AOT Impact November 2016
November 2016

‘National Parks Adventure’ Integrated Marketing Program

On Aug. 25, the National Parks Service celebrated its first centennial of stewardship for America's national parks. One of the ways the parks service called attention to this anniversary was with the release of “National Parks Adventure,” a film by MacGillivray Freeman that is showing in IMAX theaters across the U.S. and in several international destinations. Arizona boasts 22 national parks and monuments—more than all but two states—and AOT recognized this movie event as an opportunity to promote our national parks to an audience predisposed to visit them.

According to research by MacGillivray Freeman, 80 percent of “National Parks Adventure” viewers reported they were more inspired to visit a national park after seeing the film. Our strategic partnership with MacGillivray Freeman allowed us to promote Arizona in AOT target markets where the film would be shown. This marketing program included a media buy and the integration of a booking engine, both of which we executed by bringing Expedia on board. The program included:

•    A media buy with Expedia in three of our target markets: Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco.
•    Email blasts in target markets to Expedia, AOT and science-center databases.
•    A custom landing page on Expedia with a trip giveaway in each market.
•    Social-media posts.
•    Consumer activations at the Science Museum of Minnesota, San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation, and Pacific Science Center. (Featuring a    photo booth, park ranger interaction, 90-second trailer before film, trip giveaways and trip-planning collateral.)
•    A trade and media event at the California Science Center, where travel agents, tour operators and travel journalists enjoyed free admission to the film.

MacGillivray Freeman brought us additional marketing opportunities, which included sponsoring the film in AMC locations in Anaheim (at Downtown Disney) and San Francisco (at AMC Metreon). This program included distribution of free tickets as well as consumer activations at both locations.

Early results from Expedia (July-August 2016):
•    Nearly 9,000 total entries to win trips
•    18,000 unique visitors to
•    33,000 page views
•    Average time spent on site – 2:02 
•    YOY passengers booked up 9%
•    YOY booked room nights up 15%
•    YOY hotel gross bookings up 20%
•    Campaign ad impressions – 4.9 million

Communications & Media Relations

Through the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, AOT’s Media Relations Division has exceeded its quarterly goals for earned media placements and database growth.

In August, AOT and 13 Arizona tourism partners conducted a media event in Vancouver, where we met with 34 journalists. Later that month, AOT’s trade and media teams, along with nine statewide partners, hosted a joint event in Los Angeles built around a private screening of “National Parks Adventure”. More than 80 trade and media representatives (and their guests) attended the screening, which was preceded by an exclusive reception.

In July and August alone, AOT generated 228 feature domestic and international media placements, representing a total audience of more than 639 million and an advertising-equivalency value of $8.1 million.

AOT’s media team has several initiatives planned for the busy fall season. These include:

•    Arizona Showcase (Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico), Oct. 6
•    Canadian Influencer FAM on Route 66, Oct. 17-21
•    Media mission to Shanghai and Beijing, Oct. 24-28
•    World Travel Market in London, Nov. 7-9
•    Group and individual tours in advance of Travel Classics West, Nov. 13-17
•    Travel Classics West, Nov. 17-20
•    Arizona Media Marketplace (in conjunction with Travel Classics West), Nov. 17

Travel & Trade Relations

In its ongoing effort to cultivate relationships with travel agents and tour operators, AOT’s Travel and Trade Relations team held events in China and Southern California during the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Brand USA Shenzhen Road Show

In August, AOT’s China trade representative, Jonathan Jiang, traveled with the Brand USA team to Shenzhen, China, to conduct a daylong seminar for more than 100 travel professionals from Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other cities in the Guangdong province. Shenzhen is a significant target market for AOT due to its rapid growth and proximity to Guangzhou, the largest and most important visitor market in the south of mainland China.

Jiang presented Arizona’s product to the audience and also had the opportunity to engage in one-on-one discussions during the seminar. Other DMOs that participated in the event included Seattle, Orlando, Palm Springs, California, Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth. Suppliers in attendance were American Airlines, Avis, Millennium and Starwood Hotels.

Jiang also visited Guangzhou, where he conducted destination seminars at four travel companies. Nearly 70 agents learned about Arizona’s travel product.

While the Guangzhou market’s interest in Arizona remains primarily focused on the northern region of the state (specifically its national parks, Route 66, Antelope Canyon and the cities along Interstate 40) Jiang reported a growing curiosity about central/southern Arizona attractions such as Sedona, Phoenix, Tucson and Lake Havasu City. 

The Travel and Trade Relations team welcome information from our partners, especially sample itineraries, translated into Chinese, that feature three to seven days’ worth of activities.

‘National Parks Adventure’ Event at California Science Center

As previously mentioned, in August AOT and nine state tourism partners hosted an exclusive event for travel professionals and media at the California Science Center in honor of the National Park Service Centennial. More than 80 guests attended a reception and private screening of the MacGillivray Freeman film “National Parks Adventure.”

National Park Service Ranger Chelsea Kennedy spoke with the guests and their families, and joined many of them for photos in a green-screen photo booth that allowed for a Grand Canyon backdrop to be superimposed on the images.

AOT was joined by industry partners from Cottonwood, the Flagstaff CVB, Tempe Tourism, Grand Canyon Chamber, City of Prescott, Williams, Wickenburg, Experience Scottsdale and Visit Tucson.
In addition to being an important media market, Los Angeles is also home to several receptive operators who book Arizona vacations for international travelers.


In preparation for our upcoming Target Cities campaign—which will focus on strategically delivering out-of-home advertising to our key demographics where they live and work—AOT’s Research Division partnered with Ruf Strategic Solutions to collect detailed household data in our target markets. 

We have have identified five target lifestages that present the greatest opportunity to generate travel to Arizona based on age, household income and presence of children in the home:

•    Younger Years (no children) - $75K+
•    Family Life - $100K+
•    Gen X Older (no children) - $75K+
•    Young Boomers - $100K+
•    Older Boomers (no children) - $100K+

These lifestages have been mapped to Connex® clusters, which segment U.S. households by income, family structure, lifestyles, media-consumption habits and other propensities to aid marketers in reaching the right people where they live. We are using this data to assist the Marketing division in its billboard and activation location decisions in Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Portland and Austin.

The map below shows the Chicago DMA. Each zip code is color-coded based on the number of target households as well as the percentage of target households to total households. This allows us to identify the specific ZIP codes that have the highest number of likely Arizona visitors (dark red) and to avoid advertising in areas where residents are outside our target demographic (blue).