My main project while working at CTM Media Group was to expand their Ettractions and Exploreboard programs. CTM traditionally worked with old-school advertising placements like brochure racks, attraction magazines, and visitor maps for tourist attractions. They wanted to expand their digital reach and developed these touch screen kiosks called “Exploreboards” which attractions could buy placement on much like a traditional brochure rack. They worked incredibly well; being linked to their vacation planning site Ettractions.com allowed us to pull metrics on site visits and impressions, while being customizable enough to fit any hotel / attraction decor. They started expansion on the East Coast, and was ready to bring them to the midwest.
When I came on, the first placement was already up at the Anheuser-Busch Tour Center, and I quickly placing them in hotels and attractions around St. Louis. This is when I discovered something about a hotel placement vs an attraction placement. Attractions gave us the most impressions, the ABTC alone being worth over 500,000 impressions every year. But, we tracked the most activity from hotel placements, which made sense as that is where the day started for most of the clientele. We made an effort to increase the board activity first, as we had the metrics to pull to show to potential clients how the board was being used, and to show that the board was being used to lead people to attractions. We added three more hotels downtown, one in Midtown, and one in Chesterfield to give us a reach in St. Charles. Using these locations, we were able to add around 15 more clients to the Exploreboard to continue its growth.
We were also lucky enough to add a packaging program to how we sold the board, allowing clients to pick and choose what services they wanted. This helped us sell more easily, and also made placement on the board more of an add-on then a separate service, so that we didn’t kill traditional sales. While the big players in St. Louis had a digital strategy down, a lot of our clients still were exclusively paper and brochures. This pairing allowed them to dabble in digital, and supplement their traditional strategy. Growth continued, and spurned growth of the Ettractions brand online. Our followers to our St.Louis Ettractions Facebook and Twitter pages grew as we got more people involved in the platform, even with a small strategy of a simple content calendar and being on-hand for replies. But the coolest thing was the reports we saw from our internal analytic system. We could track where the user clicked out of the site, and we were able to correlate jumps in followers to our clients community with traffic directed out of Ettractions.com
When I left, we just added out 10th board, and the second one at a major attraction in St. Louis; the Science Center. It brought our impressions up to 2.5 million annually, and with each board placement, profile activity rose around 15%, so no placement was going unused. A really successful expansion in only a years time.