Salem, Massachusetts is synonymous with Halloween and every October, the city offers tourists a witching good time. Though there are few places that top Salem in its Halloween festivities, Salem is more than Halloween. It has maritime history, a vibrant arts community, an impressive food and beverage culture and scenic ocean views. In 2019, Destination Salem, Salem’s destination marketing organization, came to us with a desire to use these factoids about Salem and turn it into a yearlong destination.
We designed Destination Salem’s 2019 travel guide, which is on display in shops and restaurants in Salem, as well as the visitor center. To provide travelers with a new perspective, we made the cover of the Salem Trolley in front of the historic Custom House. The trolley is Salem’s signature sightseeing tour, and we made the cover vibrant to showcase the city’s colorful history.
Once the guide was completed, the next step was to attract online users to Salem. To attract new users, we created Google Ads, Display Ads, and Facebook Ads to promote Destination Salem’s Guide to Salem and the Haunted Happenings Guide, a guide that focuses on Halloween activities to do in the area. We chose to make the landing pages for the guides gated, which means every user has to submit their email address in order to receive a guide. This, in turn, helped Destination Salem build its email database.
In 2018, a year before we started working with them, Destination Salem received roughly 8,000 travel guide downloads. In 2019, with our paid search and social efforts, they received a little over 14,000 travel guide requests.
The campaign we ran for Haunted Happenings was from mid-September 2019 to October 2019. In this timeframe, Destination Salem received 178 hard copy guides requested and 284 digital downloads. We found that many visitors downloaded the guide as they were exploring the city.
Overall, our work with Destination Salem has helped bring more attention to the City of Salem. For example, from March 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 traffic from New York increased by 20%, New Jersey increased by 22.6%, and traffic from Pennsylvania by 26.2%.