Spotlight: Discover Puerto RicoDestinations facing challenge with resilience and creativity
Discover Puerto Rico’s Virtual Events
Resilience and creativity have always been hallmarks of the travel industry. At Miles, we’ve been inspired by the innovative ways that destinations and organizations are exemplifying those qualities, adapting to meet the extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19. We will be spotlighting those efforts here each week to help share that inspiration throughout the industry.
Read on to find out how Discover Puerto Rico acted quickly to support local partners and engage future visitors with their Virtual Vacay series.
Challenge: Stuck at Home
Exercising an abundance of caution, Puerto Rico was one of the first destinations in the US to move into a restricted state of shelter-in-place in mid-March. With all nonessential business and travel paused, and the majority of the population staying home until further notice, Discover Puerto Rico needed an inventive solution that would support the local community, empathize with their audience and keep Puerto Rico top-of-mind.
Strategy: Create a “Virtual Vacay”
Discover Puerto Rico reacted quickly, launching its first “virtual vacation” over the last weekend of March. The lineup featured unique live happenings meant to virtually transport viewers to Puerto Rico through Zoom and Instagram, including salsa dancing lessons and cooking and cocktail-making tutorials. They connected locals, past visitors and future visitors alike to celebrate, learn about and partake in Puerto Rican culture.
Results: Keep the Party Going
The near-instant success of the Virtual Vacay prompted Discover Puerto Rico to keep the momentum going with a calendar of additional events planned throughout April and May. Already, Discover Puerto Rico has received an impressive response through earned media and social media, including:
- More than $6 million in ad equivalency and nearly 600 million impressions.
- 13% increase in Instagram impressions and 23% increase in Facebook impressions.
- Instagram profile views up 112% and 6,800 new followers in the 3-week period since Discover Puerto Rico started promoting virtual events.
To learn more, we emailed Liz Mabe, Director of Digital Marketing for Discover Puerto Rico, who shared the origin of the idea, how she and her team are going about finding event hosts and some trends she’s seeing from viewers.
How did Discover Puerto Rico come up with the idea to host virtual events?
Working in tandem with our Public Relations agency partners at Ketchum, we established the importance of staying connected to our consumers during this unprecedented time. While we can’t actively invite visitors to our beautiful island now, we wanted to keep Puerto Rico top-of-mind for consumers and inspire them to dream about their next vacation to paradise. The Virtual Vacays were an opportunity to bring Puerto Rico directly to consumers. In the comfort of their own homes, we invited viewers to experience the sights, sounds and flavors of the island through dance lessons, cooking demonstrations, yoga classes and more.
What were some of the overall goals/objectives for the project?
We approached the live activations with two goals in mind:
1. Generate earned media coverage.
2. Maintain Puerto Rico as a top-of-mind destination for consumers.
How is your team coming up with topics/themes for the virtual events?
It was important that the initial activations were rooted in the Island’s culture – a unique combination of African, Spanish and Taino Indian history, that makes Puerto Rico a one-of a kind destination. We highlighted dance, food, nature and wellness, which are differentiating products and experiences that set Puerto Rico apart.
How has Discover Puerto Rico approached getting local talent, the community and businesses involved?
After the initial activations, our local industry was so excited that many of them started reaching out to us to pitch ideas for how their businesses could help support this effort. During these uncertain times, our industry partners were eager to get exposure for their businesses and collaborate on the initiative.
Have you noticed any trends in which types of content seems to resonate the most with viewers right now?
Now more than ever, people are dreaming of being outdoors after being cooped up in their homes. Our content segments related to outdoor activities, like the El Yunque rainforest tour and the yoga class that took place on the lawn of St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort overlooking the beach, have been our most engaging posts over the past 21 days. We have also noted that food and culinary content has high engagement rates and is something that our audience loves.
Do you envision continuing virtual events for Discover Puerto Rico beyond the COVID-19 crisis?
We are planning to continue the virtual weekend getaways through May and will have additional virtual activations moving forward so we can continue to reach and inspire our audiences.
Do you have any tips for other DMOs trying to connect with travelers who are staying home for the time being?
Meet consumers where they are – they are at home and bored, looking for inspiration. Use your unique brand attributes to connect with them when they are open to receiving brand messages and spending an unprecedented amount of time in front of screens.
Are there any future exciting things coming up for Discover Puerto Rico that you’d like to share?
In addition to the virtual getaways, we’ve created content that consumers can engage with at home including Zoom backgrounds, Spotify playlists of Puerto Rican music and articles on the website highlighting Puerto Rican authors and museums that you can explore virtually, all available on discoverpuertorico.com.
Check out all of Discover Puerto Rico’s Virtual Events, all of which have been recorded and are available for on-demand viewing here.