Advertising & Promotion

During the final quarter of the Fiscal Year (April - June) we executed the spring campaign outlined in our marketing plan with budget allocations across our brands including print advertorial buys, sponsored digital content, and digital advertising. Fourth quarter print placements included ads in publications including; Southern Living, Southwest Magazine, Food & Wine, and Preservation Magazine.  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. In addition to our spring campaigns, we launched two new campaigns in Fourth Quarter.

The first was 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 March through June and drove 9,819 flights to BWI by 13,771 travelers with an average length of stay (LOS) reflecting 4.3 nights. It also produced 1,846 hotel bookings for 3,569 total room nights.  Average daily rate (ADR) came in at $128.88 resulting in $460K in hotel revenue. We were very happy with the results and are looking into campaigns with Adara for the BWI and Annapolis regions in FY20.

The second campaign focused on Toronto as a growing source market. In conjunction with the Maryland Office of Tourism’s Canadian outreach, coupled with the increased lift from Air Canada into BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, we developed a campaign to position the county to the Toronto market and also highlighted the Stay & Fly packages provided by the hotel partners in the BWI region. We leveraged articles drafted by a freelance writer/influencer from Toronto and another from Annapolis to place advertorial ads in Enroute Magazine (Air Canada's magazine), the Toronto Star and the Kit (in Toronto), as well as digital ad placements. In cooperation with the consumer campaign in Toronto, we also executed a travel agent outreach campaign. We partnered with the Association for Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA) to promote the county through a podcast, webinar, editorial content, and advertising. The campaign led up to the Travel MarketPlace conference held in Toronto, where we had a booth and helped promote getaway packages to the attending travel agents.

Website Traffic:

Year Over Year website sessions on our branded websites.

April - June 2018 April - June 2019 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19 209,299 228,425 731,168
731,268 28,023 152,690 80,121 468,132 10,581 54,680 31,558 128,686 N/A: Site Launched Aug. 2018 79,237 N/A 197,046
406 12,475 7,268
All Sites 250,879 515,032 855,322 1,532,400
 April - June 2018 vs. 2019 YTD - FY 18 vs. FY 19
Variance +264,153 sessions (+105%) +677,078 sessions (+78%)

Event Promotions:

Top 3 events viewed during the 3rd quarter:

Event Month Impressions Sessions
Spring Sailboat Show April 592,282 9,770
Boat Maryland Week April 1,038,986 1,128
Annapolis Arts Week May-June 3,271,856 25,668

Group Sales

Group Sales

The Group Sales Department confirmed 51,118* total rooms YTD, a .19% increase over FY18.

Industry Events:

Cvent Elite Meeting Alliance (EMA) | April 13-16 | San Diego, CA

VAAAC Sales Activities:

Annapolis/Newport Meeting Planner Top Golf Event, Alexandria, VA | Annapolis/Newport Meeting Planner Luncheon, Washington, DC | VAAAC Art Week Client Event, Annapolis, MD

Site Visits/Sales Calls:

CSI, April 3 | Delta Company Reunion, April 17 | RAAM, April 25 | MAEOE, April 26 | American Academy of Adoption Attorneys & American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorney, April 29 | Alstede AF-48 Association Reunion, April 30 | RGA, May 9 | Health Professions Network, May 23 | Connect, June 6 | Grant Family Reunion, June 24

Group Sales Assists:

1 sports group, 12 weddings/social, 3 tour and travel, 8 reunion, 20 conferences and arranged 4 CRUSA itineraries

Partner Events/Meetings:

Aloft/Element BWI | April 16

Quarterly Booking Comparison – 2018 vs. 2019

April -June 2018 April -June 2019 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19
Rooms 5,905 6,710 51,019 51,118
Variance +4.49% +0.19%

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

Public Relations & Communications 

Hosted 4 Press Trips: 

Jill Gleeson | Select Traveler Magazine | June 2 - 4

Canadian Traveller Magazine, Today’s Parent, Faze Magazine, Escapism Magazine | Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD) | May 14 - 15

Greg Mercer | Waterloo Region Record/Hamilton Spectator/Metroland Media | May 7 - 9

La Provence, Le Progres de Lyon,, and Plume Voyage | CRUSA | April 24 - 25

24 Journalist/Media Outlet Assists:

JetSet Family | Washingtonian | America Magazine (Denmark) | Trivago | County Lines Magazine | Select Traveler | Smart Meetings | MobileRVing

Significant Media Coverage:

  • WBAL-TV | Carrol’s Creek Café Prepares Oysters on the Half Shell | April 1
  • Power & Motor Yacht Magazine | Waypoint Annapolis | April 15
  • The Mama Notes | Toronto Outfit Diary | April 16
  • MSN Travel | Every State’s Best Summer Event 2019 | April 19
  • Edible DC | Annapolis is a Trip fit for Foodies | May 3
  • The Mama Notes | 48 Hour Toronto Travel Guide | May 7
  • Vacation Idea | 25 Best Maryland Wineries | May 10
  • USA Today Online | Step Back in Time: Six Can’t Miss Attractions | May 15
  • Secuoya Contenidos (TV) | Espanoles en el mundo: Washington DC | June 20
  • Toronto Star Online | A Stylish Weekend in Annapolis | June 21
  • County Lines Magazine | A Long Weekend in Annapolis | June 23
April -June FY18 April -June FY19 Variance
Total Mentions 556 711 +28%
YTD FY 18 YTD FY19 Variance
Total Mentions 2,500 2,116 -15%

Owned Communications: produced 63 articles

Integrated Marketing Communications

In conjunction with the Toronto advertising campaign, a City Swamp was arranged. Annapolis Influencer, Caitlin Kruse, shared the ease of Stay & Play packages at BWI Airport while traveling to Toronto. Toronto Influencer, Krystin Lee, discovered a ‘Merrytime in Maryland’ during her weekend visit to Annapolis and the BWI region. Photography and editorial content was repurposed in the Toronto markets: EnRoute Air Canada Magazine, The Kit publication, Annapolis Discovered blogs and supported through digital advertising.

Social Media Community

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

April - June Reach April - June Growth
Facebook 110,691 10.79%
Instagram 22,991 13.87%
Twitter 11,112 1.14%
Pinterest 9,400 36.0%
All Sites 154,194 11.0%


Monthly Organizational Meetings:

April 4th | Visitors Center Services | Objectives and Opportunities May 2nd | Media and Public Relations | How to Get Involved with the Media June 6th | Advertising | Annapolis Discovered and Quality Content

Investor Office Hours:

Conducted 4 Office Hours. Held for 90 minutes every other Friday for former, current and prospective investors at the Visitor’s Center. Attendees received training and information on Partnership benefits with VAAAC.

Investor Meetings & Trainings:

Irish Restaurant Company | Mission Escape Room | Sadona Salona & Spa | Flamant | Chesapeake Bay Beach Club | Franklin House | Laurel Racetrack | ReSails | Annapolis Harbour Center | Remington Hotels | Wine Cellars of Annapolis | Annapolis Towne Center | Chesapeake Chef Service | Chart House | Chesapeake Bayhawks | Ruth’s Chris Steak House | Annapolis Maritime Antiques | Carpaccio

New Business Welcomes:

In Q4, the new business welcome gift program was introduced. Granting new businesses within our county 90 days of free promotion on our sites. At the end of the 90 period, businesses are presented with the analytics and effectiveness of our marketing products and given the opportunity to invest with VAAAC.

Foxglove Charters | Main & Mango | New Razor Blade Barbershop | Yellowfin Steak & Fish House | Rico’s Tacos

Total Investors:

July – September October – December January – March April – June YTD
Net Sales $6,750 $15,700 $45,275 $15,700 $83,425
Products Sold 37 96 187 81 401
Total Partners 15 27 62 69 173

Investors are partners who have chosen to invest in marketing products with VAAAC.

Total Partners FY18 Total Investors FY19
630* 211

*This number is based on the previous member-focused model, which is now obsolete to the new consumer-focused mission of our Destination Marketing Organization.

Visitor Services

Visitor Services

  • Installed high-tech people counting solution in Visitors Center that tracks visitors through two entrances with 98% accuracy
  • Streamlined volunteer scheduling and communication by integrating to a cloud-based software for volunteer management
  • Modernized volunteer workspaces within the Visitors Center and City Dock Information Booth for easier access to information resources and better engagement with visitors
  • Fostered strong relationships with partner attractions and heritage sites, to provide outstanding and comprehensive education for volunteers, ongoing throughout the year
  • Coordinated an intercept team to collect vital data from visitors as part of a large-scale research project to support our marketing strategy

Visitor Count

April - June 2018 April - June 2019 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19
Visitors 59,230  72,537 178,910  181,907
April - June 2018 vs. 2019 YTD - FY 18 vs. FY 19
Variance +22.4%  +1.7%


Brochure Fulfillment

April - June 2018 April - June 2019 YTD FY 18 YTD FY 19
Brochures  12,488 12,665 44,145 49,894
April - June 2018 vs. 2019 YTD - FY 18 vs. FY 19
Variance  +1.4%  +13%