One of many great tourist attractions throughout the Central Okanagan: Water fun on Kalamalka Lake.

Tourism Kelowna leveraging marketing dollars to attract tourists

In its annual report, Tourism Kelowna says leveraging its marketing dollars is allowing it to spread the word about Central Okanagan

  • Mar. 6, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Tourism Kelowna spent over $800,000 on a marketing campaign spotlighting the Central Okanagan in 2014 but says it was able to leverage that money into nearly $3.5 million dollars in advertising exposure through a strategy that included the use of freelance journalists, social media as well as targetted online marketing.

The advertising strategy leveraged ways to add value to the dollars spent through traditional marketing avenues like television and print while getting its message out with online campaigns that interacted with potential tourists.

“Our external advertising creates that urge to visit the area,” said Nancy Cameron, president and CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “We’re trying to convince people to book their trip here and once they get here we have in-venue guides to get people to visit more attractions.”

Cameron laid out Tourism Kelowna’s marketing strategy and the results of it to Lake Country council this week in an annual presentation. Last year was the third year Lake Country joined the regional marketing group and Cameron said many Lake Country attractions are popular with tourists, including one of the most popular in the entire region, the Kangaroo Creek Farm in Lake Country.

As part of its marketing plan Tourism Kelowna spent $150,000 to bring 100 journalists to the Central Okanagan to write travel and tourism stories in a variety of different magazines. Two full-time tourism staff members work to attract travel writers to the area throughout the year.

“We bring those journalists here and they write stories about the area,” said Cameron. “They wrote 129 articles with a circulation of over 25 million. If we had to purchase that advertising it would have cost over $2 million.”

Cameron said the evolution of online marketing is also allowing the group to be able to create more engaging content such as ads in online magazines or web sites like theweathernetwork.com where visitors would click on an ad and be sent to a video on the Tourism Kelowna web site.

Cameron said the advertising with web sites such as the Weather Network allows for a targeted approach that went after people living in places that might not have the same weather patterns as the Okanagan.

“The (Weather Network) ads are cued to show up with viewers who are located in city’s or places with temperatures of minus-10 or below,” said Cameron. “It’s been quite effective.”

Advertising online also allows Tourism Kelowna to quickly change its focus if a certain message doesn’t appear to be working, added Cameron.

“We can see how our advertising resonates and if the pickup is not strong then we will shift it,” she said. “Because it’s digital we can shift very quickly. We test and we are watching every ad. If it doesn’t get any response we will try to move that money around fluidly so we are not wasting money.”

Other strategies Tourism Kelowna continues to use is marketing its golf partnership that is into its fourth year, marketing the region as a golf destination with 12 championship golf courses involved in the partnership.

Not surprisingly, traffic on Tourism Kelowna’s social media platforms is also growing rapidly with traffic on Facebook (27 per cent increase), Twitter (up 32 per cent) and You Tube videos (up 37 per cent), all showing significant growth.

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Anja Dumas

The Kelowna Capital News puts the spotlight on community leaders with annual awards

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Blowing snow, slippery sections on Okanagan Connector

Compact snow, poor visibility on Highway 97 from Pennask Summitt to Brenda Mines.

IH adds immunization clinic Sunday in Kelowna

Drop-in meningococcal vaccination clinic on today at Community Health & Services Centre

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

UBCO prof tests software to help cancer patients

Program may help those reluctant to engage ‘tough conversations’ in advance care planning

Broken de-icer delays flights at Kelowna airport

Passengers were on board for three hours Sunday waiting for departure to Vancouver

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Well-known Canadian bird making a comeback

Once on the brink of extinction, the peregrine falcon no longer considered at risk in Canada.

Suzuki: Shine a light during dark times

People need to remain positive despite difficult and unpredictable political climate

Most Read