Fishing. Hiking. A couple thousand cabins. Maybe even a Bigfoot. The reasons to vacation in McCurtain County are too many to list.
For nearly three years, ICG has been the agency of record for McCurtain County Tourism in Southeast Oklahoma. Our partnership with McCurtain County is the first of its kind for ICG. We’ve learned a lot, grown a lot, and have helped create a significant impact for this hidden treasure.
Earlier this year, VRBO named Broken Bow the 2nd fastest growing destination for Memorial Day and summer travel. So it’s safe to say that the place is experiencing a boom. We love it, and we love working with the tourism board.
We used data to drive strategy and evolve our campaign based on performance, changing media trends, and new regional opportunities. In a year where the tourism industry saw a nearly 31% drop in travel spending, McCurtain County soared:
Video Drives Awareness & Engagement
If we can get people to visit just once, the beautiful landscape, amazing people, and incredible cabin experience will have them dreaming of their return. From targeted streaming and digital video to social media and YouTube content, video has been a critical component of McCurtain County’s campaign to drive awareness and stay top of mind.
The perfect cabin is just a few clicks away.
With most advertising being digital or social, the campaign’s ultimate goal is conversion. Users can filter through thousands of properties to connect a cabin that really hits the spot. From there, users are sent to the websites of individual cabin owners and property management companies to seal the deal directly.
Keep 'em Coming Back with a Travel Series
To engage local businesses, we developed a travel series to keep viewers engaged and entertained. Teddy Owens, a rustic Anthony Bourdain-type character, eats, shops, and plays his way across the county, chatting up locals and making all kinds of friends along the way. Today he’s a bit of a local celebrity among residents and visitors alike.
(As of August 2021)
Pivoting for the pandemic
In March of 2020, COVID-19 was making its first wave across the country. While the statewide social distancing guidelines were in place, we proactively pivoted the campaign’s messaging. There was a fine line between promoting a safe, socially distant experience and encouraging waves of people to flock to the area. We positioned McCurtain County as the perfect tourism destination that offered a reprieve for all people’s time at home while maintaining a responsible, safe environment. A trip to McCurtain County could be a literal breath of fresh air.
Our efforts paid off. Throughout the height of the pandemic in 2020, the website saw a record amount of web traffic, and the area experienced record occupancy. Through a combination of awareness tactics and conversion-driven media, the area really grew. And we anticipate the growth to continue since more people have now experienced the area for themselves, so they are sure to be back!
Like many tourist destinations, McCurtain County experiences peak seasons when school is out and the weather is nice. Since the post-holiday Winter season is generally the slowest period, that has been an area of strategic focus. We leaned into the natural tensions and consumer perceptions of this traditionally quieter time of year and influenced travel behavior by showing what makes the area so great during the colder months.
These efforts paid off big time, making Winter 2021 look like Summer 2019.