The United States remains Alberta’s largest international market with promising potential for increased visitation and expenditures.
Economic conditions are starting to stabilize, with positive increases in GDP, employment and economic forecasts helping to boost consumer confidence. An increase in direct air access into Calgary and Edmonton international airports provides greater ease in travel. Favourable exchange rates and a steady surge in passport applications and renewals provide further opportunity to grow visitation in 2014 and beyond.
Travellers from the U.S. include leisure, business and visiting friends and relatives (VFR). Travel Alberta leverages all marketing channels, as part of our global marketing strategy, to drive awareness of Alberta experiences and motivate the customer down the path to purchase.
A multi-channelled approach is necessary to influence travellers through each stage of their decision making process. California and Texas are primary targets for Alberta based on positive tourism indicators and a high concentration of Free Spirits and Cultural Explorers in each market. Unique partnerships, like AEG in California, gives Alberta a consistent presence to these target travellers and presents extended opportunities to increase awareness and lock out competitive destinations.
Travel Trade and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Events) activities strengthen Alberta’s position in our target markets and broaden our reach throughout the U.S. In 2013, Travel Alberta’s key travel trade accounts reported positive gains and remain optimistic in their outlook for 2014. Business travellers continue to represent Alberta’s highest yield per night.
Positive economic indicators combined with improving business conditions make Alberta an attractive destination with meeting professionals looking to expand their corporate presence.
Challenges in the U.S. include a lack of Canada brand marketing, high cost of airfare relative to competitive destinations, and ongoing fluctuation in currency exchange rates impacting long-term planning for travellers.
- Implement year-round marketing highlighting Alberta’s key experiences and leveraging brand messaging in high-yield markets
- Leverage key non-traditional partnerships to extend Alberta messaging
- Build customer advocacy and increase engagement in social media communities
- Work with top travel media influencers from the U.S. through media and social media activities to share Alberta’s tourism story
- Build strong relationships with travel trade and MICE professionals through joint marketing agreements, FAM trips, Alberta destination training, sales missions, marketplaces, conferences and innovative events
- Expanded brand awareness in California and Texas
- Increased expenditure based on expanded knowledge of Alberta experiences
- Growth in overall room nights from the U.S.
- Engaged advocates sharing stories, images and referrals about Alberta
- Positive media coverage for Alberta from targeted U.S. media outlets