Project: Time Off
Nestled in the south-central region of Oklahoma, Chickasaw Country is a regional tourism organization representing 13 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. A division of the Chickasaw Nation, Chickasaw Country is a tourism resource for visitors and communities in the region, promoting local attractions, businesses and events. South-central Oklahoma is a culturally diverse region that promises new experiences around every corner. Chickasaw Country encompasses 7,648 square miles, 11 percent of Oklahoma’s total 68,597 square miles.
In 2018, Chickasaw Country partnered with the United States Travel Association (USTA) and Project: Time Off to transform attitudes and change behavior regarding an alarming trend, that American vacation usage over the last 40 years had drastically declined and encourage Oklahomans to use those days to experience Chickasaw Country. Data from Project: Time Off revealed that in Oklahoma, 21,985,976 total vacation days had gone unused according to a 2016 study, which accounts for 69 percent of total vacation days and a possible economic benefit of up to $689,777,871. Oklahoma was the fifth worst state for unused vacation days (by percentage of unused days).
Koch Comm’s challenge was to not only bring awareness to the growing epidemic of a workforce that isn’t using paid time off but to inspire audiences in Oklahoma and north Texas to use that time for travel, in particular within Chickasaw Country. Project: Time Off and USTA data shows traveling leads to more productive, creative, and fulfilled professional and personal lives. Taking vacations also has proven health benefits, such as decreased risk of heart attacks, depression and work-related stress. An additional goal for Koch Comm was to raise awareness of Chickasaw Country as a destination for leisure travel.
Koch Comm developed and implemented an integrated marketing strategy to bring awareness to both Project: Time Off and Chickasaw Country as a destination option, utilizing public relations, social media, email and content marketing tactics to support the campaign. Messaging and campaign flighting were integrated to reach targets with multiple touchpoints through various mediums. Koch Comm identified a large audience of prospective travelers, focusing on full-time workers aged 25-64 in Oklahoma and north Texas as prime candidates for travel to the region.
Media relations efforts included the development of a fact sheet, talking points and a press release announcing National Plan for Vacation Day. Chickasaw Country partnered with Triana Browne, Miss Oklahoma 2017, as the official spokesperson, incorporating influencer marketing to reach prospects and aligning with Miss Browne’s core audience.
Koch Comm’s social media efforts included both organic and paid content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. This content about National Plan for Vacation day included details about planned trips, graphics and video from the Project: Time Off website, ghostwriting copy for the Project: Time Off spokesperson, Triana Browne, and utilizing hashtags across platforms. Additionally, Koch Comm’s team created conversations about the efforts by utilizing the hashtags #TravelTuesday, #TakeADay, #ExploreANation and #RouteCC. The social media strategy also included a giveaway that required entrants to complete a survey about traveling, paid time off and planning for vacations for the chance to win one of three all-expenses-paid vacations to Chickasaw Country.
A blog piece for the Chickasaw Country website detailed the facts of unused vacation days in Oklahoma and outlined steps on how to plan a trip to the region as part of Project: Time Off.
Measuring travel as a result of marketing efforts can be challenging, so Koch Comm focused on a broad, high impression and high-frequency approach, using primarily upper-funnel tactics to bring prospects to the inspiration stage of the travel marketing funnel. Koch Comm’s goal was to bring awareness first to the initiative and then to Chickasaw Country.
- 412,640 impressions
- 13,141 clicks
- 43,414 video views
- 6,486 post actions
- 133,000 impressions
- $15,600 earned media value
- 1,157 page views, 253% higher than comparable blog posts during the time frame