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Banff & Lake Louise is a National Park destination located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It is most well known for its natural scenery and breathtaking landscapes of picturesque glaciers, peaks, meadows, valleys, rivers and the infamous turquoise lakes. A true haven for nature lovers and explorers. 

Banff National Park is one of the most visited national parks in North America and Lake Louise is one of the most visited lakes in the world. The destination welcomes 4 million visitors every year, 2.2 million of which visit during the destination’s peak season between June and September. As with many destinations, the biggest challenge for Banff & Lake Louise is driving year-round tourism, as well as finding ways to disperse visitors around the 6,000 square kilometre park. 

Other challenges included transport concerns. The park can only be reached via car and once visitors are in the park, they will then tend to stay in their vehicle when exploring the area. With both challenges in mind, the main concern is not only to protect the natural ecosystem, but also the visitor experience.

To overcome these challenges, the DMO implemented 3 key strategies;

  • Transportation Strategy

Working closely with key stakeholders such as Parks Canada, the Federal Body that governs National Parks in Canada, and the Town of Banff, Banff & Lake Louise created a holistic communication strategy.

The key to the success of the park was efficiently dispersing traffic upon entry during peak season, in addition to influencing visitor behaviour. Visitors are encouraged to explore the park by foot and to enjoy a car-free experience to really make the most of what the park has to offer. Not only does this reduce the vehicle footprint, it enhances the visitor experience as they are able to immerse themselves in nature and freely explore the park. This would be a much more memorable experience rather than driving around the park. 

  • Data Strategy

Banff & Lake Louise implemented a conversion pixelling strategy in order to better understand the visitor and to be able to measure the quality of leads received from different channels. This works by adding a snippet of code to relevant web pages, to then successfully track the conversion path, whether that is booking, signing up or clicking to another page to find out more. 

From this, the DMO gains valuable data insights into what geo markets are actually booking and where destination visitors are coming from. In addition to that, the data gives further insight into key differences between primary markets, for example how booking windows and decision-making vary from market to market. This valuable data effectively allows the DMO to learn exactly when to develop and place relevant content to each specific market based ontheir booking window. It also discovered that 42% of conversions were coming from the primary markets (The US and Canada) in which they were already actively marketing.

  • Hyper Mobile Local Strategy

Banff & Lake Louise developed a pilot project launched during the peak season between June and September. This was created to enhance the visitor experience by tracking the visitor while they are in the destination, providing topical information and promoting in-destination experiences. This also helps to disperse visitors to different areas at different times. Results showed there was not one conversion during the project, but what they discovered was that while visitors did not book, this was a great leader driver and a multi-channel approach would help to improve conversion. 

Key takeaways

Stakeholder collaboration is key

Working together with local residents, towns and governing bodies ensured that Banff & Lake Louise were able to implement a successful transportation strategy which was fundamental in protecting the natural resources of the park but most importantly, enhancing the visitor experience.

Data drives success

Conversion pixelling is a fairly low cost resource however the return is almost invaluable. These data insights are highly valuable and instrumental when it comes to developing content, shaping marketing strategies and understanding your visitors.  

Responsible tourism is the only way forward

Issues that affect the environment will also have a direct impact on the visitor experience. For example, being stuck in a traffic jam to enter the park is not an enjoyable experience for the visitor or the environment. Therefore implementing strategies that encourage responsible tourism will also enhance the visitor experience so it is important to identify these issues and develop solutions.

Discussion

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