Montana Tourism Campaign Wins Mercury Award At Esto
Big news from Big Sky Country. Our client, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development, and Hoffman York took home a prestigious Mercury Award at the U.S. Travel Association’s 2021 Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) Conference held in Los Angeles, CA.
The Mercury Awards, presented by the National Council of State Tourism Directors (NCSTD), recognizes excellence and creative accomplishments in state destination marketing in various categories. Montana and Hoffman York won in the category, “The Road Less Traveled” for the Eastern Montana Initiative which highlighted the beauty, history, and people of the eastern side of the state.
“The Road Less Traveled” award recognizes initiatives that present a strategy for moving tourism dollars throughout the entire state, outside of the traditional tourist areas. The Montana Tourism marketing team and Hoffman York are honored to have received such a prominent award.
According to the judges, this campaign won because of its business development plan, its initiative to improve the economic impact of tourism in specific counties in Eastern Montana by addressing overcrowding, inclusion of both short-term and long-term goals, and primary research with key stakeholders throughout the region.
To best understand the challenges and opportunities in Eastern Montana, research partner Destination Analysts facilitated a series of two-hour listening sessions with stakeholders throughout the two regions, while Big Sky Solutions and Strategies acted as liaison for the communities involved.
The campaign, rooted in research, steered the creative and content development by identifying top activities—historical sites/Indian Country, dinosaur museums and digs, and bird hunting—as well as the communities that needed a tourism boost and had the infrastructure to support more visitors.
To maximize the program’s budget, and to inform and educate audiences about Eastern Montana experiences, the campaign focused on media executions including native static and video ads, digital display, and paid social media. All these efforts contributed to the success of the program by delivering millions of targeted consumer impressions and increased website visits and page views. Ultimately, the increase in visitors to the eastern part of the state was the key metric of success.