Kearney Visitors Bureau helps visitors to Kearney, NE find events, restaurants, lodging, and things to do. While over 600,000 Sandhill Cranes migrated along the Platte River near Kearney each year, outside of extreme birders, most of the states surrounding Nebraska hardly took notice. Kearney decided they needed to change in 2018 and made a big push to attract out of state residents to come to Nebraska… starting in the middle of February.
M2 was tasked with creating a digital campaign to convince people to visit the middle of Nebraska in what is traditionally the second coldest month of the year. We needed to create awareness of the crane migration to non-avid birders and make it attractive to drive at least 4 hours, spend the night in Kearney and wake up around 5 am to see these birds in person. Kearney’s goal was to receive 100 birding brochure requests and increase their lodging tax by 2% compared to 2017.
We ran Facebook and Instagram ads to feature articles in the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Wall Street Journal. We re-targeted people who read the articles to Sandhill Cranes videos on Facebook and Instagram, to guest-blogger written posts on the Kearney Visitors Bureau website, and to more details and testimonials. We were able to control 8 points of contact through Facebook and Instagram – giving our targets a plethora of education and influencing their decision to book a trip.
During this four-month promotion the Kearney Visitors Bureau received over 291 brochure requests – nearly tripling our goal. Buffalo County, of which Kearney is the county seat, saw a lodging tax increase of over 10% during this time period – 5x our goal. It was the greatest increase in lodging tax revenue the area had seen in over a decade.
The 2018 Kearney Birding Campaign won a Prism Award for Paid Social Media – Small Business at the 2019 Lincoln AMA Prism Awards.