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Destination BC launches campaign to lure Aussie skiers

$850,000 campaign has tourism marketer using own channels, paying to use others.
A skier passes a monument featuring the Olympic rings at Cypress Mountain in B.C.

Destination British Columbia has launched a $850,000 campaign to lure Australian skiers to the province’s ski resorts.

The campaign is bigger than another one this year, which costs about $650,000 and aims to attract U.S. ski visitors, but smaller than a $1-million-plus campaign slated to launch in June to attract U.S. visitors to B.C. this fall, Destination BC director of global marketing programs Karla Grenon told BIV this afternoon. 

The ski campaign in Australia follows a similar initiative last year, which also carried the tagline “You, elevated.”

Grenon said communication with ski resort representatives about bookings by Australians, and scrutiny of data showed that the campaign was a success.

There were only 17,048 Australians who visited Canada through B.C. entry points in January, however, down 14.1 per cent from the 19,841 Australians who did that in January 2023. 

Marketing B.C. ski hills in Australia has been a Destination BC priority for years, although there was no such marketing during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2022, only 3,554 Australians entered Canada via B.C. ports, but that was when travel restrictions were in effect. It was not until Oct. 1, 2022 that visitors no longer needed to be vaccinated or to use Canada's ArriveCan app in order to enter the country.

The Australian ski campaign this year includes paid advertising on Alphabet Inc.’s (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) YouTube as well as on networks owned by Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. (Nasdaq:META.)

Destination BC is also paying for advertising on linear television, broadcast video on demand, online video, newsprint, ski magazines, sponsored content programs and Performance Max, which runs ads across the Google platform, according to Destination BC.

This year's campaign is set to have two new elements.

First, Destination BC is buying sponsored content on TripAdvisor Inc.’s (Nasdaq:TRIP) popular namesake website. Different ads on that travel feedback and booking site point to a BC Ski Resorts Guide, which leverages the resorts’ TripAdvisor listings.

Destination BC is also using what it calls “page skins,” which are advertising flashes that take up a lot of screen real estate when users read content online.

"[Page skins are] a new tactic that we tried a few years ago and we're bringing back into the media mix for this year," Grenon said.

She described it as "like a takeover of a website," and more than simply buying a banner ad.  

The campaign will use Destination BC’s own digital and data properties, such as email addresses and social media channels. The destination marketer has new landing pages targeted to the Australian market.

Destination BC has invested in relationships with Aussie ski-tour operators and attended the 2024 Snow Travel Expo consumer shows in Melbourne and Sydney.

It has also invested to take travel media on press trips.

The campaign launched May 14 and runs through June. It aims to attract Aussies in the 2024-2025 winter season and markets B.C. resorts as having a vibrant mountain culture with skiers able to enjoy steep vertical drops and outdoor hospitality after their skiing day is done.

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