Sales & Marketing Division
2015 YEAR IN REVIEW
To meet the challenge of smoothing out the shoulder season and increasing air arrivals, the Sales & Marketing team generated more sales through its own efforts. The BTA also won adventure accolades from Outside Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and others, touting Bermuda’s year-round experiential travel.
The Sales & Marketing division has been highly active over the past year with extensive efforts to deliver Bermuda’s brand message throughout identified markets, raising both awareness of and demand for travel to Bermuda. The Sales & Marketing team generated $46 million in visitor spending for Bermuda’s tourism industry through partner marketing with the media and travel trade, hosting local and overseas events, and conducting a variety of promotions, to name but a few.
Showcasing Bermuda’s Adventurous Side
Part of the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s (BTA’s) strategy is to appeal to a new generation of travellers by showcasing Bermuda’s adventurous side, and the BTA team generated significant coverage in 2015. Bermuda is considered a relative newcomer to the sector of active adventure, so it was a huge accolade to be recognised by Outside Magazine as the Best Island in their 2015 Travel Awards in March. In June, Bermuda was featured in the Wall Street Journal as the “New Destination for Adrenaline Junkies”; in the same month, Triathlete Magazine, the publication for ironmen and ironwomen everywhere, cast Bermuda in a starring role for its annual swimsuit issue. Then in November, the island also graced the cover of Climbing Magazine and was highlighted in a stunning multi-page feature.
Diving has been a mainstay of Bermuda’s water sport activities over the years, but in 2015 BTA pushed it to the fore by partnering with Scuba Diver Life and on-island partners to create a four-minute storytelling video touting the fabulous diving experience in Bermuda. The results of that partnership have been outstanding:
A further joint dive-sector partnership was established between the BTA and the US PADI Diving Association to drive group dive business to Bermuda. The BTA hosted a familiarisation (FAM) trip for US dive shop owners and tour operators to experience Bermuda’s dive product first-hand during the fall. This was the first time that any of the participants had visited Bermuda. Local dive shops and local hotels partnered in this initiative by offering hotel site visits, dive experiences, training and visits to local attractions. Hosting this FAM trip resulted in securing two separate groups to visit in 2016 and demonstrated how Bermuda as a destination can win business by targeting niche markets.
Top Billings for Bermuda
Another strategy was to shine the spotlight on Bermuda by working on strategic alliances and rankings, to position the island as a “must visit” destination.
Conde Nast Traveler featured Bermuda on the cover of its romance issue, with a feature story on Bermuda’s potential evolution with the hosting of America’s Cup.
- On top of the Outside Magazine designation as Best Island for 2015, Bermuda also claimed one of only 20 “Best of the World” trips for 2016 by National Geographic Traveler.
- Robb Report, an authoritative voice in the global luxury market, ranked Bermuda as one of the top 21 destinations in the world for 2016.
- The BTA worked with Virtuoso to position Bermuda as a “preferred destination,” gaining access to the travel industry’s leading luxury network.
- In the meetings market, the BTA aligned the island as a conference destination with the Association of Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) Global Luxury Alliance.
Tapping into the Power of Influencers
In early 2015, the BTA teamed up with Google and Tastemade, a multi-channel network (MCN) partner with 15 million subscribers, to create a six-episode video series that highlighted the culture, food and beauty of Bermuda to inspire audiences to put Bermuda on their destination wish list. Tastemade recruited three influential talents with a passion for travel to journey to the island and capture all it has to offer in fun-filled, adventurous, beautifully-shot videos and social media posts. The video and photo content lives across Tastemade’s, the talent’s and Bermuda’s channels for a robust partnership, and delivered 41 percent lift in ad recall and 17 percent lift in consideration.
The BTA takeover of the Travel + Leisure Instagram page generated over 33,000 likes and is considered “the most successful Instagram takeover on T+L to date.” The concept for the campaign was “Bermuda Through My Lens”, whereby Travel + Leisure hand-selected two high-profile Instagram photographers to spend a weekend in Bermuda and compile photography and content to post on their Instagram feeds, combined with a one-day takeover of the T+L Instagram page. The digital components were then combined with pages and spreadvertorials in print issues.
Local photographer Amanda Temple, through her #BermudaDreaming project, and the BTA collaborated with photographer and top Instagrammer, Pei Ketron, to visit and photograph Bermuda in July. Pei documented her travels around the island through her Instagram posts. Pei’s Instagram following is more than 800,000 strong. Bermuda received excellent exposure with an average of 6,000-plus likes for each image she posted. The collaboration with Pei demonstrates the power of social media in reaching audiences who would not automatically be engaged with Bermuda. Like other top Instagrammers, Pei has a loyal audience who trust her recommendations on travel and unique experiences. As a third-party endorser, Bermuda was able to leverage additional exposure (13.7 million total reach) to a previously untapped market, at minimal expense.
The BTA takeover of the Travel + Leisure Instagram page generated over 33,000 likes and is considered “the most successful Instagram takeover on T+L to date”.
Jimmy Chin, a world-renowned director, photographer, mountaineer and professional climber, was brought to Bermuda for a collaborative marketing campaign with Conde Nast Traveler magazine and the BTA. Jimmy has an Instagram following of over 1 million. Photographs of Jimmy rock climbing, powerboat racing, jet skiing, kite surfing, paddle boarding and mountain biking were included in an editorial spread featuring Bermuda. The BTA extended its promotional reach through Jimmy’s wide audience as well as that of the Conde Nast Traveler readership.
- The Sales & Marketing division worked with its PR firm as well as New York-based Bermudian Shiona Turini to coordinate stylish influencers to visit Bermuda during the #SummerFridays promotional period. This included hosting designer Rachel Roy and other journalists during Bermuda Fashion Festival.
- Rachel Roy generated exposure through her social channels, and also resulted in traditional media coverage of Bermuda in the New York Post and Travel + Leisure.
- Social and style influencer sisters Aimee & Dani Song snapped their way through Bermuda
- Eva Chen, now head of fashion partnerships for Instagram, shared her summer trip to Bermuda with her young family and her social following.
- Solange Knowles, singer, songwriter and actress, visited Bermuda as part BTA’s Summer
Fridays promotion, showcasing the beauty of the island through her perspective to her many followers. W Magazine amplified the Bermuda message by featuring coverage about the trip to more than 1 million followers via its Twitter account.
- Justin Livingston, Lemon Stripes and C’est Christine all documented their Summer Fridays
experience with their followers.
- Shiona Turini’s Summer Fridays trip home to the island was featured on the Coveteur, a website that chronicles adventures in style, travel, arts and culture.
Elevating Brand Partnerships
In tandem with the BTA’s strategy to establish Bermuda as a luxury destination for followers of certain brands, the Sales & Marketing division work to create some high-end brand affiliations as leverage.
From July to October 2015, the BTA partnered with Henri Lloyd, the leading UK clothing manufacturer for sailing, yachting and golfing, and also the official clothing supplier of Landrover BAR. The stylish brand is found across the high streets, reaching affluent, fashionable consumers. The partnership includes Point of Sale (POS) in all of the Henri Lloyd stores, concessions and at summer sailing events, such as the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, as well as extensive digital and social promotion. The BTA are continuing discussions with Henri Lloyd to further this strategic partnership.
In June, the BTA partnered with Kurt Geiger, a stylish shoe and luggage brand in the UK, to reach their consumers through POS in 40 stores, including major airports, for four weeks, including a competition on their website.
From May to July, the BTA partnered with Bermuda-brand Gosling’s to push the potential for North American consumers to purchase two of Bermuda’s greatest exports this summer – tourism and Gosling’s Rum. The “Selfie Yourself to Bermuda!” was a multi-platform promotion that encouraged customers to submit a picture of themselves “toasting Bermuda-style” for a chance to win a vacation for two to the island. The promotion was supported by POS in 750 US retail stores, social integration, digital marketing and sweepstakes components, which included:
The BTA’s website, www.gotobermuda.com, saw a 50 percent growth in website visitation – from 1.4 to over 2 million. In 2015, two exciting sections were added to the website, furthering the strategic promotions that have played out through Sales & Marketing efforts:
- 21 free & affordable things to do – a wide selection of activities and pursuits to match every interest, for free!
- Adventure almanac – a guide to Bermuda’s 40 greatest outdoor adventures.
Leveraging Lifestyle & Cultural Events
A number of themed events were held through the year with the purpose of leveraging existing and striking up new partnerships to promote the lifestyles of the island and encourage like-minded people to visit.
The BTA sponsored the Sunday Gospel Brunch in Charleston, a sold-out event filled with food, drink and the soulful sounds of Bermudian singer Joy T. Barnum. It was a chance to show off the island’s diverse flavours to 300+ attendees. Some of Bermuda’s acclaimed culinary talents were on hand: Michiko Campbell, Sous-Chef de Cuisine at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and creator of a popular brand of seasoning called Chiko’s Smokey Rub; Andre Green, who has been Head Chef at such Bermudian favourites as the Bermuda Regiment and Elbow Beach Hotel; Karsten Krivenko, Chef at Tribal Road Kitchen, a gastro pub-style bistro; and Douglas Sisk, the expert Chef at the Reefs Resort & Club.
In May, the Sales & Marketing division leveraged the BTA’s partnership with Travel + Leisure to host a Dine in Harlem Dinner during the Harlem Eat Up Festival, celebrating Bermuda’s ties with New York and Charleston and promoting the opening of Marcus’ on-island restaurant. The intimate dinner with 85 guests generated 50 opt-ins and was considered a great success.
In June, the Sales & Marketing division participated in the world’s first food & wine festival dedicated to Rosé Wine and Rosé Champagne, called La Nuit en Rosé Festival, to leverage the lifestyle and interest in Rosé wines with Bermuda’s blush beaches. By integrating Bermuda into the full culinary experience and lavish lifestyle celebration, BTA engaged with 4,000 consumers over the course of five events in three days, serving signature Dark n’ Stormies and taking photos in a green screen photo area. For this event, BTA generated 540 opt-ins.
Some high-exposure events took place in New York in the run up to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, successfully promoting Bermuda and engaging socialites and influencers.
In September, the BTA held the #RacetoBermuda launch party at Lightbox in New York. Guests mingled with members from team Oracle and enjoyed Bermudian-inspired fare from chef Marcus Samuelsson. Gosling’s created cocktails for the event and Bermudian influencers based in New York were brought in to contribute, such as Damon DeGraff on the turntables, amongst others. In October, the BTA partnered with Elite Traveler magazine to host an invitation-only culinary experience surrounded by art and culture at Costata, an upscale steakhouse in New York’s vibrant SoHo neighbourhood. The following day, Robb Report teamed up with the BTA for an evening sailing adventure around Lower Manhattan on board a 158-foot clipper ship with Dark n’ Stormies in hand – the perfect taste to the forthcoming sailing events in Bermuda.
Influencing Travel through Trade Partnerships
As part of the Sales & Marketing remit in building relationships with the travel trade, three new tour operators added Bermuda to their portfolio, increasing distribution in the UK. Hayes & Jarvis, Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays are all actively selling Bermuda vacations in 2016. In preparation for the new tour operators and in working with existing ones, personal training for more than 1,100 travel and/or reservation professionals was conducted through the year throughout the United States, Canada, UK and Italy.