The Big Island Visitors Bureau

Big Results for Hawaii's Big Island.

The Challenge.

When Bates/Lee Advertising (now a part of Catalyst Marketing Company) took over the Big Island Visitors Bureau account in 2005, research showed it had a serious identity problem. Travelers unfamiliar with the Hawaiian Islands were also confused by the name, as it is both the name of the big island AND the name of the state, encompassing the entire group of islands. The largest island in the archipelago, it is also the youngest, least developed and at the time it had the lowest occupancy rates. It also had distinct stakeholder cultures (East Island/Hilo, which is more budget vs. West Island/Kona, more luxury and golf resorts).

The Strategy.

There is more to discover on the Big Island of Hawaii than any other Hawaiian island. It features 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones within its 4,028 square miles of surface, including snow capped peaks of over 14,000 feet, an active volcano, deserts, rainforests, beaches, and nearly every kind of outdoor adventure imaginable.

The agency implemented an island-wide identity, "The Island of Adventure," with a sub-theme of "Everything Hawaii from Chill to Sizzle." The agency then crafted a media plan that would allow the Bureau to expand its modest budget by building marketing programs that would attract partner buy-in, allowing Bureau funding to be used to seed programs instead of paying for them completely.

The Execution.

Graphic templates were developed for print and online ads to reinforce the brand across all channels (travel trade, leisure, group, bridal, etc.). Dynamic cooperative programs were also designed, sold in and executed by the agency for the island to attack need periods tactically while living within budget constraints. Agency relationships with airlines, wholesalers and American Express® allowed us to bring these in each year on-budget, on-time and with complete online integration supported by dynamic packaging website and drive-to-web online campaign components.

The Results.

Arrivals to Hawaii’s Big Island rose every year during the agency’s tenure. Member satisfaction with the bureau grew to new highs as well, as all members, large and small, enjoyed a chance to invest in programs that would drive measurable results to their businesses and not simply advance the overall brand of the Big Island. Because cooperative programs were targeted to visitors we could predict would most likely welcome an offer to visit or return to the Big Island, activation rates within targeted databases were excellent. The last tracked cooperative campaign drove an estimated $4,601,000 in spend (not counting untrackable components) with a $40,000 investment by the Big Island Visitors Bureau. Partners contributed 68% of the campaign cost, yielding a blended ROI of 46.5 to 1. The brand print campaign sampled here, won a prestigious Travel Weekly Magellan Award in 2008. This was one of only two awarded in Hawaii that year. The agency won the other Hawaii award that year for a campaign for Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort on Oahu.