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How Traverse City Tourism
Bottled Success for Wineries and Hotels
Using their Uncorked Passport

TC Uncorked Powered by Bandwango

Did you know that 55% of Michigan’s wine grapes are grown in the Traverse City region?

To celebrate that fact and to get wine drinkers out and about in Traverse City, Traverse City Tourism hosts Michigan Wine Month, an event that takes place in May each year. In the past, the cornerstone of this event was a paper passport that allowed drinkers to take a self guided tour to significant wine stops. 

This year, the pass went digital using Bandwango technology in order to give people an option to do something safe and contactless. The passport, which featured deals and discounts at many area wineries and the added bonus of the prizes for passholders who checked into multiple locations, launched April 13, 2021.

“We did a similar pass for Traverse City Beer Week in the fall and it went very well the first few days,” Coryn Briggs, Director of Digital Marketing at Traverse City Tourism said. “Unfortunately, we had to end it abruptly because of COVID restrictions.”

 

 

The ultimate goal of the campaign was to drive visitation during shoulder season and to bring people through the doors of lodging properties and wineries alike. 

 

Additional goals included: 

 

  • Build awareness of the “TC Uncorked” event & Traverse City as a wine destination to new and existing audiences in multiple geographic areas
  • Drive engaged traffic to a customized TC Uncorked landing page
  • Motivate users to download, and sign-up for the TC Uncorked mobile passport and visit multiple wineries
  • Encourage users to research lodging packages related to the event and book overnight stays

 

It turns out the success of the passport was well worth the wait! 

Promotion for the Passport

A key factor in driving these results was a marketing mix that consisted of: earned media, display ads across the MLive network, responsive display ads on Google, sponsored content articles on the MLive network, Edeals on the MLive network and Facebook and Instagram ads. 

Traverse City Tourism worked alongside TwoSix Digital to conduct a promotional campaign for the program that began on April 19, 2021, and ended on May 28, 2021, on the Facebook and Instagram ad networks. The campaign featured the following tactics:

 

An introduction of the event

to new users and expanded audiences

Leverage A/B test results

to determine which landing page resulted in the most app downloads

Utilized quality core source data from Traverse City Tourism

like past program participants from previous years, users that visited the website landing pages that featured winery and vineyard related content, and those consumers who engaged in wine-related lodging specials

Developed new audiences with online data sharing

through Traverse City Tourism’s relationship with the Traverse Wine Coast – the area’s winery promotional organization

Campaign Results

Total Impressions

1,565,164

Total Link Clicks

18,274

Searches Conducted for Rooms

on the website’s BookDirect widget

2,470

Clicks

to the Wine Escape Packages

1,018

Conversion Rate

for Passport downloads

75%

Average Time on Page

The landing page featured the passport sign-up button and specific deals and packages

2,433,742

Total ad CTR

42,966 total clicks recorded

2.75%

Total publicity value

$46.9K

Reactions

5,090

Comments

375

Saves

507

Shares

799

The passport was accessible to the public on the Uncorked Pass microsite, but it also invited every passholder to “check in” on the passport if they were staying in a hotel. By the end of the campaign, more than 350 people had done just that – showing the impact the event had on the hotels in the area and giving Traverse City Tourism another reason to consider the passport and the event a success. 

Traverse City Tourism wanted the initiative to include all of their wineries, so special offers were encouraged, but not required, in order to be featured on the passport. At the end of the campaign, Briggs said the wineries were very pleased with the result. 

The campaign wrapped on May 31, 2021 with the following overall results…

1,077

sign-ups

5,217

check-ins

1,801

redemptions of coupons at the wineries

352

hotel check-ins

Future Focused

 

Though it’s no surprise that wineries considered the 5,000+ check-ins a positive result, it was surprising to the DMO just how many people redeemed their prizes and wanted to proudly show off their logoed t-shirt! 

Traverse City Tourism is looking forward to next year’s Uncorked Passport in May 2022.

Keep your eye out for it and learn more about the area’s wine scene here