The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation is adding a new social media element to its ongoing campaign to pitch Philly as a hot tourist spot for LGBT consumers. The corporation has marketed to the gay and lesbian community for at least a decade through its LGBT Tourism Campaign, starting with "Philadelphia – Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay" in 2003.
The group says efforts have had a salubrious effect. The organization says that before that campaign, visitation by gays and lesbians was sparse enough to keep the city out of the top 20 LGBT list, in which cities like Las Vegas, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco and Provincetown, Mass. are dominant.
The $2 million 2003 campaign lifted Philly to the top-ten destination for gay and lesbian tourists, and -- per the organization -- brought in more consumers who spend more and stay longer. Citing data from gay and lesbian market research firm Community Marketing, Inc., the corporation says LGBT consumers spend an average of $1,013 per party, 36% more than the $743 spent by visitors unfamiliar with the campaign. "Aware" visitors stayed an average of 3.5 nights, compared to 3.0 for those who were unfamiliar.
The new element is a promotion on the Visit Gay Philly Facebook page (facebook.com/visitgayphilly) around a personality quiz asking participants about their dining, shopping and nightlife preferences. Their answers match them with an ideal Philadelphia neighborhood for their tastes: the Gayborhood (around Broad Street and 12th); Rittenhouse Square near Ben Franklin Parkway; Old City, East Passyunk and New Hope. People who take the quiz are entered into a sweepstakes dangling tickets to the Feb. 19 Lady Gaga concert at the Wells Fargo Center, plus an overnight stay at the new Klimpton property Hotel Monaco near Independence Mall, and a dinner at Valanni in the Gayborhood (around Broad Street and 12th).
"This is the first Facebook application we have done," says Caroline Bean, head of social media for Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing. "The point is that everyone knows the Gayborhood, but there are other great neighborhoods in the city that LBGT travelers might want to see, and get to know."
She tells Marketing Daily that traditionally, gay tourists would visit the city for Pride events, but that more often they put sites like the Barnes Foundation and National Constitution Center on their lists. The organization is promoting the campaign partly with a buy on Facebook, and via partners mentioned in the program, as well as to tourism organizations in Bucks County -- where New Hope is located. She says the organization is also touting the program on social sites like Twitter, Foursquare, Foodspotting and Pinterest.
According to Community Marketing, gay and lesbian hotel visitors spend 57% more per travel party than general market visitors to Philadelphia -- $878 compared to $559. Hotels are the primary beneficiary, with lodging spending up 75%, but gay and lesbian visitors also spend more than average in Philadelphia's restaurants (68% more on food & beverage) and stores (52% more on shopping), per the firm.