There is no better place for a skiing enthusiast to be than at a Montana ski resort. The challenges the Montana Office of Tourism faced however, were how to find the right consumers in their feeder cities like Chicago, Seattle and Salt Lake City. They needed to create a cost-effective campaign that would break through to this audience and attract more visitors to the ski slopes of Big Sky country. Historically in order to target skiing enthusiasts Montana and other winter travel advertisers would try to connect with consumers using conventional efforts, like advertising in Ski Magazine. Montana wanted to connect directly with skiers while they were skiing or immediately after they were done, because as all skiers know, the first thing a skier thinks about after they are done hitting the slopes is what mountain they will conquer next.
Montana also wanted to connect with skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts when they were most likely to think about going skiing -- around ski shops and outdoor-related retailers like REI. And, rather than making an educated guess, they wanted to track the success of the campaign by determining how many people saw their ads and eventually visited the state. Mobile advertising was the most effective way for them to reach their audience employing geofencing to create location-based advertising campaigns on mobile devices. Mobile ads were served to consumers in close proximity to outdoor and ski retailers, as well as those at and/or near airports, heavily trafficked ski regions, ski resorts and the targeted ski areas in Montana's feeder cities.
With an estimated $25K spend, Montana experienced a 1.7x lift in visitation from those who saw the ads and eventually visited the state. The conversion rate for the custom ski resort targeting was significantly higher. Based on an average trip spend of $1500 an incremental $6.9M in visitor spending or a return of $276 for every dollar Montana invested in the campaign.