Tourism Toronto welcomes visitors to its land

The tourism co has launched a holiday campaign and app providing details on the location of giant snowmen and deals on city attractions.

Reports of Toronto being the least liked Canadian city came out of the woodworks recently. According to a poll conducted by Leger Marketing, 19% of the 2,345 respondents across the country have an off-putting disposition toward the Ontario city.

However, Tourism Toronto has been putting in the extra time and effort to make its visitors and even residents excited about the city.

Recently, the company launched an inviting holiday campaign, created and planned by its agency of record CP+B, in a number of Southern Ontario markets including Ottawa, Kingston, London and Hamilton, Andrew Weir, VP of communications, Toronto Tourism tells MiC.

The “Toronto Land” campaign centers around a dedicated website that contains information and discount offers on attractions to see, places to eat and shopping hotspots in Toronto, says Weir.

Visitors to the site can receive a “Saver Wristband” that will provide them with 15% off shopping and eating as well as up to 20% discounts on select attractions. To receive a wristband, the visitor or resident must do one of three things – book a hotel through the website, share information about the holiday campaign with their friends on Facebook or walk to the nearest participating hotel and pick one up from the reception desk.

There is a charitable component to the campaign, says Weir, in the form of 20 seven-and-a-half-foot fiber glass snowmen. The artist-designed figures are placed in different areas of the city, including Nathan Phillips Square, Roy Thompson Hall and the Distillery District. The tourism co will donate $2 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation for every uploaded photograph taken of the giant snowmen, and on Dec. 20, the CN Tower will light up to represent the amount of money (of its $50,000 goal) raised for the foundation, says Weir.

To complement the all-encompassing site, the tourism co enlisted Discover Anywhere Mobile to develop its “See Toronto” app, where all of the offers and information are provided for users. The app is available for iPhone and iPad and it will be launched on Android in December and Windows phones in January 2012.

Last year, the city of Toronto received close to 10 million visitors – two million from the US, six million from different parts of Canada and just shy of two million from countries outside of North America, says Weir.

“I expect the numbers to hold about steady…maybe grow a bit more this year,” he says. “Residents will find [the app] useful. It’s a good portal that puts a lot of information in one spot. But the real target here is [out of city] visitors.”

This is why the tourism company decided to spend most of its advertising dollars on the markets outside of Toronto, with transit shelter ads in cities across Southern Ontario and radio spots only in Ottawa, Kingston, Kitchener and London. There will also be ads on Facebook and on websites such as Chatelaine, Sweetspot, and Trip Advisor.