NEW ORLEANS Tourism Marketing Corporation 2008 ANNUAL REPORT
Behind the Scenes of Our Award-Winning New Campaign
New Orleans Festivals Break All Records
NewOrleansOnline.com Visitation Up 58.1% in a Single Year
Submitted in accordance with Ordinance Calendar Series No. 26,805 â€˘ Mayor Council Series, 22,936, May 1, 2009
NOTMC Who We Are
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) serves as the City of New Orleans’ official leisure travel promotion agency. NOTMC is a private economic development corporation created under Louisiana State Law to foster jobs and economic growth by developing the tourism industry in New Orleans. Our Board of Directors includes representatives from throughout the City’s tourism industry.
What We Do For New Orleans
Our job is to boost hotel occupancy when tourism is slow. Historically, the slow periods include the summer months and the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Yet— although much progress has been made—we are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina and our job is now an all-out, yearround effort. We market New Orleans as a leisure tourism destination—directly to leisure tourists—through a broad program of advertising, public relations, Internet marketing, promotions, and research. NOTMC designs and launches a major summer promotion; three simultaneous niche efforts aimed at cultural, family, and
multicultural travelers; and a fall campaign promoting Christmas New Orleans Style. In addition, we produce New Orleans’ official travel publications: the New Orleans Official Visitors Guide, Museums New Orleans, the New Orleans Navigaytour, and the Christmas New Orleans Style Guide. And we produce and manage NewOrleansOnline.com, the City’s official leisure tourism website, as well as NewOrleansMuseums.com and HearNewOrleansMusic.com.
We are funded by the City’s hotel room occupancy tax and the City of New Orleans general fund, and we receive additional funding from the RTA/hotel tax and from Harrah’s Casino’s agreements with the City of New Orleans and the hotel industry. While we invest the majority of our budget in marketing New Orleans, in accordance with a council ordinance we also fund entities that include the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, New Orleans Film & Video Commission, Music & Entertainment Commission of New Orleans, and the Mayor’s Office of Tourism & Arts.
2008 Board of Directors Kent Wasmuth, Chairman Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association
Chimene G. Connor New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network
Ronald Pincus, Vice Chairman Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association
Hon. Arnie Fielkow New Orleans City Council
Darrius Gray, Treasurer Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association Mary Fitzpatrick, Secretary Preservation Resource Center Hon. James Carter New Orleans City Council Terry Epton New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau Joel Dondis New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
Hon. Stacy Head New Orleans City Council John Payne New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau Hon. Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson New Orleans City Council Paul Sylvester, Jr. Mayor’s Appointee Stephen Woodruff Louisiana Restaurant Association Tommy Morell Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association
Table of Contents From Our Chairman and President
2008—What a Year!
NOTMC’s Performance in ‘08
Christmas New Orleans Style Campaign
Arts & Culture Campaign
French Quarter Campaign
NOPD Recruitment Campaign
Communications and PR
Sandra S. Shilstone President/CEO Lea Sinclair Director of Communications
Nathan Williams Interactive Director
Grace Wilson Communications Associate
Jean-Paul Gisclair Interactive Designer
Angela Reed Marketing Assistant
Jeremy Cooker Interactive Marketing
Toya Townsend Receptionist
Tiffany Jackson, CPA Accountant
NOTMC would like to thank the following: • Dean Shapiro and Craig Guillot: Contributing writers • Peter A. Mayer Advertising: Agency of record • Phillip Collier Designs • GMc + Company • Frances Partners
In memory of Kent Porter
From our chairman & President
Dear Friends, In 2008, the visitors came marching in! As a result of the combined efforts of a truly dedicated industry, the good times kept on rolling in New Orleans and the tourists dollars kept rolling in—despite the many challenges our industry faced on a national level. At New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, we act strategically, not on instincts alone. Our marketing plans always reflect current tourism trends uncovered in painstaking research. Through focus groups, national testing, and the industry’s input, we were able to anticipate this year’s financial slump and the public’s reticence to travel long distances. NOTMC recognized early on that a value message was more important than ever to prospective visitors who were reacting to high gas prices and turbulent markets. As a result, free festivals and event-driven marketing became the cornerstones of our campaign to attract the leisure visitor. While other destinations suffered, New Orleans was one of very few tourist destinations to actually experience an increase in visitation in 2008. The numbers were up overall, with many of the city’s greatest festivals enjoying record-breaking attendances—several exceeding pre-Katrina levels. Our calendar, like our po-boys, was overstuffed in 2008, and our efforts paid off. When the going gets tough, we hit the cobblestoned streets running! NOTMC is nothing if not nimble. For instance, when hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit, we immediately shifted our strategies, particularly in our top feeder markets in Texas. We switched from TV to online marketing and national Public Relations efforts and still managed to break records with the amount of requests for information from potential leisure visitors. On the following pages, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at our 2008 campaign, which highlighted the best of New Orleans—our food, our music and the spirit of our people. It is the result of a collective vision from a Board of Directors made up of dedicated industry professionals, agencies that are strategic as well as creative, and the tireless and talented staff here at NOTMC. In response to the current economy, we have updated this award-winning campaign for 2009 with a value message of “Live It Up for Less!” Together—with hard work, perseverance and professionalism—we will make the fleur de lis blossom wider than ever in the months to come.
All the best,
Kent Wasmuth Chairman New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
Sandra S. Shilstone President/CEO New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
2008—What a Year!
While the nation as a whole faced some significant challenges in 2008, there was much to celebrate here in New Orleans. Here’s the year at a glance: • The city started the year off with a bang with several major events, including the Sugar Bowl, which had an economic impact of $164 million. How sweet is that? More than 74,000 people attended the game. Thousands more came in for the fun. • Aloha, y’all! January also saw the BCS Championship game, featuring Georgia vs. Hawaii. In hosting both the BCS and the Sugar Bowl, the state received a combined economic impact of over $400 million. Double-hosting the games has been such a success for the city that New Orleans will once again host both games in 2012. • Mardi Gras was early in 2008 (February 5), but that didn’t stop the crowds. Attendance was estimated to be as high as 850,000. How many beads were thrown? Nobody knows for sure. • The National Basketball Association All-Star Game was a slam dunk! This high-profile event provided a $100 million economic boost for the city in late February. It garnered some great PR for the city as well. • New Orleans’ own Hornets competed in the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2004, and defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first series, marking the Hornets’ first-round playoff win. • In March, NOTMC launched the internationally award-winning “Come Out and Play” campaign, featuring an original song with lyrics written by Lori Archer of Peter A. Mayer Advertising, music composed by David Torkanowsky, and starring trumpeter Jeremy Davenport. On January 2009 in New York City, it was awarded two gold Adrian Awards from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and in March it was awarded a gold ADDY for “best music with lyrics.” • The French Quarter Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2008 with a record-breaking 435,000 attendees.
2008—What a Year!
• The new Audubon Insectarium opened its doors in June. In its first two months, nearly 100,000 visitors swarmed the facility, exceeding all projections.
Visitors (in millions)* • The Southern Food & Beverage Museum also opened in June at the Riverwalk, followed in July by The Museum of the American Cocktail at the same location. Cheers! • The ESSENCE Music Festival had another record-breaking year with more than 275,000 attendees over three days. • High summer gas prices began to affect both air and automobile travel. NOTMC shifted its strategy, adapting a more value-oriented message. • In August and September two major hurricanes, Gustav and Ike, hit the Gulf Coast of the U.S., reducing the number of travelers to the entire Gulf Coast region. On average, each hotel lost $187,000 in revenue due to the two storms, reaching a total negative economic impact of $60,658,510. • In late October, the Voodoo Experience celebrated its tenth anniversary by working magic on the local economy. More than 100,000 music lovers were in attendance. • In November, the Bayou Classic brought in approximately 200,000 fans for an overall economic impact of $30 million. Touchdown! • Prospect.1 New Orleans, which ran from November 1, 2008 to January 18, 2009, was the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States. By all accounts, it was a huge cultural and economic success, attracting more than 50,000 visitors over 2 1/2 months. • November brought high and low points. America elected the first African-American president, but the recession was evident as the Dow Jones saw its lowest day in 2008. As a result of turbulent financial markets, Louisiana’s economy as a whole contracted slightly, although not as sharply as the national economy. Year-end visitation figures for New Orleans were up nevertheless, from 7.1 million in 2007 to 7.6 million in 2008.
Visitation and Spending 10.1
Source: 2008 UNO Hospitality Research Center
According to the 2008 UNO Visitor Study (jointly commissioned by NOTMC and NOMCVB), total visitation for 2008 was 7.6 million, slightly above last year’s 7.1 million. Visitor spending in 2008 was $5.1 billion, topping 2004’s $4.9 billion for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Although spending exceeded pre-Katrina levels, the visitation number has not yet caught up. The disproportionate growth in spending is due to visitors staying longer and spending more.
Total Visitor Spending (in billions)* Visitor Profile
Source: 2008 UNO Hospitality Research Center
Primary Purpose for Visitation—2008 Association Meetings/ Conventions/Trade Shows
Corporate Meetings/ Business:
75.1% Leisure Travel
Source: 2008 UNO Hospitality Research Center
Despite the economic downturn, New Orleans continues to draw visitors from around the country. On a national level in 2008, we greeted travelers from California, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. We saw strong numbers from the regional markets where we advertised, including Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. In the very important New York market, we saw a jump in visitation to 5.1%, up from 3.1% in 2003. Of the 7.6 million visitors who came to New Orleans in 2008, 75.1% were here for leisure, 9.8% were here for association meetings, conventions, or trade shows, and 15.1% were here for corporate meetings or business. Overnight visitors stayed an average of 4.6 nights. Approximately 3.7 million of all visitors stayed in hotels, up from 3.1 million in 2007. Of those overnight visitors whose primary purpose is leisure, 44.8% stayed in a hotel. Of all overnight visitors, 58% stayed in a hotel or motel, while 34% were visiting friends or relatives. Per-trip spending among those who came for vacation or pleasure was an average of $598. The good news is that 90.8% of visitors said they were likely or very likely to recommend New Orleans to their friends, up from 88% in 2007.
*2005 data research interrupted due to Hurricane Katrina.
Hotel Occupancy and Average Rate
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport offers 120 flights serving 33 cities. It serves 79% of the cities it did before the storm, and filled 73% of the seats. In 2008, Southwest added nonstop daily flights to Fort Lauderdale, Denver and Orlando. Also, JetBlue Airways introduced a nonstop daily flight to Boston.
In our top competitive markets, the average hotel occupancy rate was 65% in 2008, down slightly from 66% in 2007. New Orleans’ hotel occupancy rate was at 62.6% in 2008, up from 57.7% in 2007.
Top Average Daily Rates in Competitive Markets
Source: Smith Travel Research
Where Visitors Choose to Stay (in millions) Family & Friends
1.2 Day Trippers
Record-Breaking Web Traffic to NewOrleansOnline.com
Qualitative research done in 2008 gave us fascinating insight into how people perceive New Orleans. Surveys by Market Dynamics Research Group show that nearly half (49%) of the respondents who visited New Orleans in the last two years are likely to come back in the next 12 months. What’s more, an impressive 31% of key market respondents are likely to visit New Orleans overnight. This figure is the highest it’s been since survey research began in January of 2006 when it was at 19%. In the very important Houston market, 37% said they are likely to stay overnight. This is also the highest it’s been since January 2006, when 22% of respondents in the Houston market said they would spend the night.
NewOrleansOnline.com received the highest amount of visitors in the website’s history in 2008. By year’s end, we reached 2,733,161 total visitors, topping 2007’s total by over 1.1 million new visitors. NewOrleansOnline.com has never received such large traffic numbers before, breaking its previous record of 2,034,175 unique visitors in 2004. NewOrleansOnline.com has increased its Web visitation by 58.1% in a single year.
Our perception tracking research also shows that our advertising program continues to be an effective tool. People who have seen our ads have come away with a more positive impression than people who have not seen our ads, and 40.7% say they are likely to “come out and play in New Orleans.” Only14.9% of those who haven’t seen our ads plan to visit.
2008 UNO Visitor Profile Research
The average daily rate in our top nine competitive markets was $114.99 in 2008. New Orleans’ average daily rate was $118.18 in 2008, up from $116.50 in 2007. As in 2007, only three cities— San Francisco, San Diego, and Chicago—had a higher average daily rate.
Perceptions and Expectations
Top Occupancy Rates in Competitive Markets
Source: Smith Travel Research
Consumer e-Newsletter NewOrleansOnline.com pioneered the first email marketing program for the City of New Orleans. Our database of potential visitors has grown to over 390,000 subscribers. Our e-Newsletters showcase the wide array of rich New Orleans events that occur throughout the year, as well as special offers from hotels that link out to our booking engine. This tool is designed to keep awareness of our destination high and motivate our subscribers to come and visit.
Google AdWords / Yahoo! Search Campaign 2008 has been a great year for NOTMC through our search engine keyword advertising campaigns. During the year we brought over 500,000 visitors to NewOrleansOnline.com through these efforts. We constantly refined the performance of our 2008 campaigns in Google and Yahoo! and determined that we achieved our best results through the creation of highly targeted offers and custom landing pages to support them. In 2009, we’ll expand on this strategy to increase New Orleans awareness and visitation.
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Available Hotel Rooms Source: New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
NewOrleansOnline.com Total Visits
#5 of Top 10 Places to go in 2008 – ShermansTravel.com
Now Playing in
If you can cook it, dance to it, or get inspired by it, we celebrate it in New Orleans. For more information on our unique festivals, visit NewOrleansOnline.com. Come out and play today!
Print ads featured images of the city’s unique food, music, and architecture. They ran in the summer issues of national magazines.
French Quarter Festival April 11-13, 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival April 25-27 & May 1-4, 2008 New Orleans Wine & Food Experience May 21-25, 2008 New Orleans Seafood Festival June 13-15, 2008 COOLinary New Orleans July 1-August 31, 2008
Behind the Scenes with “Come Out and Play!”
When the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation prepared for its new 2008 campaign, they began with research and focus groups in key regional markets. The predominant result of the research was that many tourists still had misperceptions and hesitations about visiting New Orleans in a post-Katrina world. Participants still believed the city was under water, and that safety was an issue, and many people were worried that it would be in bad taste to have a good time in New Orleans when the locals were
still struggling. Through this research, NOTMC learned that the best way to counteract these misperceptions was to show that the city is fun again and that visitors are welcome.
ESSENCE Music Festival July 4-6, 2008 Tales of the Cocktail July 16-20, 2008 Satchmo SummerFest July 31-August 3, 2008
As a response to these findings, NOTMC created a new campaign titled “Come Out and Play in New Orleans!” The campaign, which was designed to reach consumers through print, radio, television, and Internet, highlighted the city’s cultural assets—food, music, architecture, history, and family fun. In support of rebuilding efforts in New Orleans, local musicians and performers were hired to perform in and produce this campaign.
Come Ou� � P�a�! The fun is happening every day in New Orleans. The French Quarter is filled with sizzling jazz clubs, renowned restaurants and funky shops. And our weekends, like our seafood po-boys, are overstuffed. Come join us for your pick of unique festivals and special events. It’s all here and it’s all for you in New Orleans. Come out and play. For a complete list of all there is to see and do, visit NewOrleansOnline.com.
White Linen Night August 2, 2008 Southern Decadence/DecaFest August 27-September 1, 2008 Halloween New Orleans October 23-26, 2008 Voodoo Music Experience October 24-26, 2008 Prospect.1 New Orleans November 1, 2008-January 18, 2009 Conceived in the tradition of the great international biennials, Prospect.1 will showcase the work of more than 75 of the world’s most promising and recognized artists.
Media Markets TV & Radio Atlanta Houston Dallas Memphis Jackson Nashville
Print & Alternative Weeklies AAA TourBook Atlanta Magazine D Magazine Fort Worth Magazine H Texas Monthly Southern Living Southern Accents Texas Monthly The New Yorker Atlanta Creative Loafing Houston Press Dallas Observer Fort Worth Weekly
Newspaper Atlanta Journal-Constitution The Houston Chronicle The Dallas Morning News Fort Worth Star-Telegram Memphis Commercial Appeal Jackson Clarion-Ledger Hattiesburg American Nashville Tennessean
“The musicians for ‘Come Out and Play!’ are some of the best in New Orleans. When you have great musicians, the music kind of plays itself.” – David Torkanowsky, composer of “Come Out and Play!”
The television spot featured original music and starred local jazz trumpeter and singer Jeremy Davenport. It ran throughout April and May in regional markets. A two-minute music video based on the television ad also ran on NewOrleansOnline.com and nationally throughout Time Warner Cable system’s Video On Demand.
Radio A new addition to our plan in 2008 was a strong focus on radio advertising, which promoted festivals and events. Again, the spots ran in top regional markets.
Voted One of the Worldâ€™s Top Restaurant Cities â€“ ForbesTraveler.com