Travel Association Aims Economic Message Online to Conventions and Beyond

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions have drawn thousands to their respective destinations in Charlotte and Tampa the past two weeks, and the U.S. Travel Association has used both events to affirm the importance of its industry to the country’s economy. Since the RNC kicked off last week, the trade group has been running Twitter, Google search and YouTube video ads to push its pro-tourism message to government decision-makers, media and others at the conventions – and to voters watching from around the country.

“Like any trade association, you want your voice to be heard at the conventions,” said Robert Bobo, director of communications for U.S. Travel Association. “The best way to do that is through online methods,” he said, noting that the organization allocated around half of its convention campaign budget online. The effort is an extension of its Vote Travel campaign that launched earlier this year.

On Google and Twitter, the group is targeting ads to people searching for convention related words and hashtags like DNC2012, RNC2012, Obama and Romney.

A YouTube TrueView video spot currently running suggests, “Travel can drive the American recovery…join us in our national campaign as we show every candidate the power of our industry.” The ad links to a contest the group is running in conjunction with the conventions that allows people to enter to win a trip to Las Vegas if the tweet the correct answer to one of a series of travel industry related questions.

Today’s inquiry: “What percentage of travel industry companies are small businesses?”

“These are facts that we are regularly pushing on the Hill and with local and state legislators,” said Bobo.

It’s not all about digital, though. Convention goers may also get branded dirt absorption sticker for their cellphones or catch a whiff of a U.S. Travel Association air freshener in Charlotte or Tampa.

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