Manitoba, Canada’s Heart…Beats

Advertising Campaign | Travel Manitoba

Purpose of Project

Travel Manitoba developed a new tourism brand   in 2014, a success that increased domestic and international awareness of Manitoba as a tourism destination. But in 2017, the challenge became clear: not all markets were interested in the same experiences and the brand assets created in 2014 didn’t tell the whole story. Travel Manitoba’s advertising strategy was a two-pronged approach that targeted existing long-haul and near-markets with different messages and different products and expanded the reach of our campaign by adding new markets and new assets.

Effectiveness / Meeting Objectives

While final results of visitation and expenditures for 2017 are not yet tabulated – some early indicators show positive results: US vehicle traffic from January through September 2017 was up 9.6% over 2016 levels, while border crossing from the US into Manitoba was up 1.6% in 2017 over 2016.

In our short-haul markets (Canada and US), we saw a 113% increase in website users. The traffic on our website during the campaign saw increases from our target markets of up to 2,000%. And although the majority of this traffic came from paid campaigns, we still saw a more than 50% increase in organic and direct traffic in every market.

A post-campaign survey conducted in North Dakota after the completion of the short-haul campaign showed that:

  • More North Dakotans are attracted to Manitoba as a travel destination (42%) than in 2016 (35%);
  • Half of respondents said their opinion of Manitoba as a tourism destination had improved as a result of seeing the campaign.
  • Four in 10 said the campaign had encouraged them to seek out additional information about Manitoba.

Challenges & Changes Made

Travellers from long-haul markets are coming to Manitoba for iconic experiences, including seeing polar bears, beluga whales and northern lights in Churchill. But were these experiences attractive to visitors from short-haul markets? Focus groups were held in the neighboring state of North Dakota and province of Saskatchewan to test the effectiveness of our existing creative and to identify travel motivators. Results indicated that participants wanted urban experiences. And as the largest city in the region, Winnipeg was a key travel motivator. In effect they told us “tell me what you have that we don’t”.

A defined plan with different messages and media was established for short-haul and long-haul markets, instead of using one set of creatives for both.

Target Audience

Travel Manitoba purchased Destination Canada’s Explorer Quotient (EQ) customer segmentation tool that defines traveller types based on their travel values, motivations and desire for certain kinds of experiences. This information provided a comprehensive understanding of Manitoba’s highest potential customers. Using the EQ program, Travel Manitoba has identified “Authentic Experiencers” and “Cultural Explorers” as the two of nine traveller types that are drawn to the tourism experiences that Manitoba has to offer. Emphasis is placed on markets with the highest concentration of Authentic Experiencers and Cultural Explorers in both short and long-haul markets.

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