Advertising & Promotion

Third quarter saw a new approach to our media placement strategy. While we continued to follow the strategy outlined in our marketing plan with budget allocations across our brands, we made the shift to more impactful buys in national and regional publishers. The decision resulted in less placement of smaller (1/3 page) ads in multiple publications and migrated us to full page and two page spread ads in publications like Southern Living, Conde Naste, Southwest Magazine, Food & Wine, Travel Leisure, AAA, and Enroute Magazine. Our strategy was to present advertorial designed ads presenting the tourism attractions (our partners) and the aesthetics of Anne Arundel County. The media placement included print advertorial buys, sponsored digital content, and digital advertising. Insertion orders and creative were developed during the third quarter with placement beginning in March 2019 running through June 2019.

While the print campaign was being planned and executed, we continued to promote the county and our brands through digital advertising including; display, search, video, and social advertising, social community management, and email campaigns. This campaign continued to drive visitors to our branded sites and to connect with business and event listings on the sites. We also launched a test campaign with a new digital ad network, Adara. This campaign served ads to confirmed visitors on flights into BWI International Airport. The campaign solely focused on and promoting hotel packages in the region. This campaign ran through March and into April. Results from that campaign will be reported in Q4 report.

Website Traffic:

Year Over Year website sessions on our branded websites.

Jan - Mar 2018 Jan - Mar 2019 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19 147,166  94,959 521,869 502,843 17,493 43,843  45,345 209,598 7,790 40,275 20,977 74,006 36,162 55,156 73,963 117,807 3,129 959  9,499 6,862
All Sites  211,740 235,192 662,154 904,254
 Jan - March 2017 vs. 2018 YTD - FY 18 vs. FY 19
Variance +11% +37%

Event Promotions:

Top 4 events viewed during the 3rd quarter:

Event Month Impressions Sessions
Restaurant Week Feb/March 123,564 7,733
Film Festival March 946,979 6,952
Maryland Day March 161,192 4,815
Opening Day Packages March 141,012 347

Group Sales

Group Sales

The Group Sales Department confirmed 44,311* total rooms YTD, a 7.11% increase over FY18.

Industry Events:

January- PCMA Convening Leaders, Pittsburgh, PA | AMPs Monthly Networking Event, Washington, DC | HelmsBriscoe “Sip & Stuff”, National Harbor, MD | Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA) Emerge, Greensboro, NC

February- PCMA Capital Chapter Monthly Networking Event, Alexandria, VA | Meeting Industry Professional of Annapolis (MIPA) Monthly Luncheon, Annapolis, MD

 March– MPI Chicago NEXT ’19, Chicago, IL | MPI Philadelphia Chapter Bowling Event, Philadelphia, PA 

VAAAC Sales Activities:

Raleigh Meeting Planner Luncheon, Raleigh, NC | 7th Annual Sports Night, Annapolis, MD | Chicago Meeting Planner Luncheon, Chicago, IL | Philadelphia Meeting Planner Luncheon, Philadelphia, PA

Site Visits/Sales Calls:

Delta One TOCS, Jan 4 | USS Coontz Reunion, Jan 4 | Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute, Feb 6-7 | International Foodservice Editorial Council (IFEC), Mar 8-9 | Advanced Meeting Solutions, Inc., Mar 15| MitchMar Events & Meetings Consulting, LLC, Mar 20 | installNET Annual Service Providers, Mar 20 | Edward Jones, Mar 26 | NACADA, Mar 27

Group Sales Assists:

4 sports groups, 17 weddings/social, 5 tour and travel, 10 reunion, 16 conferences and arranged 1 CRUSA itinerary

Partner Events/Meetings:

Live! Casino & Hotel | Maritime Museum | BWI Business Partnership | London Towne Public House & Gardens | Charles Carroll House | Maryland Tourism Day | William Paca House

Quarterly Booking Comparison – 2018 vs. 2019

Jan - Mar 2018 Jan - Mar 2019 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19
Rooms 4,201 6,228 41,368 44,311
January - March 2018 vs. 2019 YTD - FY 18 vs. FY 19
Variance +48.25% +7.11%

*Total number of rooms confirmed include new and existing future bookings (carried over)

Public Relations & Communications 

Pitched story ideas for 24 journalists in deskside media visits. Participated in CRUSA-hosted dinners and receptions with additional 15 journalists during Capital Region USA media/trade mission to London, Dublin and Glasgow. (March 11th-15th, 2019) Traveled to Birmingham, AL to meet with Senior Editors at Coastal Living, Southern Living and Food & Wine magazines.

Hosted Press Trip:

Angelica Kajiware of Toddlin’ Across America March (29th-31st)

33 Media Assists:

amNew York | Venture Magazine | USA Today | Trivago | Crossing America Travel Guidebook | Richmond Magazine | Power and Motor Yacht | Frommer’s Easy Guide to DC | Convention South | Washingtonian Magazine | Meetings Today | Mid-Atlantic Events | JMore Magazine | Coastal Living | Southern Living

Significant Media Coverage:

(12/29) Dutch Journalist Riekelt Pasterkamp’s article in Nederland’s Dagblad (1/21) Getaway Mavens – 30 Surprisingly Romantic Getaways in Maryland, DC and Virginia (2/13) Eye on Annapolis Vacation Rental by Owner article (2/22) French journalist Damien Guillou’s Les Grands Ducs article (3/13) OffMetro NY – Ten East Coast Destinations to Visit This Spring (3/15) – You Won’t Believe What Happens After the Naval Academy Hat Toss (3/19) Irish Travel Trade News coverage of 3/11-15 UK Media Mission (3/21) – The Quirky Way This Port Town Celebrates the Arrival of Spring is Actually Amazing (3/30) WBFF-TV interview with Carrol’s Creek Chef for Oysters on the Half-Shell Day

Q3 FY18 Q3 FY19 Variance
Total Mentions 678 791 17%
YTD FY 18 YTD FY19 Variance
Total Mentions 2k 1.4K -30%

Owned Communications: produced 77 articles

Social Media Community

Social Media Community for Visit Annapolis, Weddings In Annapolis, and Annapolis Discovered.

Q3 Reach Q3 Growth
Facebook 99,915 0.21%
Instagram 20,191 6.5%
Twitter 10,987 0.87%
Pinterest 6,900 66.07%
All Sites 137,993 3.89%


Monthly Organizational Meetings:

February 7th | Group Sales Department | Cvent March 7th| Partnership Department | New Partnership Program and Extranet Demo

Partner Office Hours:

Conducted 6 Office Hours. Held for 90 minutes every other Friday for former, current and prospective partners at the Visitor’s Center. Attendees received training and information on Partnership benefits with VAAAC.

Partner Meetings & Trainings:

Live! Casino and Hotel | BWI-Arundel Mills Steering Committee Meeting | BWI Airport Marriott | Annapolis Film Festival | Annapolis Electric Boat Rentals | Cardinal Thread (Flamant) | Lighthouse Bistro | Maryland Black Bears | Arundel Mills | Captain Mike Full Moon Adventures | Dry 85/Red Red Wine Bar | Hobo | Mission Escape Rooms | Watermark | Laurel Racetrack | Outlaw Jam | Hammond-Harwood House

The new program, unlike the former model, is specifically focused on partnering with businesses that provide services to leisure and business travelers.  The number of invested products has increased YOY. The growth in product sales has expanded our partners’ reach across all of our brands.

Q1* Q2 Q3 YTD
Net Sales $4,800 $13,250 $35,475 $53,525
Products Sold 24 83 141 248
Total Partners 15 29 58 102

*Q1 numbers were for September only, as program launched in that month.

Total Partners Q3 FY18 Total Partners Q3 FY19
205** 102

**Since Q3 FY18, 7 of those businesses have closed and 38 are associations which are not investing in partner advertising

Visitor Services

  • Hosted well-attended partner informational sessions for volunteers
  • Unveiled a Portable Photo Booth in the Visitors Center to incentivize visitors to create content, tag it: VisitAnnapolis, and share with their network

Visitor Count

Jan - Mar 2018 Jan - Mar 2019 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19
Visitors 14,457 17,611 119,680 109,370
 January - March 2018 vs. 2019 YTD - FY 18 vs. FY 19
Variance +21.8% -8.6%

Brochure Fulfillment

Jan - Mar 2017 Jan - Mar 2018 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19
Brochures 4,675 5,890 23,497 19,176
January - March 2017 vs. 2018 YTD - FY 18 vs. FY 19
Variance +26% -18%