Travel Innovation Summit Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the coveted Travel Innovation Summit awards. The award winners represent the best of an elite group of 32 innovators selected to demonstrate travel applications and solutions on the first day of The PhoCusWright Conference (November 11 – 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California USA).

Brand USA Marketing Innovation Award

The winner of this award was selected by Brand USA from a field of innovators and represents the best innovation related to tourism marketing. The award was presented during the Travel Innovation Summit awards ceremony.

This year’s winner is: bd4travel GmbH.

When Are Travelers

One of the great advantages of marketing through digital channels is measurability. Basic metrics like impressions, engagement, click-throughs are the building blocks for quantifying marketing/website performance. Broader analysis, however, is critical to understanding how travelers around the world use the internet to make travel decisions and how we can influence them effectively.

Project Phoenix Screengrab

Four years ago, when Brand USA began its operations, the team developed a campaign that became “Land of Dreams.” The reaction worldwide was phenomenal and the campaign has served Brand USA very well, helping us achieve a 47:1 marketing ROI in 2013. To stay fresh in the global marketplace, however, we must evolve. Project Phoenix is the foundation of our next chapter.

Project Phoenix phases


Although the great outdoors appeals to almost everyone, the preferred level of interaction with nature differs from person to person. Are you the type of person who would prefer to see the Grand Canyon from the comfort of a helicopter seat or would you rather tackle its rugged terrain on foot?

Carroll Rheem Brand

As Brand USA enters its fourth fiscal year of operations, we are excited to unveil International Insights, a newsletter designed to share valuable learnings the Research & Analytics Department generates on an ongoing basis. To tap into our nation’s collective marketing potential, our goal is to provide insights that not only support Brand USA’s marketing strategy, but also serve as a resource for our partners. After all, sharing knowledge is as important as creating it.

The Research & Analytics Department achieved significant accomplishments in the past year, including:


Chosen for its potential to significantly improve the way destination marketing organizations advertise, bd4travel was awarded the Brand USA Marketing Innovation Award at the PhoCusWright Conference’s Travel Innovation Summit. The summit, sponsored by Brand USA, features innovations from travel startups to industry giants. This year’s thirty-two demonstrators showcased a fantastic range ingenuity and creativity, which made picking a single winner a challenge. A key differentiator for bd4travel was its ability to demonstrate its immediate application and impact in today’s travel marketplace.

Waterfalls Maui

America’s phenomenal natural attractions have proven to be some our most compelling assets to potential international visitors. Compared to other destinations, international visitors often rank the US as one of the top countries for experiencing the great outdoors. Travelers, however, greatly vary in the way they prefer to experience natural attractions. To maximize the potential of our marketing efforts that showcase natural wonders across the U.S., we created a study to understand how consumers around the world want to experience the great outdoors when on vacation (read about the approach here). This article features an overview of the results.

Our primary objective for the research was to segment travelers into one of the following four categories:

Simple Display Ad

Maximizing the effectiveness of advertising involves specific steps that sound relatively straightforward, but can be relatively complex to institute. The four fundamental steps are: setting a primary objective (e.g., increase brand awareness, drive content engagement, etc.); defining a call to action (what exactly do you want the consumer to do?); measuring results; and optimizing buys toward the best performing creative/media. For DMO websites, especially those that do not feature booking, these steps are not always so simple. Rich digital advertising products present great opportunity, but also additional complexity.

Paid Post Example

Tapping into Facebook’s free (organic) communications network has been a cost-effective way for many companies to reach people with minimal investment. Moving forward, however, this organic reach essentially will be gone for commercial users. Joining and creating conversations will continue to be fundamental objectives for social media strategy, but the future of Facebook will revolve around paid advertising – good content is no longer good enough.

Culinary-Study Cover

With the exception of selfies, babies and animal memes, food is perhaps the most common subject of social media posts. Foodie culture has arguably reached mainstream status. For many travelers, experiencing new and different foods is one of the best parts of traveling. But how important is food when planning an international trip? How adventurous are travelers when it comes to their palate? Brand USA fielded a study in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United Kingdom in December 2014 to better understand the influence and importance of dining and food on travel decisions.

EU passports

While the U.S. benefited from a healthy increase in arrivals in 2014, the true growth trend can easily be misunderstood because of a change in methodology. In January 2014, the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) implemented a significant adjustment to international arrivals reporting using 1-94 program data. The transition of I-94 data collection from paper to electronic format has generated a more accurate count of one-night stays, which had previously been underrepresented due to complexities associated with the paper format. The adjusted visitor count now aligns more closely with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) standards, which includes one-night stays. More detail about the program can be found on the U.S. Department of Commerce website.

Tracking Mobile Usage Growth

While digital channels have been firmly established as the top source of travel information, mobile innovation is challenging companies to keep up with changing consumer preferences and media habits. There is no question that the mobile web is growing, but when it comes to destination selection, mobile usage varies greatly by market.

As part of Brand USA’s annual Market Intelligence Survey, we asked intercontinental travelers (international in Canada and Mexico) what sources of information they use when selecting travel destinations. Figure 1 shows the use of the internet via different devices.