Brand USA rolled out a series of new initiatives at IPW 2016, which is taking place through June 22 in New Orleans. The event is expected to welcome international delegates from 70 countries, and marks the first time the show has returned to the city since 2002.
Travel Study: Brand USA’s Marketing Initiatives Add to U.S. Economy
At the event Brand USA released a new study by Oxford Economics, an independent research firm based in Oxford, England, showing that the destination marketing organization’s efforts have generated more than 3 million incremental visitors from around the globe during the past three years.
Those international visitors accounted for $9.5 billion in incremental spending, which injected more than $21 billion into the U.S. economy. Increased visitation also produced nearly $900 million in federal, state, and local taxes, and supported, on average, 50,000 incremental jobs each year, Brand USA said.
The organization has set a goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors to the U.S. in a single year by 2021 as part of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy launched by President Obama in 2012. Achieving this goal will require a nearly 5 percent compounded annual growth rate in visitation over the next six years, Brand USA said.
Expanded MegaFam Schedule
Looking ahead, BrandUSA announced an expansion to its large-scale, multi-itinerary familiarization tours for international travel agents interested in learning more about the U.S.
As the MegaFam platform continues to grow, Brand USA will launch several new MegaFam initiatives for fiscal year 2017, including the first fly and drive MegaFam in partnership with Air Canada; the first MegaFam with Mexico, partnering with AeroMexico; the first MegaFam by motor coach with Germany with support through Alamo and El Monte RV; and the first MegaFam with China.
Additionally, Brand USA will continue the MegaFams from the UK & Ireland, Australia & New Zealand and Germany.
In May, the fourth annual MegaFam with agents from the United Kingdom and Ireland took place in partnership with American Airlines and British Airways. Each year, both the number of agents who apply to be part of the MegaFam and flights logged has increased. During the three-month entry period, over 930 agents registered their international flight bookings from the UK and Ireland to the USA, up by 87 percent from the previous year and exceeding the target set.
BrandUSA’s New Corporate Website
The organization also launched a newly rebuilt and revitalized version of its corporate website, www.TheBrandUSA.com.
The new website has enriched content related to global-partner programs, which better highlights Brand USA's industry activities and signature events, and provides more intuitive search and navigation pathways.
Plans for the re-building of Brand USA's consumer website (VisitTheUSA.com) are also underway. The new site, which together with its family of in-language sites serves as the official tourism web platform for the USA, is scheduled to be unveiled in the fall of 2016.
A central feature of the new site is a password-protected partner reporting portal, which provides partners direct access to the results of programs in which they participate. Enhanced and expanded features of the new site and the partner reporting portal include:
- Mobile-optimized, responsive design to optimize user experience across a full spectrum of devices, including tablets and smart phones
- Direct access for the media and others to video footage and photography of U.S. destinations and experiences
- Expanded resources, including exclusive Brand USA partner program opportunities and market research
- An online speakers bureau, allowing industry and other organizations to request Brand USA speakers for their events, as well as download recent presentations and talks
- Enriched reporting that allows states and regions to evaluate the impact of their multi-tiered programs with Brand USA
- Improved speed for creation of dynamic reports
- New glossary of terms to enhance interpretation of reports
- Summary of partner-participation levels, in aggregate and for each program
- New email notification system that alerts partners to updates
Brand USA partnered with global digital agency Insomniac Design on the new website.
New Orleans Airport Launches “Market the Welcome” Campaign
Finally, at this year’s event Brand USA rolled out the new “Market the Welcome” campaign in partnership with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). The campaign expansion, which was officially announced at the airport, aims to boost international visitation to New Orleans and Louisiana.
MSY is the fourth airport in the nation to implement Market the Welcome as an integral part of Brand USA's new branding and marketing strategies. The program works in support of the country's national goal and airport-specific action plans developed by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce in response to President Obama's Presidential Memorandum on entry policy in May 2014. The national goal calls for the United States to "provide a best-in-class arrival experience, as compared to our global competitors, to an ever-increasing number of international visitors while maintaining the highest standards of national security." The other three airports to implement the program are Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Miami International (MIA) and Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP). Many other airports are in the process of engaging Market the Welcome.
Comprised of welcoming signage and digital displays, the program is designed to provide travelers a warm and seamless arrival experience as they proceed through immigration and passport control and on through international baggage claim and baggage re-check and exit. The Market the Welcome program is designed specifically for gateway airports.