Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the situation surrounding it continually evolved. Infection rates increased and then declined. Mandates were tightened and then loosened. New variants emerged. Consumer sentiments towards health, safety, travel, and life in general evolved, too.
Paradise and The Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades CVB did not stand idly by waiting for recovery. Rather, we generated unprecedented results together by turning up the volume of activity and remaining strategically focused in all efforts. First- and third-party data was monitored in real time to identify insights to optimize initiatives. We were on 24-hour alert for more than 40 weeks straight.
How did we navigate the stress and realities of a global pandemic while not alienating our consumer base to provide economic benefit through tourism to the destination?
The overall business goal was clear: to generate tourism to the destination to mitigate the loss of tax collections and economic impact to the destination due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In the early stages of the pandemic, the initial goal was to increase awareness of the Paradise Coast, while simultaneously keeping the brand top-of-mind in key drive markets. This was a period when only a small percentage of people were traveling, and the brand needed to stand out amongst its competition. Locally, the goal was to positively impact local businesses’ bottom line by making it known that every precaution and CDC safety measure was being put in place to ensure safety for patrons and sales for local businesses.
As the pandemic progressed, the goal remained steadfast and simple: begin to steadily drive visitation back to the destination from key drive and fly markets as soon as people were comfortable traveling again.
In phase one, the CVB launched a three-prong approach to address major areas of concern. First, we launched our first message change to the market on March 31, 2020, a mere 15 days after the country went into lockdown. Second, the CVB launched a first time-ever local marketing program, The Paradise Pledge, to mitigate the negative economic impacts on residents and local businesses. Third, the CVB refocused its marketing efforts on top drive markets with a campaign that delivered a positive, reassuring, soft message of reassurance, hope and inspiration.
The Paradise Pledge
The Paradise Pledge for local businesses is a promise that signified their commitment to keeping customers healthy and safe. By taking The Paradise Pledge, these businesses assured customers they were adhering to the latest CDC and Florida Department of Health best practices. Additionally, the CVB strived to educate partner businesses to follow these best practices while providing them a variety of assets and resources to aid their own efforts. This effort ignited a movement. Hotels, shops, museums, restaurants and attractions all took the Pledge — and implemented its promise of safety in everything they did. It was a powerful, welcome message that drove their business — and with it, Collier County’s economy.
But the CVB took that Pledge a step further by challenging residents to make a similar Pledge – to support those local businesses. All residents needed to do was eat in local restaurants, shop in local stores, and patronize the museums and attractions that normally relied on business from visitors. When they did, they became more than just a customer. They became something everyone in Collier County needed to get through the difficult moment in time: A Local Hero.
Only Paradise Will Do
In mid-2020, Florida began to ease its restrictions. In response, the CVB immediately launched phase two. It recognized that based on comfort levels during that time, there were two different types of travelers emerging: resilient and reluctant. It was critical to understand the mindset and sentiment of these two types of consumers so that a customized strategic plan could be developed to target each uniquely. In response, the CVB launched a multi-platform campaign that resonated with both segments: Only Paradise Will Do.
In the third phase of response efforts at end of 2020, the CVB continued with the successful Only Paradise Will Do messaging and expanded to out-of-state markets again. Updates to the ads were made every few weeks to ensure each deliverable continued to resonate with consumers’ evolving sentiments.
The Campaign Results
Compared to 2019, the campaign contributed:
- +24% visitor increase from southeast drive markets
- +13.4% visitor increase from Florida markets
Website growth among target markets:
- +776% new users – Jacksonville
- +243% new users – Gainesville
- +441% new users – Tallahassee
- +987 new users and +1,050% sessions – Savannah
- 92.4% video completion rate, nearly 20% above benchmarks
2022 HSMAI Adrian Awards
- Best in Show – Recovery Campaign Evolution for “Only Paradise Will Do”
- Gold – Recovery Campaign Evolution for “Only Paradise Will Do”
- Bronze – Complete Advertising Campaign for “Only Paradise Will Do”
- Bronze – Television Campaign for “Only Paradise Will Do”
2021 Visit Florida Flagler Awards
- Henry Award: The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau for the Local Tourism Impact Campaign
- Bronze Award: The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB for the “Only Paradise Will Do” Eco Tourism Campaign
Local campaign results
- $50k Budget
- 3.8M Impressions
- 25k Residents Captured
- Word of Mouth (WOM)
- ROAS was $160:1
- .14% CTR and 80.2% VCR for paid digital ads
- 4.84% CTR paid social retargeting ads
- +35% new website user growth
- +31% new website session growth
- + 55% resident new website user growth
- +56% resident new website session growth
- 13% website bounce rate decrease
- +37% average website session duration growth
2021 Results and all-time high records
- $2.5B Economic Impact
- $36M Tax Collection
- 57.3% Avg. Occupancy
- $152.58 RevPAR
- $266.22 ADR