip.
  • Native advertising on the Expedia homepage that will reach site users from targeted geographic markets, and banner ads across other online travel agency sites that are under the Expedia umbrella including Hotels.com and Orbitz.
  • Exciting social media content, including a budget for boosted posts and strategically targeted ad sets in order to broaden the reach, engagement, and overall impressions of certain prioritized elements of the social media strategy. Our social media features stunning photos and videos, helpful and engaging links to our website, and links to relevant media coverage that inspire our followers to share our posts and, more importantly, to start planning a visit.
  • Media relations and public relations coupled with social media influencer marketing. In careful alignment with the triggers identified earlier, we will actively pitch story ideas to travel writers and invite them to visit Albuquerque to capture the flavors and colors of our city. We will immediately begin work on short-lead travel stories with timely angles and long-lead travel stories with future and evergreen angles, and prepare for press trips and media missions when the market indicates the timing is right.
  • A responsive website that features a comprehensive events calendar, interactive 360-degree video experiences, detailed information about the destination and a variety of trip-planning tools. Reopening information on our website will be continuously updated with recommendations for how travelers can safely experience our city and support local businesses. Messaging will be carefully aligned with recovery. 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to ensure VisitABQ.org is easy to find based on relevant search queries.
  • Targeted email messages to our list of more than 130,000 leisure travelers who have opted in to receive information about visiting Albuquerque and want to learn more about events, attractions, cuisine and culture.
Collateral

Collateral

Through a cooperative program with the New Mexico Tourism Department, Visit Albuquerque has acquired new still photography and video assets that depict people enjoying the city while wearing masks and practicing social distancing. We will begin incorporating these images into our advertising and marketing campaigns in Q2 to demonstrate the city’s commitment to promoting safe, responsible visitation.

Our collateral materials also will reflect our commitment to promoting diversity, with a focus on inclusive representation within all marketing efforts. Photo and video assets will be representative of the many cultures and communities that call Albuquerque home. Advertisements, social media posts and website content will reflect the diversity of our residents and visitors. Existing content will be reviewed and new content will be developed to ensure inclusion. When appropriate, Visit Albuquerque also will partner with local organizations that represent these communities to elevate diverse voices, inform direction and approach, and participate in positive social change.

Scroll through the images below to navigate to other sections of this Marketing Plan to view details for specific areas and topics.