A small budget with big results helped crown Tourism Victoria as this year's province-wide winner
The BC Chapter of the American Marketing Association (BCAMA) named Tourism Victoria, the island city’s non-profit destination marketing organization, as the winner of its 44th annual Marketer of the Year award Tuesday.
Tourism Victoria beat out fellow finalists the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and BlueShore Financial to stand alongside past winners and major B.C. brands such as Vancity (2013), BC Hydro (2009) and White Spot (2007). The last time a tourism association won the title was in 1999, when Tourism BC took home the award.
This year, Tourism Victoria was "the little engine that could,” says Steve Kim, past president and current chair of the BCAMA Marketer of the Year judging committee. “For all the different tourism marketing organizations out there, they had not the largest budget, but they had strong results.”
Applicants are judged on a myriad of factors, which are broken down in the judges’ score sheets. The most weight is placed on measuring results, says Kim, which demonstrates which applicant best executed an integrated marketing campaign for the calendar year. “They have to state their objectives at the beginning and the goals that they had for the year,” explains Kim, “and then we tie in what they aimed to do from their own submission.” Other considerations include strategy and planning, tactics and execution, creative design and the various platforms and channels that were employed.
Kim points to two examples of Tourism Victoria’s creative strategy: going beyond the typical booth display at conventions and spreading its marketing messages into restrooms; and launching its telephone booth campaign in Vancouver and Seattle, where passersby could step into British-style phone booths to watch videos of classic Victoria experiences, speak to Tourism Victoria representatives, earn travel incentives and even win prizes.
Kim adds that Tourism Victoria’s increase in visitor numbers—especially wooing tourists away from the Vancouver and Whistler markets—and increase in visitor spending earned them major points.
“At the end of the day, it’s about providing that concise story—where all the hidden gems that the team has done throughout the year are captured and communicated effectively to the judges,” says Kim of the annual competition. “Although it’s a marketing endeavour, it’s an organizational endeavour in the sense that going through the process of awards helps to capture the story of what the organization and the marketing team has done. It becomes a pseudo-annual report of sorts.”
Tourism Victoria will be honoured at the Marketer of the Year gala and award ceremony on November 12.