A collaborative project designed to raise brand awareness for the Danish Villages as a travel destination received the 2020 Iowa Tourism “Outstanding Marketing Collaboration” Award for a rural area at the ceremony held March 3, 2020 at the Iowa Tourism Conference in Des Moines. Lisa Steen Riggs, manager of the Danish Windmill, accepted the award.
The winning project was a 3-day familiarization (FAM) tour for six social media influencers that was held September 24-26, 2019. The itinerary focused on Danish cultural heritage presented with an emphasis on traditions, foods, holidays, and concepts like hygge and “how to be Danish”. It was about sharing conversation and experiences, enjoying new flavors, good food and drink and creating memories as well as showing off the beautiful landscape along the Western Skies Scenic Byway leading visitors to “Denmark on the prairie”.
Partners collaborating on the tour included the Danish Windmill, Larson’s Pub, Danish Countryside Vines and Wines, The Flour Mill, Museum of Danish America, Brun Ko Farms, the Coffee Girl, Egg Krate Mall, Tivoli Inn & Suites, Pleasant Thymes Tea Room, The Danish Table: A Hygge Kitchen, Norse Horse Tavern, Log Cabin Quilt Shop, Copenhagen Friday, and the Nest Egg.
Sara Broers of the Midwest Travel Network helped the partners structure the tour by identifying potential food and travel influencers that would reach the target audience. Success was based on the reach and engagement of the campaign by tracking impressions, likes, clicks, shares and comments before, during and after the influencers were in the community.
The six food and travel writers produced 11 blog posts (valued at $500 per post based on Midwest Travel Network stats) that reached 92,592 followers; and 56 Facebook posts that reached 399,234 followers.
“As a small community, dollars dedicated to advertising/marketing communications are limited so we are always receptive to ways we can leverage our investment most effectively,” said Riggs. “Getting involved with the influencers and the Midwest Travel Network was a great way to reach new markets and expand our digital impact because it gives us access to travel writers/bloggers that are all interested in Midwest travel.”
To learn more about the writers’ experiences and get some ideas for your own travel plans, you can read their posts in our January 2020 Archives.