During Spring 2020, Montreal was the epicenter of covid-19 in Canada. The country’s covid capital was making the headlines, making Canadian tourists avoiding Montreal. Even Montrealers wanted to leave their city! Tourism Montreal needed to reinvent itself and adapt to this new context by making Montrealers, the biggest pool, and only, of potential tourists, fall in love with their city again.

A performing campaign

Occupancy rate of Montreal hotels
Traffic increase on the sites of partners with the passport offers
Traffic increase on the sites of partners with the hotel offers

The insight

As a tourism board, Tourism Montreal has always focused its campaign efforts to target visitors from outside the province, in Canada, south of the border in the US, and abroad.

Talking to our own inhabitants was a first: we needed to promote tourism in Montreal towards Montrealers who had never been tourists in their own city. The only thing we knew is that Montrealers would have preferred to spend their vacation traveling around the globe, but they couldn’t. The true question remained: how can we convince Montrealers that the city had lots to offer, even if it doesn’t sound as exotic as a trip to Asia or Latin America?

Tourism Montreal also has a fundamental and unifying role with the various parties involved in tourism activities in the city. Business partners, tourist attractions, and hoteliers are all partners who rely on Tourism Montreal's campaigns to be promote to a population eager to travel.

This campaign therefore represented a double challenge for Tourism Montreal since it had to make Montrealers participate in the economic recovery of the city while ensuring the visibility of all these partners. 

The goal would be not only to engage Montrealers to spend time in their city as tourists, but also encourage them to participate in the economic relaunch of the city by helping local businesses.


Fall in love (again) with Montreal

To make Montrealers fall in love with their city again, we had to pin point what would trigger their interest, and we knew it was not the same as international or Canadians from other provinces. And because the ever changing situation around the pandemic and health regulations in place that could impact the what activities Montrealers were willing to participate in, we needed to be ready to react and readjust our strategies in real-time.

We set up data feeds in order to learn and track the different centers of interest of Montrealers. This way, we would know which activity to promote in our ads. By integrating real-time search queries and organic ranking to our dashboard, we were able to identify the most sought activities in the city and highlight the experiences that were the most promising for Montrealers. Four areas of interest stood out: urban well-being, culture, gastronomy and urban animation. We coupled this knowledge with the activities offered by our tourism partners to create our different activity passports.

After finding the most interesting activities, we needed to know who were the Montrealers that were the most up to participate in the economic recovery of the city. Because we had no insight, we adopted at first a very inclusive audience strategy, ranging from large audience buckets: foodies, athletes, families, adventurers, etc.

To go further in understanding our audiences, we created the Relaunching Montreal Interest Index, an index automatically connected to our dashboard that allows us to monitor audience learning in real time. It helped us identify typical portraits of Montrealers who were most receptive to our messages. More than 35 audiences were built after connecting the index, which flowed according to the receptivity of the different audiences, in real time. This way, we could adjust our investments according to the most qualified and relevant audiences. 


A seemless execution


Moving into the campaign, we felt limited with our passport offer, since it was too big of a commitment for some audiences who visited our website but weren't converting. To solve this problem, we implemented a second layer in our database: using our DMP, we classified user interests both in terms of activities and in terms of purchasing behavior. We were then able to be more relevant to those non-converting audiences with single activities offers, personalized to their interests and needs. In addition to building an interest tracker to identify the interests of Montrealers and create interest index to guide our decision making, we needed to modulate our commercial offers based on user’s likeliness to buy a passport or purchase individual activities and interests towards a type of experience.

We kicked off our campaign with a hero video and OOH across Montreal to attract the attention of Montrealers and tell them that their city was waking up form a slow Spring.

When we understood to understand which interests were the most popular through our dashboard, we started to push our activity passports with display ads in programmatic. The last step was to reach the non-converting audiences with single activities offers also pushed in programmatic.

A succesful campaign

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