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New Orleans Urges: 'Follow Your NOLA'
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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There are many reasons why we go on vacation. Some of us like to just get away from it all and relax. Others like to see different parts of the world, and accept destinations where they are led around on tours.

And others still like to create their own adventure. 

The last group is the group the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. wants to attract. It was announced that the city is rolling out a $4 million dollar campaign starting in May and running through August with the theme "Follow Your NOLA," targeting those travelers who enjoy showing up at a destination and creating their own adventure.

The campaign is multi-leveled, with elements of local, travel, and national outlets. Locally, it will focus on new websites and other smaller outlets. With television, the campaign plans to target select cities that typically fly into New Orleans (Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Atlanta, etc.). It plans to advertise on social media platforms like Buzzfeed and national touring magazines like Travel+Leisure. 

The digital campaign sounds robust as well. Not only is the group (with the help of NY Dentsu America) changing its website to reflect the campaign, they are also launching a "choose your own adventure" website where visitors can pick a path based on the many different offerings the city provides, all catered to the visitor's preferences.

The campaign is timed to start right after the announcement in March that New Orleans reached its second-highest visitor count ever, reaching a little over nine million. Following the trend, they hope the campaign shows that there is more to New Orleans than the French Quarter and its infamous nightlife.

This campaign could prove to be interesting, because it isn't detracting from those visitors who come only for the French Quarter and the party atmosphere, it is trying to grow its base. Those interested in the things NOLA is famous for are going to come anyway, but the audience who wants to blaze their own path are the ones the tourism group is interested in. Why? Its simple: those people who create their own experience will be very likely to share it. These people become opinion leaders and get to share activities and experiences many others probably haven't done, or at least not as often.

Attracting opinion leaders is not a bad idea at all. If the city wants to surpass its already awesome tourism number, that's a good strategy to adopt.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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