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How Texas Tourism Boosted Engagement with Its #TexasToDo Video Series


Texas Tourism partnered with the Matador Network travel media company to develop a series of 24 “TexasToDo” videos that showcase immersive travel experiences and Texans intimately familiar with those experiences. The overarching mission is to personalize and humanize the travel research phase for people considering a vacation in the Lone Star state.

In April this year, the destination marketing organization relaunched its website with the videos anchoring the destination content in the “Cities & Regions” and “Things To Do” sections. The landing page for each begins with one of the videos, supported with crowdsourced social media photos tagged #TexasToDo to add another visual layer to the user experience.

“We’ve seen video perform very well in our high impact ad placements and have seen increased performance on TravelTex.com when a video is present,” says April Bear, tourism advertising coordinator for Texas’ Office of the Governor, Economic Development & Tourism. “But beyond what makes video great as a medium, #TexasToDo Films are able to contribute to the evolution of the campaign overall by providing a richer, deeper look at the individual places and attractions Texas has to offer.”

As an example of that increased viewership, users spend 2.3 times longer on the most heavily trafficked pages on TravelTex.com where the films have been integrated. The bounce rate on the #TexasToDo film gallery page is 27% lower than other pages on TravelTex.com. Texas Tourism has also seen success through its social media promotion, with a 32% average video completion rate on Twitter.

Driving all of this engagement, the artistry and human connection in each of the videos elevates the brand storytelling to a new level because it’s so visceral.

“We wanted something really visual that motivated people to immerse themselves in the website and discover Texas in a new way,” adds Bear. “We kind of let Matador Media have free reign in terms of the creative process because we trusted them, and the end results really brought out the best of everything we hoped to accomplish.”

Matador, known for creating human-driven stories, developed the videos around a series of passion points provided by Bear and her team, based on metrics of engagement supplied by the economic and tourism development teams in the Governor’s office.

Those passion points include a lot of traditional travel themes such as food and drink, arts and culture, shopping, sports and outdoors activities, but each is expressed in a uniquely Texan way because of the specific speaker. Those themes were then supplemented with more Texan-specific subjects such as Western history, frontier forts, ranches and rodeos.

Each personality in the #TexasToDo videos is well established to talk about their respective fields of expertise.

For example, Joel Cowley, president and CEO of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, discusses his love for rodeo and its place in Texas history.

“Rodeo really started back in the early 1800s when ranch workers would come together to test skills that they used in their everyday work,” he explains. “Texas takes great pride in its Western heritage. It’s really a culture and a value system.”

To source all of the people featured in the short films, Bear and her staff reached out to all of the different tourism bureaus throughout the state with a request for personable people with a strong point of view who would be good on camera.

“We then started calling everyone on the phone because we really wanted to make sure that everyone we used had a dynamic personality,” says Bear.

Once the subject matter, locations and speakers were chosen, the Matador crew went to work in the summer of 2014. Weather sometimes played havoc on everyone’s schedules because both the film crew and Tourism Texas wanted to show off the state with an unprecedented level of production quality beyond anything the bureau had done before. Although, Bear says, the winter rains did make everything look pretty and green.

Production wrapped this spring and the final videos were loaded on Vimeo,the platform that Bear says provides the most stable and professional results inside the TravelTex.com website.

Bear sums up, “So now with the #TexasToDo Films complete, we can integrate all of the video and social media elements with our advertising under the #TexasToDo hashtag to drive a cohesive brand message out into the marketplace.”

Since The #TexasToDo Launch:

  • The bounce rate on the #TexasToDo film gallery page is 27% lower than other pages on TravelTex.com.
  • All #TexasToDo film pages have two minutes or more average time spent on the page, that is about 45% longer on the page than overall site average.
  • Users spent up to 2.3 times longer on the passion point pages.
  • Recently started rotating the 15-second teasers within digital high impact ad units, resulting in an 83% average completion rate. Per Sizmek, the 2014 industry benchmark for the travel vertical is 73.2%
  • 32% average completion rate on Twitter ads with the #TexasToDo Fishing film being the highest at 38.8%

This content was created collaboratively by Skift and Travel Channel.

Moving Images explores the new era of travel video, from new platforms and technology to best practices from forward-thinking brands and content creators. View the full dashboard.

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