Author Archives: Colleen Bowes

March / April 2016

Destination Canada – Canada Shared Event
The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP) was a partner in the Canada Shared event held March 2-3, 2016 in London, England. The biennial networking and educational event took place at the newly renovated Canada House in Trafalgar Square. Thirty-nine Canadian Signature Experiences (CSE) members were hosted in London by Destination Canada. ACTP and provincial representatives also participated, along with key UK media and travel trade contacts.

The event provided CSE members the opportunity to learn about doing business in the UK market and network with top tour operators, travel agents and media. French and German trade contacts also participated this year.

Anna-Marie Weir, Roads to Sea, New Brunswick chats with UK tour operator Liz Lunnon, Discover the World at Canada Shared in London, England.

Anna-Marie Weir, Roads to Sea, New Brunswick chats with UK tour operator Liz Lunnon, Discover the World at Canada Shared in London, England.

Several small events took place over two days, including:
• Canada Specialist Program Roadshow, an opportunity for CSE members to meet front line travel agents.
• Panel discussion to enhance knowledge among CSE members of working directly with UK trade and increasing business.
• Media luncheon.
• Pre-scheduled tradeshow format meetings with key UK tour operators.
• British Annual Canada Travel Awards (BACTAs), which recognizes excellence among UK travel writers and tour operators in promoting Canada.

Six CSE members from Atlantic Canada participated in Canada Shared this year:
Village Acadien de Caraquet, New Brunswick
Roads to Sea Guided Tours, New Brunswick
Lighthouse Picnics, Newfoundland & Labrador
Ocean Quest Inc., Newfoundland & Labrador
Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland & Labrador
Celtic Colours International Festival, Nova Scotia

Feedback from the event has been positive; the biggest benefit being the opportunity to meet with UK trade and media to learn more about the market. The quality of buyers in attendance was quite high and future business potential for the region is promising. Existing knowledge of Canada and Atlantic Canada was good, but the event provided the opportunity to improve awareness of the region and its product offerings.

The Canadian Signature Experiences Collection is an inventory of visitor experiences that deliver on Destination Canada’s Keep Exploring brand promise and drive international sales to Canadian tourism businesses. The collection represents large and small companies, rural, urban and remote experiences that are offered to mass and niche markets. For a complete list of Canadian CSEs, visit:

January / February 2016

Elevating Awareness of Atlantic Canada in the United States
ACTP implements an integrated annual media relations strategy in the U.S. which concentrates efforts on the regular distribution of news releases, in-market media events, desk-side media appointments, media outreach and media trips to the region. Meredith Pillon Marketing Communications, ACTP’s in-market media relations firm, leads the activities on behalf of the partnership, building awareness for the authenticity and distinctiveness of an Atlantic Canada vacation and inspiring U.S. media to produce features in print publications, online travel sites and social media platforms.
Oyster ServerOysterTypes
Early in 2015, ACTP hosted 53 high quality media representing some of the most influential publications such as Travel + Leisure, Conde Naste Traveler and Food & Wine, at ACTP’s annual New York City media event. New York is ACTP’s most important media market and plans are currently underway for this year’s event which will take place on February 9, 2016. Representatives from the provinces will deliver top travel stories and promote 2016 visitation. The annual event keeps Atlantic Canada’s new developments and tourism attributes top-of-mind with key editorial decision makers and generates interest for story ideas and media trip planning for the year ahead. A full house is expected as our media event is one of the most coveted invites of the year. The event is relaxed and informative with great food and entertainment.

Meredith Pillon Marketing Communications assembled a very impressive set of media appointments in March of 2015 to cultivate productive working relationships and foster new ones. Media from publications such as the New York Times, Robb Report, Passport Magazine, Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and met with the provinces to discuss story ideas and media trips.

According to ACTP’s United States Consumer Research conducted by TNS, when respondents were asked where they would look for information on travel to one or more of the Atlantic Provinces, 20% indicated articles and stories in magazines and newspapers. This demonstrates the importance of editorial coverage for leisure travelers.Sources of Trip Planning
Press trips are a critical component of the integrated media relations plan and continue to provide the best opportunity to generate earned media value. The culmination of various key tactics, secured more than 20 media trips during June to September which will produce valuable coverage for Atlantic Canada. In many cases, it may take a year or two for coverage to be realized as the lead time for print articles is significantly longer than online.

Substantial efforts have resulted in a media relations program generating solid returns. During the 2012-2015 agreement, the program generated $14.8 million in earned media value resulting in a return on investment of $35.02:1.

November / December 2015

ACTP Media Relations Program Delivers Valuable Coverage in the United Kingdom

ACTP’s media relations strategy in the U.K. includes press releases, media outreach, in-market networking events and media visits to secure valuable coverage on Atlantic Canada as a top travel destination. ACTP contracts media relations firm Brighter Group to conduct activities on behalf of the partnership, inspiring U.K. media to produce Atlantic Canada features in newspapers, magazines, digital and social media.

Dame Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen

In 2015, ACTP secured twelve U.K. press trips for the region from outlets such as the Financial Times, the Sunday Times, Wanderlust magazine and more. In addition, celebrity Dame Esther Rantzen, a well-known and respected English journalist and television presenter visited the Maritimes in October. Dame Rantzen has penned a feature to appear in December in the Daily Mail, with a readership of 1.6 million and MailOnline, the world’s most read website.

Presently, ACTP is planning a dedicated media event to host influential U.K. media to a taste of Atlantic Canada in London. Representatives from the provinces will deliver top news stories and promote 2016 visitation. The annual event generates fresh interest in Atlantic Canada during a key time for planning travel stories and booking press trips for the year ahead. A range of publications are expected to attend, including national newspapers, travel and lifestyle magazines, trade publications and broadcast outlets.

ACTP will also partner with Destination Canada at upcoming in-market events including the Canada Shared media luncheon and the British Annual Canada Travel Awards (BACTAs), to be held in early March 2016.

ACTP’s U.K. media relations program consistently generates a strong return-on-investment. During the 2012-2015 agreement, the program generated over $20 million in earned media value and reached over 190 million people. This represents a return of $42.15 for every dollar invested into the program.

September / October 2015

Promoting Visitation Through Strategic Partnerships
Travel trade activities are a key strategic component of the overall US marketing strategy. Tour operator joint marketing partnership activities are combined with training and educational programming and targeted promotional opportunities to round out a complete and integrated program. The goal of all activity is to raise awareness of Atlantic Canada’s tourism product and generate visitation and revenue for the region. An overall $10 return for every $1 invested is the target.

In 2015, strategic partnerships were developed with five key tour operator partners. Results are currently being tracked and all indications suggest final results, submitted in November of this year, will be positive. Each partnership opportunity is different and unique to the tour operator. In 2015, Atlantic Canada was promoted through the use of direct mail and email campaigns as well as social media, online advertising and training. Here are some samples of custom promotional pieces.

Globus Family of Brands E-Blast

Globus Family of Brands E-Blast

Anderson Vacation E-Blast

Anderson Vacation E-Blast

As 2015 winds down, ACTP’s planning for 2016 is gaining momentum. Plans are currently being developed for a robust travel trade program in the US which will continue to include tour operator partnerships and training for travel agents and sales staff.

UK Travel Trade Program Boosts Sales to the Region
The United Kingdom is Atlantic Canada’s most important overseas market in terms of visitation and revenue. UK consumers continue to consult travel agents and tour operators to research potential holiday destinations and make bookings. ACTP strengthens awareness of the region among key trade contacts through training programs, educational events and joint marketing campaigns.

Launched in late 2014, the Atlantic Canada Academy on the Online Travel Training (OTT) platform is a customized Atlantic Canada training program for UK travel agents. OTT has over 68,000 member agents globally and 42,000 active in the UK and Ireland. As of October, over 400 agents have successfully completed the Atlantic Canada Academy and a surge is expected in the months ahead as ACTP renews its marketing and incentive program for agents. ACTP also participates in Destination Canada’s Canada Specialist Program in the UK.

Educational activities aimed at UK travel trade take place throughout the year. ACTP recently participated in the Destination Canada’s CSP MegaFam, hosting travel agents from around the world, here to experience first-hand what the region can offer their clients. In March, ACTP will participate in the Canada Shared event in London, promoting select Canadian Signature Experiences to London trade and media. ACTP also attends two annual tradeshows to meet with UK operators, World Travel Market in London in November and Rendez-vous Canada, which rotates across Canada each spring.

 Cox & Kings print ad, Escapism Magazine, March 2015

Cox & Kings print ad, Escapism Magazine, March 2015

One of ACTP’s most important travel trade activities is forming joint marketing partnerships with UK tour operators to boost Atlantic Canada sales to their customers. Marketing programs typically run during the key booking months of January to May, and include traditional and innovative activities. In 2015, ACTP formed thirteen marketing partnerships with top UK tour operators to support activities such as representation at consumer travel shows, digital campaigns, print ads in national newspapers, editorials in travel magazines, e-newsletters and direct mail campaigns.

During the 2012-2015 ACTP Agreement, the UK travel trade program generated sales of $8.5 million to Atlantic Canada and a return of twenty-nine dollars for every dollar invested.

Atlantic Canada Promoted to International Travel Markets with Collaborative Government and Industry Efforts

July 17, 2015 – Miramichi, NB – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Canada’s east coast is often described by travel writers as a hidden gem, with numerous attractions frequently appearing in top 10 lists of must-see travel destinations. The federal government, provincial governments from the four Atlantic Provinces and tourism operators want to promote the region, welcome visitors and strengthen the tourism industry. An ongoing collaborative effort to do just that was reconfirmed today at an event held in Miramichi, NB.


Pictured here from left to right: Constable Charles Bougie – Doaktown, RCMP; His Worship, Gerry Cormier, Mayor of Miramichi; Ms. Tilly O’Neill Gordon, Member of Parliament, Miramichi; the Honourable Bill Fraser, New Brunswick Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture; the Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), Mr. Kevin Mouflier, Industry Co-chair of? the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership Management Committee, the Honourable J. Heath MacDonald, Prince Edward Island Minister of Economic Development and Tourism; and Constable Samatha Ash – Neguac, RCMP. Photo Credit – Daniel St Louis

The Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), the Honourable Bill Fraser, New Brunswick Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, and Mr. Kevin Mouflier, Industry Co-chair of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership Management Committee, announced a three-year renewal of funding for the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP).

ACTP is an international marketing agreement with a total project value of $19,950,000. The multi-year partnership involves creating and executing marketing strategies and tactics to promote Atlantic Canada as a tourism destination in priority foreign markets. Over the next three years this pan-Atlantic partnership will focus its efforts and resources on: increasing reach and frequency of provincial brand marketing in targeted international markets; sharing knowledge and learning opportunities; maximizing marketing efficiencies and financial prudence; and increasing access to information, market intelligence and market knowledge.

Quick Facts
• The Government of Canada, through ACOA is committing $9,975,000 to renew the three-year Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership. The four Atlantic Provinces will invest a combined total of $6,583,500, and the four Atlantic tourism associations will contribute a combined total of $3,391,500.
• ACTP is a nine-member, pan-Atlantic, international marketing initiative comprised of ACOA, 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.
• ACTP enables 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.
• A recent third party analysis found that the ACTP 2012-2015 agreement’s activities generated $164.4 million in revenues for tourism enterprises in Atlantic Canada. This equates to a return on investment of $13.55 for every dollar invested in direct-to-consumer advertising and joint marketing partnership with the travel trade.ACOA Graphic Revise-ENG
• The ACTP supports one of the key priorities of the Government of Canada’s Federal Tourism Strategy: raising awareness of Canada as a premier tourist destination.

Under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Harper, our Government continues to support job creation and growth by making Canada more competitive and allowing job-creating businesses to thrive. I am pleased to announce our Government’s support for the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership, an initiative that exemplifies collaboration between government and industry. This strategic investment provides for positive economic returns in all four Atlantic Provinces, as we showcase all that the region has to offer.”
- The Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Tourism is an important economic driver and today’s announcement is excellent news for New Brunswick,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Bill Fraser. “Our government is committed to growing the economy and creating jobs. This is another important step in moving New Brunswick forward and making our province better for our families and our communities.”
- The Honourable Bill Fraser, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage (New Brunswick)

Our industry’s collective contribution and commitment to the ACTP has generated significant gains for tourism in Atlantic Canada. It is important for industry to sit at the table with the provincial governments and ACOA to map out go-forward plans for a prosperous future in tourism. Without ACTP, many of the opportunities gained through the partnership would simply be unattainable. The revenue and visitation growth generated through this initiative benefits Atlantic Canada tourism businesses and we look forward to a thriving future in tourism.”
- Mr. Kevin Mouflier, Industry Co-chair of the ACTP Management Committee

Associated Links
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Government of New Brunswick
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Government of Nova Scotia
Government of Prince Edward Island
Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick
Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island

Kelsie Corey
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Jana Parker
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Jason Hoyt
Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture

Don Cudmore
Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership Secretariat

July / August 2015

ACTP Participating in Unique Germany Consumer Initiative
The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership has teamed up with Destination Canada, along with the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in an exciting pilot project to increase visitation from one of Canada’s top overseas markets. The project brings together provincial partners, German tour operators, travel agents and social media influencers to make Canada top-of-mind among potential travelers. Research indicates that Canada is on the dream trip list. The objective of the project is to convert from the dream stage to active planning and booking. By partnering and combining resources, the Canadian message will be stronger.

NB Whale WatchingThis initiative will focus on story-telling by German YouTube and Instagram stars, or influencers, sharing their amazing Canadian experiences. The shared experiences will lead to a website where consumers can start planning their own Canadian adventures. The marketing program will launch in early October, when potential travelers start thinking about their next vacation destination.

YouTube and Instagram influencer content will be generated during trips in summer 2015. Content will include videos, images, travel blogs, travel itineraries and more. The content will be posted on the influencers’ own social media pages and the campaign website. Destination Canada will then amplify reach and targeting through a paid media campaign to consist of video and display ads, search marketing, paid and organic social activities and joint marketing activities with key tour operators. The overall goal of the campaign is to improve awareness of the destination and ultimately increase visitation from Germany in 2016 and beyond.

Key Research in the Northeast United States
ACTP recently commissioned a research study to learn more about the characteristics of out-of-state travelers residing in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the United States. The focus was exclusively on ACTP’s three primary targeted lifestyle segments.

The report is final and the prospects are promising. Canada overall remains the third most visited international destination by Northeast travelers, although the percentage of those who have visited has softened since 2011. Atlantic Canada has not escaped the softening however against other Canadian destinations Atlantic Canada is well positioned to capitalize on further opportunity as brand presence is strengthened.

Of those polled in the survey more than 4.2 million travelers from the Northeast US would consider one of the four Atlantic Provinces in future travel planning. When choosing a travel destination relaxation, great weather and beautiful scenery are key factors in the selection process. All four Atlantic Canadian provinces have these three key attributes in spades. The marriage of these unique experiential elements with more universal activity interests and travel style preferences provides the opportunity to attract more US travelers over the border.Slides for Translation slides for translation 2

In addition to gathering significant market intelligence specific to destination selection and trip planning, researchers also delivered valuable insight into creative execution and image selection. Respondents rated both in respect to appeal and motivation. The result, the opportunity to produce highly appealing ads that evoke a unique experience and a strong sense of place, factors that are key to supporting brand positioning.

To learn more, please visit the key findings report or full report available on the ACTP research webpage.

May / June 2015

Reaching Consumers at Critical Stages of Trip Planning
ACTP continues to implement a targeted and fully integrated marketing program in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the United States.

Time + Space Media, ACTP’s media planning and buying agency, has developed a strategic and innovative direct to consumer marketing strategy aimed at stimulating visitation to Atlantic Canada. The program launched in February of 2015 and will be wrapping up in July.

The strategy continues to build on momentum generated in 2014 by using both print and online media vehicles. Print advertising fuels the imagination and inspires travel to the region. Full, half and third of a page full colour ads have been bought in Travel and Leisure, the New York Times Sunday Travel, AARP, AAA publications such as AAA Horizons, National Geographic, USA Today and the Boston Globe.  Below are ACTP US 2015 sample print ads.
NB AdvertisementNL AdvertisementNS AdvertisementPEI Advertisement
















Online tactics reach high intent users via sophisticated targeting technologies which encourages the consumer to engage with the four provincial brands. By connecting with consumers during the research stage we can influence travel plans. ACTP continues to stretch their online investment by using a new and innovative technology which allows a very targeted and price competitive approach. The use of a real time bidding trading specialist allows access to all the best-in-class ad platforms, technologies and data providers to find the best performing audience at the best possible cost.

We are also very pleased to report, Time + Space Media has been successful in negotiating more than $1.5M in added value (55% of the overall buy) for the direct to consumer program.

Consumer Campaign Inspires UK Travellers to Consider Atlantic Canada
ACTP’s annual UK direct-to-consumer campaign launched in February and continued into May to inspire bookings from the region’s most valuable overseas market. This year’s campaign incorporated both traditional and cutting edge tactics, including 30-second ads on the Travel Channel, smart television ads on the Sky Network, 1/3 page newspaper ads in the Sunday Times, Google search engine marketing, Google display ads and YouTube and Facebook ads.  Displayed is an ACTP UK 2015 sample print ad.UK Sample Ad
New to the UK in 2015 and not yet available in North America are “smart” or programmatic television ads on the Sky AdSmart Network. This revolutionary new approach to television advertising is very similar to current digital advertising technology. It is highly targeted with the flexibility to select specific demographics and geographic. Different ads are served to different Sky households. Factors such as age, location and life-stage, derived from a combination of Sky’s own customer data and information from consumer profiler experts are used to create the target audience. In addition, ACTP is charged only when 75% of an advertisement has been viewed by the household at normal viewing speed. To complement the Sky TV program, ads also ran on highly targeted content environments on the Travel Channel. Combined, the ads have reached almost 700,000 potential UK travellers. At the end of the ads, viewers are encouraged to visit one of two featured UK travel trade partners to book an Atlantic Canada holiday.

The UK consumer campaign provides support to tactical media relations and travel trade activities, with the objective of improving awareness of Atlantic Canada in the UK market, and driving visitation and revenue to the region.

March 2015

New Training Platform for UK Travel Agents
The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership has recently launched an exciting new training platform for UK travel agents. The Atlantic Canada Academy on the Online Travel Training (OTT) site was launched in mid-December. The 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 ImageBonus 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.

A targeted marketing program began in January and will continue until March 31. Marketing includes four e-shots, inclusion in two e-newsletters, a rotating banner ad on the OTT homepage for one month, a rotating banner ad in the Travel/Tourism section of the site for one month and social media promotions. ACTP is running a promotion until March 31 for all agents who complete the course to win a lobster dinner for four people.

OTT has over 68,000 member agents globally and 42,000 active in the UK and Ireland. 500 agents are expected to take the Atlantic Canada course within the first year. As of mid-March, 390 agents have started and 265 have successfully completed the course. The course has proven very popular on the OTT site, placing fourteenth in course completions in January over 160 courses, and second place in both January and February in the Destinations section.

Travel agent outreach and engagement remains an important component to ACTP’s UK travel trade program, and a fully integrated UK program, which also includes direct-to-consumer and media relations activities. According to the Canadian Tourism Commission’s 2014 UK Global Tourism Watch, 37% of recent visitors to Canada either fully or partially booked their trip through a travel agent, or consulted an agent for destination information prior to booking the trip on their own.

To view the Atlantic Canada Academy, visit:

Generating US Press Trips to the Region
Each year destinations from around the world strive to obtain highly valuable editorial coverage in top US print publications and online travel sites. An integrated approach is the most effective means of securing such coverage and in 2014/2015 Atlantic Canada has done just that!


Atlantic Canada Kitchen Party, King Bee Restaurant, New York City

Meredith Pillon Marketing Communications, ACTP’s in-market media relations expert, began the year with a regular distribution of news releases aimed at piquing curiosity and intriguing journalist. With the foundation laid, efforts turned to generating press trips to the region. Our efforts have paid off.

Approximately 30 journalists representing publications and online travel sites such as the Boston Globe, USA today, New York Times, Travel Therapy, Ott’s World and visited the area recently to explore the unexplored, experience the abundance of authentic Atlantic Canadian experiences and enjoy our exquisite cuisine.Oysterman  Atlantic Canada then hosted a Kitchen Party in New York City in February 2015. Invited guests experienced our distinct food, culture and heritage and the region was brought to life through entertainment. The event truly showcased Atlantic Canada’s culture and heritage. The media event was followed up by in-market media appointments in both New York and Boston earlier this month. Media relations experts from each province were given the opportunity to meet with journalist and pitch their provincial story ideas. Preliminary results indicate a great success as the group met with more than 25 journalists.

As a result of all effort, valuable stories appeared in these key publications during 2014 and will continue through 2015.

January / February 2015

Keeping Atlantic Canada Top of Mind in Key U.S. Markets 
ACTP is working diligently to enhance awareness of Atlantic Canada’s diverse tourism product in the US Mid-Atlantic and New England States and drive visitation to the four Atlantic Provinces.  This is achieved through a three prong approach including direct to consumer, travel trade and media relations activities.

As part of our travel trade program, government and industry representatives from Atlantic Canada along with Cruise Atlantic Canada joined forces to ensure Atlantic Canada is top of mind with the travel tradIMG_1564e and consumers alike.  The team represented Atlantic Canada at the 2015 New York Times Travel Show.  The show welcomed 28,442 travellers and industry professionals to a jam-packed three days of travel sales and education. Trade attendance throughout the three days was the highest ever with 8,281 industry professionals attending the Travel Industry Conference. An impressive 20,161 consumers attend the show for a total 28,442 individuals. A 20% increase over 2014. The show was a great success as the group was extremely busy providing travel information to a vast array of potential visitors.

IMG_1554 (2)

While in New York, ACTP invited key travel agents, representing top performing travel agencies in the New York market, to attend two “Atlantic Canada Discovery Sessions.” The sessions provided an opportunity to further educate the travel trade on Atlantic Canada as a travel destination. In total ACTP representatives met with more than 95 agents.


UK Media Relations Round-Up
Annual UK Media Event
The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership recently hosted influential UK media to a taste of the region in London. Representatives from all four provinces attended the annual event on January 20 at Kettner’s to deliver top news stories and promote upcoming events in Atlantic Canada.

The Brighter Group, ACTP’s UK media relations firm, secured thirty-one journalists for the event, from a range of publications including nationals, consumer magazines, trade outlets and broadcast. Notable media outlets in attendance included The Independent, Daily Telegraph, Condé Nast Traveller, Wanderlust and Big Earth Productions.

The Brighter Group and provincial representatives are currently following up on leads from the event to secure press trips and valuable media coverage for the year ahead.

ACTP will participate in the Canadian Tourism Commission’s 25th British Annual Canada Travel Awards (BACTAs), taking place on February 26 at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London. The event recognizes excellence in promoting Canada in 2014 with award categories across trade, travel agent and media categories including new awards for Best Blogger and Best Travel Agent. 120 media and trade guests and 40 Canadian hosts are expected to attend.

2015 UK media event invitation image

TravMedia International Media Marketplace will take place March 2 at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. The tradeshow-style event provides an opportunity for destination representatives to meet with the UK’s top travel writers during pre-scheduled meetings. Over 200 journalists representing national newspapers, glossy magazines, broadcast media and trade papers, plus 80 exhibitors are expected to attend. Representatives from the Brighter Group will attend on behalf of Atlantic Canada. The timing is ideal, as it allows for press trip discussions and subsequent planning for the key summer period.

November / December 2014

U.K. Joint Marketing Partnerships
The United Kingdom is the most valuable overseas market for Atlantic Canada in terms of visitation and revenue for the tourism industry. Research indicates that the U.K. travellers continue to consult tour operators and travel agents when planning an overseas vacation. Close to half of visitors to Canada seek agents’ input on long-haul trips and one-third book their trip with an agent. ACTP’s integrated approach to marketing includes a travel trade strategy, along with direct-to-consumer and media relations activities. The trade strategy supports joint marketing partnerships with tour operators to promote the region to the lucrative U.K. market.

In 2015, ACTP will form joint marketing partnerships with fourteen U.K. tour operators to raise awareness of Atlantic Canada and drive sales for the 2015 season. This year’s partners include Bridge & Wickers, Canadian Affair, Cox & Kings, Experience Holidays, Frontier Canada, The Independent Traveller, Titan Travel, Trailfinders and Windows on the Wild. New partners for 2015 are Barrhead Travel, Complete North America, Discover the World, HF Holidays and Wexas.

Activities will take place during the peak booking period from January to March and will be tailor-made for each company based on their client demographics. Top targets are historically loyal Canada visitors, plus those interested in product offerings matching Atlantic Canada’s key selling points – coastal beauty, whale watching and wildlife, soft adventure, seafood and culinary. Most operators emphasize the close proximity of the region from the U.K. The 5-6 hour flying time is a pleasant surprise to many consumers.

Confirmed 2015 activities include direct mail, print advertisements in newspaper and travel/lifestyle magazines, digital display ads, pay-per-click campaigns, e-newsletters, representation at top consumer shows, in-store promotions and more. The call-to-action is always directly to the operator, encouraging travellers to book their Atlantic Canada holiday in 2015.

Upon conclusion of the joint marketing programs, 2015 sales will be reported to ACTP by each tour operator partner. ACTP strives to provide a return-on-investment of $10:$1 for all activities and the U.K. joint marketing consistently exceeds the target. Results for the 2014 program will be available in spring 2015. Past results are included in ACTP’s annual evaluation reports found on ACTP’s research page

Building on Momentum in the US Market
ACTP is committed to stimulating visitation, increasing revenue for Atlantic Canada and building awareness of the vast array of unique and authentic tourism product in our region. Our strategy is built on three main pillars: direct-to-consumer advertising; travel trade programs and partnerships and media relations activities. An integrated approach ensures a consistent and frequent message designed to build the desire to visit the region.

In January 2015, an innovative direct- to-consumer advertising campaign will be launched in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States. The focus is on differentiating each of the four Atlantic Provinces from other travel destinations and using the best media to reach our targeted potential traveler at the most appropriate time. We identify our best prospects through the use of sophisticated market segmentation research which identifies a variety of variables including consumption habits. ACTP uses this information as well as U.S. travel trends, trip planning and trip motivator information to reach the potential traveler. The result is a plan which utilizes a solid mix of both print and online media vehicles.

Print advertising fuels the imagination and inspires travel to Atlantic Canada. Full, half and third of a page full color ads will be used in publications such as Travel and Leisure, the New York Times Sunday Travel, AAA publications such as AAA Horizons and Car and Travel as well as National Geographic and the Boston Globe.

Online advertising tactics allow us to reach high-intent users via sophisticated targeting technologies. A real time bidding specialist, with a unique whole market approach is used to access best-in-class ad platforms in a very cost effective manner.

Bidding parameters are established at the beginning of the campaign and can be optimized throughout based on learnings obtained through tracking conversions. This highly efficient approach was first incorporated into the ACTP online advertising campaign in 2014. Results have been positive and as a result the approach is expanded for 2015.