Brand USA continues to join with its industry partners in Arizona to promote the state in the international-travel marketplace. This effort has spanned four categories of Brand USA promotional strategies: USA campaigns, cooperative marketing, travel-trade initiatives and media outreach. VisitTheUSA.com, Brand USA’s consumer website, also features Arizona travel.
“Delivering our brand message to international audiences is crucial to increasing visitor spending in Arizona,” said Debbie Johnson, executive director, Arizona Office of Tourism. “Brand USA programs help us extend our advertising reach in international markets in ways that simply weren’t possible before the U.S. had a national destination marketing organization.”
Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) is the public agency that guides the development of the state’s tourism sector. Tourism, according to AOT, is the state’s largest export industry. During 2016, Arizona had 43 million visitors. This level of visitation generated more than $21 billion in direct spending, $3 billion in local, state and federal taxes, and supported 184,000 jobs.
Here are the four basic types of promotional campaigns, including some of the particular projects, which Brand USA has used with its Arizona partners to stimulate international travel to the state:
Presented in multiple formats, these campaigns aim for a broad-based awareness of U.S. destinations. Brand USA often boosts Arizona-related digital and social content across platforms in 14 target markets, using eight different languages. Other specific campaigns have included:
- Brand USA’s first IMAX film, “National Parks Adventure,” is still playing in theaters worldwide. The film was the highest-grossing documentary in 2016, the year it was released.
- “USA Through Great Outdoors” was a 12-part Brand USA series on BBC and digital platforms. It featured Arizona painter Ed Mell and spotlighted the state’s inspiring Southwest landscape.
- Brand USA’s “proximity” campaign highlighted Arizona’s lesser-known destinations across Chinese social media platforms during 2016. The campaign illustrated how these destinations are close to major travel gateways.
Brand USA has approximately 100 cooperative-marketing programs. The programs allow partners of all sizes to participate and leverage Brand USA marketing in international markets.
In recent years, Brand USA has featured Arizona in a variety of these marketing efforts, including:
- Release of Brand USA’s “Inspiration Guide, Travel USA” (print and digital formats) in 20 countries and 13 languages
- Multi-channel marketing through varied media outlets that reach international travelers in Australia, China and the United Kingdom
- Search-engine marketing on Google in Canada and Mexico
- Targeted digital advertising on booking and review platforms (TripAdvisor, Sojern, Expedia, Orbitz, TravelZoo Canada, Thomas Cook and Turistampa)
- Mandarin-language maps of Arizona for Chinese consumers
MegaFams, Brand USA’s signature large-scale familiarization trips, have consistently introduced key international travel operators and travel agents to Arizona destinations. The MegaFams have brought travel-trade professionals from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand to Arizona.
Additionally, Brand USA has arranged a line-up of sales missions to targeted international markets, where participating partners can pitch their destinations and travel products in meetings with tour operators, airlines, travel agents, incentive and meeting planners, and media outlets.
International trade shows are a third major element of travel-trade marketing. Arizona destinations have joined Brand USA at these expositions: World Travel Markets (London and Sao Paulo), Brazilian Travel Agencies Association International Tourism Expo (Sao Paulo), International Tourism Exchange (Berlin), International Tourism Exchange Asia (Singapore), and South Asia Travel and Tourism Expo (Delhi).
Through its Visiting Journalist Program, Brand USA persuades influential travel writers to visit and write about the United States, providing assistance on occasions for specific media itineraries. The journalists, who represent consumer-oriented media outlets, are pre-approved for this program.
The promotion of travel to Arizona illustrates a diverse range of destinations in the state. Here are the most popular ones, as described on the state’s tourism office website, VisitArizona.com:
- Phoenix and Scottsdale – These two cities in the central part of the state reflect a region that boasts urban energy, an array of cultural attractions, world-class dining, outdoor adventure and a number of professional sports teams.
- Grand Canyon National Park – The sheer size of the canyon, Arizona’s most famous and unique destination, is hard to imagine: 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. A record 6.2 million visitors came to the park in 2017.
- Kartchner Caverns State Park – The park’s vast limestone cave, discovered in 1974 and located near Tucson, has the longest stalactite formation in the world.
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park – Sandstone formations, ranging in height from 400 feet to 1,000 feet, tower over dramatic, desert landscapes.
- Petrified Forest National Park – A lush, wooded landscape dominated the area 200 million years ago. Then, an active volcano covered it in a sediment created by volcanic ash and water. Erosion eventually revealed the petrified wood of the former forest. Hiking trails offer scenic views of the surrounding Painted Desert.
- Flagstaff – Located in a region steeped in Native American history, Flagstaff developed as a popular stop along Route 66, leading to California. Lowell Observatory, founded in 1894, is a Flagstaff landmark.
- Sedona – No. 1 on USA Weekend’s list of “Most Beautiful Places in America,” Sedona is a stunning geological oasis surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest. The town is known for its red-rock formations, myriad art galleries and dining spots, a spiritual aura, and 300 miles of hiking trails.
Brand USA partners
The Arizona Office of Tourism is one of Brand USA’s Diamond-Level Partners, by virtue of it contributing at least $1 million in total support. Overall, Brand USA has a network of approximately 800 partners.