Get the Most out of Your Tourism Marketing

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page_detail_zoom_4779Like most industries, the travel & tourism has had to adapt to changes in technology. Rather than visiting travel agencies, consumers have moved to self-researching online when planning or booking a trip. This has had an enormous effect on tourism marketing strategies. In an increasingly technological world, digital campaigns are the best way to get your destination in front of eyeballs. Here are a few ways to create successful destination marketing campaigns:

 

Adapt to consumer trends. We’ve already mentioned that individuals planning a vacation turn to the Internet for direction. At Velocity Agency, we dive in deeper. Knowing when your target audience is booking their trip can be the key to success. The peak season for vacation is typically summer, unless you are a winter destination. Prepare your campaign months in advance from when you expect to see traffic. Those scouring the web for the best vacation destination will be doing so long before they commit to a trip. Be the first thing they see and you’re more likely to convince them to book. In the event of last minute bookings, your campaign is already in full swing and you’ve already got them covered.

Spend accordingly. If your paid search budget is evenly distributed, reconsider your spending. Front-load the months leading up to the peak season of interest for your destination. Again, summer is the season for travel, so focus on the months leading up to summer, and continue through August.

Encourage shared content. Everyone loves showing off on the internet, so give people a way to do this that benefits you. Provide a place on your website to share their memories and experiences. Doing this will make your website look more fun and inspire future clients, as well as promote great brand image and keep visitors interacting with your page longer.

 

While these are easy concepts to integrate into your tourism marketing campaign, they are often underutilized. Something as simple as a hashtag or travel blog can help you keep track of your campaign’s success by having travelers share their experiences with you. Having one space to keep track of all your travelers can provide you with a sizable amount of data to help show what worked best, and what should be left out of the next campaign.

Using Videos for Marketing: A Call to Arms

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When it comes to building your online brand, video marketing has taken off largely for one reason: video provides a richer storytelling format for advertisers. In fact, Facebook released a statement on their Facebook for Business page that reads:

“Compelling sight, sound and videomarketingmotion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns, particularly when brands want to increase awareness and attention ov
er a short period of time. From launching new products to shifting brand sentiment, this video format is ideal for marketers who are looking to make a large-scale impact, and for people who will discover more great content in their News Feeds.”

With Facebook putting so much emphasis on the use of video content, you too should be focusing your marketing efforts on video content.  But, what exactly is it that propelled video content to the forefront of the social marketing world?

Here’s our two cents:

Online video views are rising rapidly. It’s projected that by the time 2017 rolls around, 69% of consumer internet traffic will be headed towards video content. This rising trend has gotten the attention of businesses of all sizes, and the videos are about to pour in.

Consumers are clamoring for branded video content, and they respond well to it. Commercials and advertisements can be deemed useless almost instantly by consumers. The internet offers an effective way to spread your message organically.

Furthermore, advances in mobile technology bring videos right to the palm of the consumer. Videos are generally viewable on all screen sizes, and often work better on mobile platforms. For the first time ever, mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage, which has a direct correlation to video views. Mobile platforms, such as Snapchat, have revolutionized the way videos are watched. And, when you compare the vertical layout of Snapchat to the horizontal layout of YouTube, you’ll notice that a vertical layout makes it far easier to pick the ads from the content. Across any platform, vertical viewing is the most popular option.

The rise in video content for marketing can be widely attributed to Facebook. The social media giant now averages 8 billion daily video views from its 1 billion users. If you’re not utilizing video content, this is your call to arms.

Q & A With Velocity Newbs

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We have some great new employees to the Velocity team and we want you to meet them!! What better way to get to know someone than to put them on the spot and have them answer a series of random questions that have nothing to do with anything? Yea, we though so too.

NewbsBlog
Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

S: I gather groceries…?
K: I gather hunters and then kick back
H: If I had to define myself by these terms, I would call myself a gatherer. I always compare a “gatherer” type individual as one who has a very motherly type disposition. I’m also a lover not a fighter if you wanted to know!

 

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

S: Turquoise – it’s the color of mermaids and everyone loves mermaids. (Ariel was my favorite princess)
K: I can’t tell, I’m colorblind. *He actually is. It’s hilarious.* 
H: If I were a new addition to the crayon box, then I would be the color periwinkle. It’s the perfect mixture of blue and purple (two of my favorite colors), yet is beautiful, calming, and peaceful. Periwinkle is the color of one of my favorite flowers, the hydrangea.

 

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

S: How awesome I am singing whatever song is playing and why am I not famous yet?!
K: Can anyone see me singing along looking like an idiot?
H: While I’m driving in my car, I’m usually thinking about what I need to do once I get to my destination or my schedule for the day. It depends on where I am driving, if I’m in bad traffic I’m usually praying that nobody side swipes/ rear-ends me or wishing that I had taken a detour.

 

What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

S: “Wannabe” – Spice Girls
K: Space Jam
H: My favorite 90s jam would have to be “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. I vividly remember watching Titanic for the umpteenth time and singing along to this song with my sister, we even made up a dance to go with it! Anytime it would come on the radio, we let out one of those “squeals!”

 

If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

S: A dog, because they get free food and they can sleep all day *GOALS*
K: My spirit animal is an eagle, but I’ve always felt more like a jungle cat
H: If I could be any animal in the world, I would be a lioness. Protective of her cubs and full of strength, wisdom and tenacity; many people of the world don’t have these qualities.

 

What was the last gift you gave someone?

S: A candle from Fleurty Girl
K: My dad turned 63 so I got him a nice fanny pack
H: The last gift I gave someone was to my little sister Mary Edna, who just turned 17. I gave her a 3-month subscription to IPSY, a monthly”bag” full of fantastic make-up samples. If you’re a female who loves makeup and beauty products, you’re missing out if you don’t already have it!

 

What were you like in high school?

S: I was one of the smart, honors class kids but I had a lot of friends. I hung out with all different types but had a core group of best friends. I was also on Dance Team and voted “Wittiest” in my senior class.
K: Long hair, tight pants
H: I was very social, an athlete, on the student council and the dance line. I was the girl who always dated older guys who were out of high school, which I think made the boys my age a little intimidated. Is that the right word? Lol, I guess I will find out the answer to that soon, as my 10-year reunion is coming up this year.

 

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?

S: On Netflix: Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead. It’s about how terrible Americans eat and the obesity epidemic in the US. I’m hoping it scares me aware from eating all the chicken McNuggets.
K: Kill Bill, because I’ve seen like 6 movies ever and I gotta get the classics out of the way.
H: The last thing I watched on TV was the morning news on WDSU (NBC) when I was getting ready to work. I watch it every morning, but this morning in particular I was keeping an eye out for any updates on the police shooting in Baton Rouge that killed three police officers.

 

Any advice for your previous boss?

S: Not really
K: Try harder dammit
H: Show your employees that you appreciate them. If an employee goes above and beyond and excels within your company, acknowledge it and give him/her a raise. Don’t string your employees along for years while purchasing matching Porsches and taking trips around the world. If they come to you with something, don’t ignore it. It may have taken a lot of guts for them to walk into your office. Don’t let your anger manifest until you blow up in the office. It is unprofessional and it creates a toxic workplace. Do not play favorites with your employees, they all deserve to treated equally based on their work and merit.

 

Tell me something about your last job, other than money, that would have inspired you to keep working there.

S: Bring your dog to work day!
K: I was serving tables and I genuinely like people, so being able to have conversations for money is cool, I can work with that.
H: If management would have been better, the commute not so long, and the workplace more pleasant, then I may have been inspired to stay.

 

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

S: Getting pooped on by the birds at the Bulldog
K: I ran over some kids playing Pokemon Go in the street… and stole their Pokemon, nerds.
H: I had to explain to my step-son that our dog Clotile is not a horse and why she cannot be ridden as one!

 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

S: Successful & Happy
K: I haven’t thought that far, I’m still working on the growing up part.
H: The best mother I can be.

 

What’s your favorite word? 

S: Weenus.
K: Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.
H: Perfect.

 

What would your theme song be if one played every time you walked into a room?

S: “Get It Ready” – DJ Jubilee
K: FREE BIRD. 
H: “Rise” by Katy Perry

 

What’s your personal motto?

S: Karma’s a bitch.
K: I’ll try anything once.
H: Don’t fear the future, run at it with open arms and a full wallet.

 

Who is your personal hero?

S: I don’t have one.
K: on a serious note, that would be my father
H: I would consider my mother to be my personal hero. She is the strongest, most resilient woman that I know. Not only has she raised 7 amazing kids all while being a working mother, she has encouraged and pushed each of us to peruse our dreams, instilling in us that anything is possible as long as we put 100% into everything we do.

 

LOVE, MARRY, KILL: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Satan.

S: TBH: they’re all terrible and don’t deserve my time or attention
K: love satan, never marry, kill myself
H: KILL, KILL, KILL. I despise them all!

 

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: City Business feature II

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In this second installment of New Orleans City Business‘ feature on Velocity Agency – naming us as one of the top five Fastest Growing Companies in NOLA – Quincy Hodges sits down with Vice President Kevin Conway. Kevin talks business, backbone, Berning and the benefits of being set up as a one-stop-shop.

Editor’s note: CityBusiness tracks the Fastest Growing Companies in the New Orleans area based on information we obtain from our regular surveys of private companies. The five standouts that will be featured in our May 13 print edition reported the largest percentage increase in revenue over the past three years among companies that posted between $20,000 and $100,000 in gross income. The ceiling and basement were established to focus on companies still on the rise, while eliminating the dramatic jumps seen during the early seven-figure stages.

By: Quincy Hodges, Reporter May 9, 2016
After evolving from a marketing and production company into an in-house advertising firm, Velocity Agency has extended its reach all across the country and has made strongholds in several categories. Velocity has grown its revenue from $4.5 million in 2013 to $15 million in 2015, a 175 percent three-year growth.

“Coming from the foundation of Robert Berning Productions in 1975, we’ve been blessed to have all of these assets at our disposal,” said Kevin Conway, Vice President of Velocity. Conway said moving into the digital space was an obvious progression.

When Berning died and his son, Robert Berning III, took over, he recruited Conway out of Los Angeles. Conway said he moved back to New Orleans three years ago and made a commitment to put the right people in the right positions.

Conway attributes some of the revenue growth to Velocity’s ability to be completely in-house by employing editors, a social media team, application developers, web developers, SEO experts, etc. “We really just have everything in one place,” he said. “We are able to create and execute amazing campaigns in an efficient manner, and no other agency in this region can really do that.”

Conway came with a legal and business background and Berning with experience in motion production and more than 20 years of experience as a member of the Berning Productions team. “The combination of the two of us has been quite beneficial,” Conway said. “We are committed to growth and it’s a big theme around here.”

Conway said it’s imperative that Velocity grows outside of the region as well as inside it. Looking forward, Conway said Velocity is aggressively committed to growth in the casino gaming area, health care and legal sectors and with companies that understand the necessity of being in the digital landscape.

Velocity Agency Recognized by New Orleans City Business

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Recently, Velocity Agency was recognized by New Orleans City Business as a top private company in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.  As a full-service digital marketing agency, we’re dedicated to utilizing both the latest technology and our in-house assets to get the absolute best results for our valued clients.

Below is the article from New Orleans City Business in its entirety.

New technologies boost revenues for ad firms

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories examining the Top Private Companies in the New Orleans area in 2016.

By: Quincy Hodges, Reporter March 22, 2016

While having the latest technology or unique strategy works in advertising, building brand loyalty, connecting with users and targeting a specific audience is becoming more important than ever for clients in New Orleans and around the country.

Bestie Gambel, president of Gambel Communications, said over the past year she’s seen an increased engagement and importance of social media. At her public relations firm, Gambel said social media activity continues to be strong and robust, along with the use of traditional media.

“What we do is integrate traditional and non-traditional media and definitely use social media to further enhance those messages,” she said. “What has been most interesting is that social media platforms are taking in the idea of boosted or promoted posts.”

Gambel said some clients are now willing to put money behind their social media content to boost their reach to customers.

“That is becoming more and more a best practice, especially for businesses,” she said. “You can really target who you want to speak to by doing that.”

Mark Mayer, president of Peter A. Mayer Advertising, said using 360 degree marketing for clients looks at all of the touchpoints that affect consumer choice and outcomes. It includes social media, digital marketing, public relations and placed-based marketing.

“I think we’ve developed a strategy in analytic capabilities and we have developed some proprietary strategic tools to unlock cultural brands,” he said. “Culture insights, proprietary to us, help brands use culture and that’s a large part of the work that we do.”

Mayer said those cultural insights simply help connect client brands to users, and that’s what is exceptional at the agency.

The agency did experience a loss in revenue compared to the previous year after losing a large client in fall 2015, but was able to rebound by adding some new clients and increasing work with existing clients. Over the past several years, the agency has grown its market client base from 25 percent to 50 percent. Mayer said their sweet spot is being based in the southern part of the United States and being able to market to the rest of country. That is a trend that he anticipates will continue due to the agency’s strong presence in tourism and hospitality.

Velocity Agency has evolved from a marketing and production company into a full-fledged, in-house advertising firm attracting customers from around the country in many different categories. Velocity’s revenue grew to $15 million in 2015, a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

“What it really comes down to is that Velocity Agency is a digital marketing agency at heart focusing on leveraging technology and the evolving digital landscape to get the best results for clients at the most efficient cost,” said Kevin Conway, Vice President of Velocity. “And being that we’re built on the foundation and evolution of Berning Marketing and Production, which has been around since 1975, we have three buildings with all assets internally.”

In this age of everything being about constant content and creation, Conway said Velocity has used its in-house assets to be able to create video, audio, graphics and smartphone apps, websites and social media faster than its competitors.

Conway said there are some emerging trends he’s noticing, including the ability for programmatic media buying, highly targeted geo-fencing, and geo-shaping with retargeting components.

“Those are unbelievable technologies that allow you to really drill down and not waste impressions, but only serve your target market; so you’re not paying for impressions that are wasteful,” he said.

 

The Future Is Now: Avatar-Inspired Online Shopping

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With Cyber Monday surpassing Black Friday in gross sales this past holiday season, it is

safe to say that online shopping will continue with exponential growth. While online shopping is

very popular, it still has an intrinsic downside; an estimated 30 percent of all purchases are

returned, which drives up the retailer’s overall costs. With this cost increase, it’s no wonder

that retailers are developing better ways to decrease returns and increase customer

satisfaction – Queue the Avatars.

 

Multiple international clothing companies, along with Hewlett-Packard Enterprises

leading the charge, have created an Avatar-based experience; multiple cameras scan your body

and stitch all of the pictures together, accounting for movability, skin-tone, hair style, etc. Once

the stitching process has been completed, you will see yourself displayed as an Avatar on your

preferred device. Now, you are able to select various clothing items to see exactly how they will

look on you without ever stepping foot into a dressing room! This technology, coupled with

your first-party browsing and shopping data, can even suggest various clothing items based on

past purchases and preferences. Hewlett-Packard believes that this is just the beginning for

Avatar use; they envision it being utilized in gaming devices, tracking weight loss, and

recommending clothing based on the changes in one’s body. As brick and mortar is still a viable

way to shop, the introduction of Avatars make it even more tempting to shop from the comfort

of your own home.

3 More Reasons Why New Orleans Should Host Every Super Bowl

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Nate Scott published an article in USA today giving 10 reasons why New Orleans should be the only city to host a Super Bowl and as a local I agree. I want to expand on what he offered, and I may reiterate a few of his points here, but I want to expand on them as a local.

Resiliency

For one thing, New Orleanians are resilient. We recovered from Katrina, the costliest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic with $108 billion in property damage. Five years later we dealt with and overcame the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. No matter what you throw at us, we come back. Any challenges that come with a Superbowl are handled with ease.

 

We are the home of the party (and the police who can control it)

We’ve hosted 10 Super Bowls, 5 Final Four’s, and one Republican National Convention, and when you add in annual events like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, if there is one thing New Orleans excels at, it’s throwing a party.

We also have at least a hundred festivals happening throughout the city in any given year and our police officers are sent to other cities in the US to train them in crowd control. If you can think of a better place to have a party, let me know but I think New Orleans has them beat.

The food

Scott mentioned the food in his article but what he left out is that both Saveur magazine and Thrillist have named us number one food city in the nation. The restaurants here are some of the best in the world and south Louisiana has a unique cuisine that you can’t find anywhere else.

 

Bonus:

All the companies that come in and need to produce events in coordination with the Super Bowl can hire the premier event design business in the south, Velocity’s own Event Design Build.

9 Apps to Improve Your Mardi Gras Experience

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One of the things about working in technology is that it is easy to see how technology can help make things better and Mardi Gras is no exception. As the Fat Tuesday weekend gets underway we wanted to give you a few apps that might help you avoid some headaches and enjoy the weekend ahead.

Getting there and Getting Home

Waze

If you are driving I’d recommend Waze. The more people on the road the better it’s crowd-sourced traffic data works, making Mardi Gras the perfect time to use it. Waze alerts you to traffic jams, accidents, road hazards, and my favorite feature, warns you of police ahead. Oh, and Google owns it so it’s reliable. Download it now. iOS | Android

Transit Tracker – New Orleans RTA

The best way to get downtown during Mardi Gras is public transportation. The French Quarter is closed to driving from Friday evening until midnight Tuesday, so driving there is impossible. Even if you try, you won’t be able to find a place to park as people tend to rent the spots in the private pay lots for the whole 5-day stint. Transit Tracker will allow you to put in your starting location and desired destination and it will show you which buses or streetcars will get you there and where you will need to walk. It also has real-time GPS data on the bus/streetcar locations, but this is reliant on the RTA actually keeping the trackers in working conditions. If the past is any indication, this could be a hit-or-miss thing. iOS only

Google Maps

When you are downtown, Google Maps is still the best map for walking around and finding restaurants, bars, and hotels. Google has the best database of business listings and it loads fast. You should already have this app, if not, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND DOWNLOAD IT! NOW!!!! iOS | Android

 
Uber

I was hesitant to add this one because surge pricing will likely be in effect all weekend and getting an Uber will be expensive. But if you’ve got the budget for it, rock-n-roll. iOS | Android

 

PARADE NAVIGATION

There are several parade tracker apps that will give you the schedule, real time location, and in some cases some history of each Mardi Gras krewe.

Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide

Originally started as a print publication in 1977 it’s morphed over time and it now available as both an iPhone and iPad app. If you want the history of Mardi Gras, background on the krewes, and what the hot throw is, along with the usual date, time, and route maps, this is the guide for you. iOS | Android


WWL TV and WDSU Parade Tracker Apps

Two of the local TV news stations have their own branded parade tracker apps. They are fast loading, pretty much offer the same features, and are free. They both show you routes, times, and give you a real-time update on the where their vehicle is along the route (usually near the front of the parade). These apps are great to give you an idea of how long you will be waiting for parade once you have staked out your spot along the route. WWL iOS | Android WDSU iOS | Android

 

Utility

AirPnP

One of the things about Mardi Gras is there ain’t no place to pee on Mardi Gras Day. This is such a local colloquialism that it was immortalized in a song by local celebrity band, Benny Grunch and the Bunch. This app provides you with a map of places to relieve yourself on Mardi Gras day without risking a misdemeanor charge and fine. There are free locations and ones that charge but when you got to go, you’ll pay almost anything. iOS | No Android, but there is a web app

Communication


SMS

Trying to make a phone call along a parade route is an exercise in futility. It has something to do with the massive numbers of people in close proximity and the amount of bandwidth a given cell tower can handle, but no matter the reason the result is the same, you can’t make a call. No download needed

 

 

GOOGLE: Better Than YELP

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To YELP quite literally means “to Howl, Yap, Screech, or Cry.”

Think about that the next time you regard a “Yelper” as a legitimate anything.

Since moving to New Orleans from the REAL culinary capital of the South, Lafayette, my girlfriend and I have made it a goal to try a different culinary establishment each week and give it a true taste-test. Being the Google AdWords Manager at Velocity Agency, it is my natural instinct to Google “Best Restaurant Near Me” rather than ask locals. Upon searching, there is a bevy of places that pop up. I narrow my destination upon two factors: ratings and types of food. One place caught my eye with its 4.5-star rating with over 170 reviews and Creole description, Jacques-Imo’s.

When doing a random search, it is easy to overlook all the amenities Google provides to help you in your decision. When searching Jacques-Imo’s, not only did it show salivating pictures of Southern dishes known to this region, but you can view their menu, hours of operation, and also click the map to give you directions from your current location. But, you already knew that. The features that Google recently added that are really captivating are the popular times feature. It shows which times you can expect the largest crowd. This is based on the users who have chosen to store their location information on Google servers and average out over the previous weeks. This feature is used for restaurants, bar, gyms, or other establishments Google deems relevant.

The other feature that Google recently rolled out is to make a reservation. All you have to do is simply click on the restaurant of choice to show more options, select the size of the party, and chose a time. Voila! Your table is waiting. However, to use this feature, the restaurant must use Open Table. Sadly, Jacques-Imo’s did not have this functionality, so we had to stand outside and wait (so 2012). These are just some of the features Google has provided to make our indecisive lives and future New Orleans tasting tour that much easier.

Virtual reality in the palm of your hand

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As technology increases at an exponential rate, the public is being integrated into the technological realm faster and faster. With advancements such as 3D printers, voice recognition software and hover boards, the world we inhabit is slowly becoming what was once only imagined in a sci-fi movie. Thanks to another innovation by Google, virtual reality has become a physical reality.

Google Cardboard has brought the world of virtual reality to the comfort of your home, in the palm of your hand. Cardboard gives the user full submersion into a 360-degree virtual world. The purpose of Cardboard is to encourage the development of virtual reality applications and to make these applications available at a low cost.

One application of Google Cardboard being tested is virtual field trips for students. The affordability of Cardboard, and the authenticity of its virtual worlds provides students with an opportunity otherwise unattainable. Through Cardboard, the students can travel across the globe to locations far from reach, even underwater and the surface of Mars. Each student will view the selected reality through Cardboard, while the instructor uses a tablet to conduct a guided tour and point out learning objectives.

When should students expect to travel across the world from their desks? The Expeditions Pioneer Program is currently scouting locations to introduce Cardboard into the classroom. This program came to New Orleans through Loyola University to spread awareness, and revealed that it hopes to be inside schools as soon as the 2016-2017 school year. Aside from the occasional student catching a case of motion sickness, Google Cardboard looks to have a promising future in schools of five countries.