Florida's tourism marketing corporation, Visit Florida, is going social with a digital "Sunshine Moments" summer marketing campaign that focuses on geotargeted digital advertising buys on sites like Facebook, AOL, and Yahoo.
The organization is counting on the $1.1 million, five-week campaign focused on boosting family vacations to the Sunshine State to generate 315 million online impressions.
The bipartite effort comprises an exclusive Facebook buy to appeal to families in 16 of Florida's key drive markets. The effort centers on a sweepstakes promotion encouraging visitors to upload their favorite Florida vacation images. The consumer-contributed photo gallery will appear on Visit Florida's Facebook page, where followers can vote for their favorite photo, which determines a grand prize winner. The winner gets a Florida vacation, a Mazda CX-7 crossover and a Kodak PlayTouch video camera.
The second part of the campaign is an ad buy across eight targeted Web sites, including Yahoo, AOL, iVillage and Parents.com, intended to reach family "decision makers" on parenting forums, and sites about family activities and travel. The effort is intended to drive traffic to visitFlorida.com, which the organization says is the top trafficked state destination marketing organization Web site in the country.
The organization last year launched an "Insiders" rich content portion of the site where local experts offer tips, videos, blog posts, Twitter feeds, fishing reports, interactive maps and other travel planning content.
Earlier this year, Visit Florida launched a public service announcement touting its Share a Little Sunshine program. The ad featured the state's governor Rick Scott, who talks up tourism as a job creator and encourages Floridians to go to ShareaLittleSunshine. org.
The Share a Little Sunshine program is a social Web platform intended to allow Floridians to share recommendations, photographs and invitations to visit the state with friends and family. The site features things like digital postcards and videos that include special offers. Those who send the postcards are entered into a sweepstakes, giving them the chance to win their own Florida vacation and other prizes.
The state says that in 2010, it got 82.6 million visitors, who spent over $60 billion. According to Visit Florida, in the first quarter of this year, 23.3 million people visited the state -- a 3.3% increase from the same period in 2010.
The bureau says the statistics represent a 2% increase in domestic visitors, a 14.4% increase in visitors from overseas, and an 8.1% increase in Canadian visits. Domestic visits were 84.8% of the total. The state says tourism-related employment for the first quarter is up 5.5%.
"Florida's tourism industry is rebounding well after several challenging years," said Ed Fouche, Chairman of the Visit Florida Board of Directors and SVP of travel industry sales for Disney Destinations, in a statement.
This is the second year the state is running its "Your Florida Side Is Calling" campaign, which has included media placements in snowbird cities like New York.
Visit Florida says year one of the push garnered 180,000 Florida trips. The organization's partners include AirTran Airways, American Express, Disney Destinations, Dollar Rent A Car, The Hertz Corporation, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Universal Orlando.