SMARInsights has worked with the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT) on measuring the effectiveness of its marketing since the agency received an additional $10 million aimed at marketing. The goals of the research have been two-fold: to support the value of the additional funding and to measure its impact, and to provide information for UOT to use in refining its marketing efforts.
The information has proved extremely valuable to both UOT and the state’s tourism industry in garnering support for additional funding. As Utah, along with many other states, has faced severe budget shortfalls, there has been a push to reduce tourism funding. While an initial cut was made, the latest budget from the governor did not recommend further cuts. The industry has indicated that having the ROI information makes it easier and more effective to approach legislators and “make the case” for continued funding of the tourism marketing efforts.
Additionally, the information has helped UOT, its marketing committee and the ad agency make a number of tactical decisions. The information has been “mined” to address issues such as the effectiveness of a 30-second versus a 60-second television ad, the best geographic markets, the optimal media strategy and the impact of various creative messages.
The results have been strong, and UOT has generated one of the strongest ROIs that SMARI has measured. Perhaps most important, UOT was able to improve its ROI during 2009 even though overall travel was down.
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