It’s no secret that COVID-19 hit the travel industry hard. People stayed home, planes were grounded, and tourist destinations remained empty for months. While the worst of the pandemic may be over, the tourism industry is still recovering. Colorado Springs Airport, like many others, struggled during this challenging period. When funding was allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act to help travel destinations recoup losses, it was a lifeline.
Leveraging an existing, long-standing partnership, Visit Colorado Springs and Orange142 took the opportunity of funds to launch a targeted campaign aimed at increasing passengers and making up for revenue lost in the pandemic. The initiative used geographic, demographic, and interest-based targeting strategies to engage potential travelers across a spectrum of platforms, including social media, connected TV, and various media sources.
Increasing traffic through strategic targeting
Orange142’s multifaceted approach was nothing short of comprehensive, helping to ensure no potential passenger was left untouched in the pursuit of rejuvenating Colorado Springs Airport’s virtual and foot traffic. Central to this strategy was the careful targeting of both males and females in the 35-54 age range in the areas of Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix, and Washington. Audiences were also targeted based on interest groups that included family activities, deals and discounts, leisure travel, road trips, outdoor activities, mountain destinations, family entertainment, and Visit Colorado Springs partners.
Complementing this strategically-selected audience was the omnichannel approach, which expanded the campaign’s reach and resonance. By placing content across multiple marketing channels, Orange142 ensured that potential passengers encountered messaging in almost every corner of the digital landscape.
For instance, in the case of native advertising, editorial content appeared on media sources relevant to the interest groups, effectively targeting outdoor enthusiasts and travelers. Next, audiences were shown content on social media platforms and through search-based display, which strategically placed display ads in front of audiences who had searched for keywords related to the campaign’s interest groups.
Video content on connected TV and instream video brought the beauty of Colorado Springs to life, inspiring viewers to consider the destination for their next vacation. Finally, retargeting efforts encouraged individuals who had previously shown interest in Visit Colorado Springs or partner organizations to reconsider, fostering brand recall and driving visits to the COS Airport site.
Driving measurable and unmeasurable results
This omnichannel approach was pivotal in revitalizing Colorado Springs Airport, increasing passenger numbers by 14%. From June to December 2023, inbound passenger traffic to COS Airport from the targeted cities was up by over 42%. Since overall traffic only increased by 27%, the 14% discrepancy can be attributed to the targeting efforts. Furthermore, the campaign drove over 44 million impressions with an 8.6% increase in site traffic for 2023 YTD and traffic recovered to within 10% of pre-pandemic levels.
The success of the campaign also further nurtured an important relationship. Amy Long, Chief Innovation Officer of Visit Colorado Springs says of the relationship between her organization and Orange142, “No project is too big or too small; [O142] treat[s] both with the utmost care and respect. We enjoy the collaborative nature of the relationship. Based on our strategic goals, they develop well-thought-out media plans and keep us in the loop on all decisions. They are proactive in developing new ways for us to expand our market reach and effectiveness.”
The results of this campaign demonstrate how effective targeting through multichannel placements can deliver significant and measurable results. Orange142’s campaign successfully drove impressions, clicks, and, most importantly, generated a substantial increase in passenger traffic for the Colorado Springs Airport. Not only this, but the campaign continues an important partnership between Visit Colorado Springs and Orange142.