Every corner of Nevada has stories to experience, something Millennials and Gen Xers seek out when traveling.
That’s the message TravelNevada (The Nevada Division of Tourism) is delivering to young travelers in its new fall and winter campaign: “Don’t Fence Me In: More Stories than Souvenirs.”
Representatives from the state agency shared details of the campaign during a recent meeting of the Reno Tahoe Chapter of the American Marketing Association.
“It’s not what you see, it’s how you feel,” said Bethany Drysdale, TravelNevada’s public relations director, talking about the type of vacation Millennials and GenXers want.
Currently, the average age of people who travel to Nevada is 55 years old even though Nevada has a lot to offer young travelers, added Greg Fine, marketing director for TravelNevada.
Tourism is a big deal in Nevada. Approximately 474,000 Nevadans, or 29 percent of the workforce, work in a tourism-related company, according to statistics from TravelNevada.
Visits are again on the rise. Last year 53.4 million travelers visited Nevada, which is up 2.6 percent over the previous year. In 2014, tourism spending exceeded $62 billion, which is up from $59.4 billion in 2013.
TravelNevada officials say there is room for more tourist visits, especially from young adults looking for a vacation experience.
Getting the message out that Nevada has a lot to offer isn’t as easy as posting information to the state’s travel website.
“They don’t trust destination websites,” Fine said.
Millennials and GenXers get information about destinations primarily from word of mouth. They want to hear the stories and have stories to tell when they return home.
“Nevada will never win the attribute game,” Drysdale said. We have mountains; Colorado has mountains. Golf courses are all over the place and ski resorts are not unique to this area, she said.
What Nevada does offer is how a vacation makes you feel, she said. “The campaign is really about the stories people get while here.
“They go home and say ‘you’ll never believe what happened to me.’”
TravelNevada is also enlisting visitors to become storytellers about their Nevada experience using #TravelNevada and #What’sYourStory on Twitter, plus Instagram and Facebook.
Advertising features real Nevada characters telling their Nevada story.
“Research shows that people really want to have these stories,” Fine said.
By integrating traditional media and social networking — all telling stories about what Nevada has to offer —TravelNevada seeks to draw younger adults to Nevada. The campaign includes:
An enhanced, content-driven platform designed to highlight Nevada characters, authentic Nevada stories and visual portrayals that highlight Nevada’s unique attributes, including personalities and landscape.
An enhanced website that provides opportunities to customize and share itineraries.
Increased integration of social media, peer reviews and user-generated content.
New TV spots, print and digital advertising featuring Nevada’s colorful characters and locations.
Paid media partnerships with Outside Magazine, Spotify, Great American Country and Orbitz, among others.
TravelNevada mobile app, featuring itinerary sharing compatibility with the website, educational information and mapping tools that function regardless of cellular coverage.
New programs for visiting media including press trips highlighting the wild, quirky events in Nevada.
The advertising campaign focuses on San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Boise, as well as in-state markets.
“Millennials and the travelers we’re targeting have a maverick attitude, and they want individuality to shine through in everything they do — including travel,” Claudia Vecchio, director of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, said in a press release announcing the campaign. “We don’t just want to market to them, we want to involve them in our story and encourage them to create their own adventures — their way — in Nevada.”