Author Archives: Colleen Bowes

ACAT Secures Valuable Coverage by Hosting U.K. Media Visits

ACAT’s media relations program in the U.K. includes press releases, media outreach, networking events, and media visits to promote Atlantic Canada as a top travel destination. ACAT’s contracted U.K. media relations firm, The Brighter Group conducts activities on behalf of the region, inspiring U.K. media to produce Atlantic Canada content in newspapers, travel and lifestyle magazines, and television.

In 2018, ACAT has secured a number of media trips for the region from outlets such as ITV This Morning, one of Britain’s top morning news programs with more than 800,000 daily viewers; magazines Lonely Planet, National Geographic Kids, and Glass Magazine; newspapers The Mirror, City AM, Scottish Sun, Hello! Online, and Evening Standard Online.

In recent years, the team has also been harnessing the growing power of social influencers specializing in travel blogs and video platforms. Influencers visiting Atlantic Canada in 2018 include Jeremy Jauncey, founder of Beautiful Destinations (presenting on behalf of ITV This Morning), Hand Luggage Only, Heather on Her Travels, and Paperboyo.

Jeremy Jauncey, founder and CEO, @beautifuldestinations.  Image courtesy of @jeremyjauncey.

Jeremy Jauncey, founder and CEO, @beautifuldestinations. Image courtesy of @jeremyjauncey.

The Value of ACAT US Media Visits

Media relations is a key thrust in the Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism’s (ACAT) 2018  marketing campaign, which aims to stimulate travel and grow revenue for the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island from key US markets. The approach includes the regular distribution of news releases, in-market media events, desk-side media appointments, media outreach, social media amplification and media trips to the region.  Redpoint leads all activities on ACAT’s behalf, building awareness for the authenticity and distinctiveness of an Atlantic Canada vacation and inspiring US media to produce features in print publications, online travel sites and social media platforms.

Media trips to the region are a primary driver of editorial coverage in sought after digital and print publications and social media platforms. At their best, media trips align the interests of destination travel marketers, travel Journalists and travelers.

Gina Dolecki et Rick Stanley de Ocean Quest. Des pétoncles pour le souper pendant l’aventure Taste Beneath The Sea à TNL

Gina Dolecki and Rick Stanley of Ocean Quest. Fresh scallops for dinner during the Taste Beneath The Sea adventure in NL.

Redpoint is well positioned to ensure alignment of all parties as they are firmly entrenched in Atlantic Canada having visited each province in the region a number of times. It is this personal knowledge and understanding which cements the relationship of all stakeholders.

Redpoint has been highly successful in generating key media trips to the region. The provinces have or will be hosting media who write for publications such as Saveur, Afar, the New York Daily News, Food & Wine, Robb Report and the Improper Bostonian.  Coverage in such publications is key to selling our destination to potential visitors.  It offers important and relevant information to our target audience.  Rather than simply promoting our destination ourselves, media coverage provides great value by generating awareness and potential visitors.  Media coverage in such publications adds to reader’s perceptions of our credibility, whereas they may perceive advertising and paid promotions as self serving.

In 2017, ACAT generated more than $750,000 in coverage with a circulation of more than 545 million.  Impressive for a budget of $140,000.

Here are examples of recent coverage for New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Destination Training for UK Travel Agents

The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) recently participated in Destination Canada’s Canada Specialist Program (CSP) annual UK roadshow. The CSP is an educational program for UK travel trade professionals, which includes online training, opportunities to participate in familiarization tours to Canada, and in-market events. The UK travel trade continues to be a key element in attracting UK visitors to Canada. From the UK market, 24% of visitors to Canada consulted travel agents to plan their trip, 29% booked flights with a travel agent, and 25% booked accommodation with a travel agent. (Source: UK Global Tourism Watch 2016).

The 2018 CSP UK Roadshow took place June 13 in Birmingham, June 14 in Exeter, June 18 in London, and June 19 in Manchester. The events combined a networking reception in which Canada representatives each had a display table, followed by a casual dinner and Canada quiz. CSP independent travel agents and reservations staff from key UK tour operators attended. In total, 270 agents were trained at this year’s events. ACTP UK Program Manager Kelley Keefe represented Atlantic Canada.

Kelley Keefe, ACAT, promotes Atlantic Canada to UK travel agents

Kelley Keefe, ACAT, promotes Atlantic Canada to UK travel agents

CSP Roadshow London 3
Destination representatives included Vancouver, Whistler, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Ottawa, Quebec, Yukon, St. John’s and Atlantic Canada. Suppliers included Air Canada, Air Transat, APT, British Airways, WestJet, Rocky Mountaineer, Sun Peaks, and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

At the events, the Atlantic Canada mini presentations during the networking sessions were well received. Many guests commented that they were familiar with Western Canada, Ontario and Quebec, but they lacked knowledge of Atlantic Canada. The agents were very engaged and were especially surprised by the short flying time.

ACAT is Proud to be on the Leading Edge of Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Consider how marketing has changed over time. What we deem today to be the most effective and efficient way to reach our customers may be obsolete next year, or sooner. As markets expand and new platforms emerge, the science and practice of marketing is being transformed by the minute.

ACAT is proud to be on the leading edge, using technology such as artificial intelligence and strategies like influencer marketing. We have incorporated these into our tool box to ensure we penetrate and resonate against our target audience in the US.

Work began on a social media influencer program in early March, with influencers in the region in June and July. A social media influencer is a user on social media who has an established credibility in a specific area such as travel, culinary or lifestyle. They have access to a large audience through their social channels and can persuade them to use a product, visit an area or engage in an activity.
Social Influencers Our ACAT program brings a total of eight influencers to the region from the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US. Each province will see two influencers visit. The influencers will spend a number of days in the province, bringing that province to life through their own special style that connects with and inspires their audience.

A minimum of 10 pieces of custom content will be produced for each province. The best performing content will be amplified with paid drivers. This means paid advertising to entice customers to click through to the newly generated content. All content is approved and owned by each province and can be pushed out further through their own social channels.
Picture1To execute the program, ACAT is working with Time + Space Media, our contracted media planning and buying firm and #Paid, an industry leader in influencer programming. Their proprietary technology and expertise allows brands to be effectively matched with influencers whose content and followers will have the greatest impact on the campaign’s objectives.
Stay tuned for a further updates as the program wraps up.

International Tourism Leaders Celebrate Atlantic Canada

May 16, 2018 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism

Over 1,800 tourism professionals from more than 30 countries gathered last night, May 15, at the Cunard Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia to discover what makes Atlantic Canada a compelling destination for travellers world-wide. ‘Atlantic Canada Night,’ organized as part of Rendez-vous Canada 2018, Canada’s signature international tourism marketplace, was a unique opportunity to inspire international travel agents and tour operators to consider Atlantic Canada for their clients’ vacations.

This highly engaging, educational and fun evening was a great success, showcasing the region’s renowned maritime hospitality, world-class entertainment and fresh local food and beverages from each of the four Atlantic Provinces. The event provided the perfect opportunity for Atlantic Canadian delegates to engage, interact and lay the important groundwork for future business collaborations with international buyers.IMG_1127

Atlantic Canada Night was made possible through funding provided by the Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT). ACAT is a nine-member, pan-Atlantic, international marketing initiative comprised of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the four tourism industry associations in Atlantic Canada and the provincial departments responsible for tourism in the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Funding was also provided by Discover Halifax.

Quick Facts

• Atlantic Canada Night was attended by over 1,800 Canadian and international tourism leaders and celebrated Atlantic Canadian culture, culinary fare, and entertainment, promoting travel to the region.
• Atlantic Canada Night was held as part of Rendez-vous Canada, Canada’s signature international tourism marketplace, on May 15 at the Cunard Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
• Rendez-vous Canada is a four-day business-to-business marketplace that connects international travel trade buyers with Canadian tourism industry sellers through a series of one-on-one appointments, motivating travel to Canada.
• Rendez-vous Canada takes place in a different Canadian city each year. This year’s event is hosted by Tourism Nova Scotia from May 13-16 at the Halifax Convention Centre.
• Funding for the ACAT 2017-2020 is $19,950,000 and comes from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency ($9,975,000) the four Atlantic Provinces (a combined total of $6,583,500), and the four Atlantic tourism industry associations (a combined total of $3,391,500).
• ACAT’s mission is to promote the region and strengthen tourism in Atlantic Canada through coordinated government and industry tourism activities.
• ACAT enables for the pooling of resources to create significant tourism synergies. The Agreement allows the four Atlantic Provinces to penetrate markets that are for the most part inaccessible separately and the opportunity to capitalize on emerging opportunities.
• Discover Halifax is a non-profit, membership-based marketing and sales organization that works in partnership with the Halifax regional government, the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia, and participating industry members to promote Halifax as a destination of choice for leisure and business travellers.

Quotes

“From coast to coast to coast, 2017 brought a record number of 20.8 million international travelers to Canadian communities – the best year ever. We are on track for another exceptional year as we celebrate the Canada-China Year of Tourism. In Atlantic Canada, tourism contributes $5.4 billion each year to GDP, supports 9,800 regional businesses, and employs 62,900 people. Our innovative approach to tourism development under the Atlantic Growth Strategy is ensuring that tourism will create new growth and good middle-class jobs for years to come in the region and across Canada.”

– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

“We are pleased to welcome thousands of travel professionals to Nova Scotia for Rendez-vous Canada and to give them a truly Atlantic Canadian experience. Events like this one showcase all that Atlantic Canada has to offer, helping us attract more visitors from around the world to our region.”
– The Honourable Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Business, Nova Scotia

“Showcasing Atlantic Canada with this type of event creates incredible opportunities,” said Judy Saunders, Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS). “Sharing our story through authentic music, food and culture with over 1800 international tourism leaders including travel trade buyers positions Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada for significant future tourism growth.”
– Ms. Judy Saunders, Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia

Associated Links

Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Atlantic Growth Strategy
Tourism Nova Scotia
New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage
Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
Prince Edward Island Department of Economic Development and Tourism
Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia
Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island
Discover Halifax
Rendez-vous Canada
Canada-China Year of Tourism

Media Contacts

Kevin Mouflier
ACAT Secretariat
Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism
(902) 566-5008

Chris Brooks
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency PEI & Tourism
(902) 566-7569

Alex Handley
Communications Advisor
Tourism Nova Scotia
P (902) 424-5496
C (902) 717-8735

Darlene Grant Fiander
President
Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia
(902) 496-7479

Atlantic Canada Joins Forces in a National Program to Grow Tourism

The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) has been working cooperatively with Destination Canada to grow tourism in Atlantic Canada. In 2018, Atlantic Canada will invest in the Connecting America Program for the third consecutive year. This collaborative marketing venture brings partners from across Canada together to leverage an innovative, multidisciplinary, result-based marketing program focused on the US.

The program’s overall objectives are to build buzz and excitement; improve knowledge of Canada as a travel destination; shift the perception to include warm, fun, exciting and urban; and to create a sense of urgency to visit Canada.

The 2018 program is well underway. In 2017, Atlantic Canada’s investment of $500,000 leverages an additional $481,092 from Destination Canada. The total investment is used to stimulate interest and travel to this region of Canada. The campaign targets individuals age 25-44 from ACAT’s target markets of New York, Boston and Philadelphia who are interested in outdoor adventure, culinary and travel.

In order to best reach these individuals, the 2017 program was delivered through a three-phased approach:

  • To disrupt the marketplace drawing attention to Canada through video, paid social media and paid search;
  • To differentiate Canada from other destinations through the development of relevant content with key publisher partners and then amplify that content with paid content drivers and social post; and
  • To deliver province specific paid digital advertising to the target audience.

Overall, the 2017 Connecting America Program achieved strong results in the US market, achieving or surpassing paid media targets with notable results of 5.8 million content views (including article and video views), 1.2 billion in earned reach and over 2.1 million leads to partners.

For Atlantic Canada specifically, there were more than 8.5 million paid impressions, articles and video views of Atlantic Canada focused content. The overall the click through rate steadily improved throughout the campaign, marked by an overall lift of 150% improvement from launch to campaign end. In addition, the campaign over delivered against the established lead target achieving a 158% of the goal (125,388 vs. 64,816).

Here are samples of content, videos and social media posts created, posted and promoted on Atlantic Canada’s behalf.

GQ How to Experience Canada: Ask a Local

GQ How to Experience Canada: Ask a Local

National Geographic: Newfoundland and Labrador - Where Cosmopolitan Meets Ancient History

National Geographic: Newfoundland and Labrador – Where Cosmopolitan Meets Ancient History

The New York Times, Canada's Maritime Feature

The New York Times, Canada’s Maritime Feature

New York Times - New Brunswick Instagram

New York Times – New Brunswick Instagram

New York Times - Prince Edward Island Instagram

New York Times – Prince Edward Island Instagram

New York Times - Nova Scotia Instagram

New York Times – Nova Scotia Instagram

Connecting America Facebook Post - New Brunswick

Connecting America Facebook Post – New Brunswick

Connecting America Facebook Post - Newfoundland and Labrador

Connecting America Facebook Post – Newfoundland and Labrador

Connecting America Facebook Post - Nova Scotia

Connecting America Facebook Post – Nova Scotia

Connecting America Facebook Post - Prince Edward Island

Connecting America Facebook Post – Prince Edward Island

The Brighter Group Attends UK Media Event on Behalf of ACAT

The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT)’s UK program includes a robust media relations plan to generate media interest and coverage of the region in the UK. Based in London, the Brighter Group has been contracted to deliver the program, which includes media events, press releases, press trips, and more. Resulting coverage in travel and lifestyle magazines, national and regional newspapers, digital and social channels builds awareness of Atlantic Canada as a premier travel destination, enticing UK travellers to make the journey.

The Brighter Group’s Emily Olsen and April Cernuschi attended TravMedia’s annual International Media Marketplace in Westminster, London on behalf of ACAT. TravMedia’s International Media Marketplace is the world’s leading event connecting journalists with the global travel and tourism industry. The ACAT table was situated adjacent to the Destination Canada table and several other Canadian Provinces and Destination Marketing Organizations. The format consisted of 15-minute meeting slots whereby media could meet with their chosen exhibitors. Brighter Group secured 28 appointments with consumer, trade and blogging media such as Express Newspapers, Travel Bulletin, Family Traveller, Rough Guides, Along Dusty Roads and Culture Trip to name a few.

TravMedia International Media Marketplace Appointments

TravMedia International Media Marketplace Appointments

Networking at TravMedia's International Media Marketplace

Networking at TravMedia’s International Media Marketplace

The TravMedia International Media Marketplace provided Brighter Group representatives an opportunity to meet one-on-one with UK media, present 2018 story ideas for general coverage, and generate interest in press trips for the upcoming year. Feedback from media appointments was quite positive and progress is being made to secure press trips and coverage in 2018.

Reaching our Targeted US Traveller

Over the last number of months, the ACAT team has been working diligently to bring to market an innovative and compelling 2018 direct-to-consumer media campaign. The goal is to enhance awareness of Atlantic Canada’s diverse tourism product in the US Mid-Atlantic and New England States and drive visitation and revenue for the four Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). This is achieved through the delivery of a highly targeted direct-to-consumer campaign.

Who are we targeting?
ACAT’s customized research has identified three priority customer segments: Older Authentic Experiencers, Younger Authentic Experiencers and Cultural Explorers. These are the segments of the population, in our target markets, who are likely to visit Atlantic Canada. All of our efforts will be focused on these three groups.

How are we reaching our priority segments?
In 2017, we launched our first 100% digital direct-to-consumer campaign in the US and in 2018 we continue to focus all efforts on digital. Research indicates consumers are online at each stage of the decision making journey and are using various hardware to research and book their travel. A fully digital campaign allows us to be a more interactive and engaging; which is more measurable, can be optimized in real time and is cost effective.  

Decision Journey - Sources of Information

Decision Journey - Hardware UsageThe campaign elevates the profile of the four provinces, with our priority segments, using technology to prospect for high intent consumers and to align our content with the content our priority segments are looking at in both the inspiration and planning phases of decision making.

When are we in-market?
The campaign launched in February and will run until the end of May 2018.

What’s new for 2018?
We are launching our first ever ACAT Influencer program. Influencer marketing is the new “word of mouth” which is very important in the decision making journey. Influencer Marketing

This new program will bring high quality social media influencers to each province in Atlantic Canada, beginning in June and July. The social media influencer will create custom content they will share with followers on their social media platforms.

We are also amplifying our social media reach with the inclusion of YouTube, Instagram and custom created content with the Boston Globe and Time Inc. The content is available on various platforms including desktop, tablet and mobile.

Finally, we have enriched our programmatic buy through the addition of premium sites at a very attractive price point. Ads will be placed on sites such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Travel and Leisure.

All of the efforts outlined above are focused on driving visitation and revenue for our region.

Atlantic Canada Academy – Online Travel Training (OTT)

ACAT hosts a training program for UK and US reservation staff and travel agents on the Online Travel Training (OTT) platform. The OTT Atlantic Canada Academy program consists of five core modules, beginning with Atlantic Canada, followed by one module each for New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Agents are tested at the end of each module and ultimately receive a certificate as a certified expert on Atlantic Canada.

Online Travel Training, Atlantic Canada Module

Online Travel Training, Atlantic Canada Module

Bonus materials are placed along the top tabs, including maps, frequently asked questions, regional contacts, key selling points, links and more. The course delivers a detailed introduction to the region, and will also serve as a future reference site for agents preparing information for clients interested in visiting the region. The OTT platform is also supported by a targeted marketing program.

US Tour Operator Reservation Staff and Travel Agent Training is Underway

Tour operator partnerships are combined with targeted promotional opportunities and face to face and online educational programming to round out an integrated US travel trade program.

Ken Erickson, representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Seattle

Ken Erickson, representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Seattle

Beginning in February 2018, our focus has been on product and destination awareness. Last month we worked with Anderson Vacations, one of our seven strategic partnerships, to promote Atlantic Canadian itineraries to their top performing travel agents in Portland, Seattle, Chicago and Boston.

During each event, an Atlantic Canada representative had the opportunity to meet with travel agents during a mini trade show, deliver a dedicated, high energy presentation highlighting our region and stimulate bookings through an incentive offered by Anderson Vacations to each travel agent in attendance.

Molly Aylward representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Boston

Molly Aylward representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Boston

We will continue to build on these efforts by conducting additional training with our remaining tour operator partners: Globus Family of Brands, American Tours International, Gate 1 Travel, Collette, Road Scholar and Atlantic Tours.