The United States remains Alberta’s largest international market and all indicators for leisure travel show continued potential to increase visitation and spending. Economic conditions in the U.S. have stabilized with positive increases in GDP, employment and consumer confidence. An increase in direct air access to Calgary and Edmonton international airports makes travelling to Alberta easier. Current exchange rates represent an opportunity to capitalize on the increased purchasing power of Americans in Alberta. A steady surge in passport applications and renewals provide further opportunity to grow leisure visitation as these travellers are ready for international travel.
Contrary to leisure travel, the outlook for business travel in 2015 points to a significant decline. A decrease in oil and gas prices has resulted in some American airlines reducing frequency of service and seats on some routes to hedge risk, while increasing service on more popular routes nationally. The high cost of airfare relative to competitive destinations remains an immediate concern for business and leisure travellers alike.
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 create a sense of urgency to visit Alberta today. An ‘always on’ multi-channel approach is necessary to influence travellers through each stage of their purchasing decision.
California, Texas, Washington and Montana are key targets for Alberta, based on positive indicators and a high concentration of Free Spirits and Cultural Explorers in each market. Unique partnerships like AEG and North to Alaska allow a consistent presence in the marketplace and present opportunity through a nontraditional medium.
- Implement year-round marketing to ensure a timely, relevant and consistent communication strategy
- Launch Alberta Specialist Program to give travel trade professionals the information and inspiration to elevate sales to Alberta
- Build DMO buy-in marketing opportunities to extend specific destination messages while balancing alignment with consumer messaging
- Work with key influencers through media and social channels to share Alberta’s tourism story
- Celebrate customer advocacy and increase engagement with social media communities, word of mouth and native advertising
- Leverage media relations to drive relevant and topical content
- Build strong relationships with travel trade and MICE professionals through joint marketing agreements, FAMs/BDTs, sales missions, destination training, marketplaces, conferences and innovative events
- Drive a broad range of MICE programs and activities to maximize the sales impact on Alberta meetings and incentive destinations
- Expanded awareness and increased visitation from the U.S.
- Increased industry alignment through participation in DMO buy-in program
- Engaged influencers and advocates sharing Alberta stories, images and experiences to promote travel to Alberta
- Growth in market share in the U.S. relative to other provinces in Canada
- Growth in overall room nights from the U.S.
- Increase in load factor and seat capacity from the U.S.
- A larger and stronger network of travel trade and MICE professionals selling Alberta products, experiences and destinations