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Updated: July 30, 2019

$3.7M tourism marketing campaign targets late-season visitors

acadia park scene Photo / Laurie Schreiber Visitors take in the view from the top of Acadia National Park’s Perpendicular Trail. The Maine Office of Tourism has new marketing initiatives in the works to boost visitation.

The Maine Office of Tourism is launching a $3.7 million marketing campaign to attract late-summer and shoulder-season visitors. 

The campaign will expand television and digital marketing and encourage requests for the association’s travel planner, "Maine Invites You."

Steve Lyons, Maine Office of Tourism director, told Mainebiz the initiatives are designed to leverage peak summer and fall visitation. 

“Summer and fall are the peak seasons for visitation in Maine,” he said. “We’ll capitalize on that and add additional marketing and promotion funds.”

Travelers are planning their trips within a shorter period of time than they once did — and Maine is looking to act on that. 

“When they want to take a trip, sometimes they’re making a plan only a couple of days before they leave,” he said. “As result, we want to make sure we’re in the a market all the time.”

Typically, the agency’s marketing campaigns run heavily in the spring and lighter through the summer, and then pick up in late summer in time for fall trips. 

“Now, with visitors’ shorter planning time frames, we want to make sure we’re in the market much more heavily on a regular basis throughout the entire summer,” Lyons said.

Expanded channels

In addition to ongoing print, broadcast and digital advertising, the new initiatives include:

• New TV advertising in Boston, Hartford, New York and Atlanta. The ads, which launched earlier this month, will run through mid-September.

• Expanded use of other digital media channels (display, mobile, video, native).

• Additional billboards and commuter rail advertising in Boston, New York and Atlanta.

• An additional "flight" of National Public Radio advertising.  

• A lead generation program encouraging orders of "Maine Invites You." The agency typically sends the planner to anyone who requests it; the new program proactively generates requests through partner websites. 

• Expanding paid promotion on Facebook and Instagram by about 30%, beginning in August.

• New functionality for, designed to enhance access to business listings, particularly on mobile, which accounts for about 60% of site visits.

Visitation is up

The agency doesn’t have a target number for increasing visitors.

“Our campaigns have been very successful in driving first-time visitation,” Lyons said. “We hope that will continue.”

So far this year, the tourism season is ahead of 2018.

“We’re ahead last year in state park visits in the first five months of the year,” he said. “Taxable sales are about 6.75% ahead of last year. So we’re off to a great start.”

Given workforce shortages, can tourist businesses support more visits?

“A number of program are being implemented to help bring more people to the workforce,” Lyons said. He cited, for example, the Maine Tourism Association’s development of a staffing service to recruit workers from other states and help seasonal businesses form partnerships to share workers; and HospitalityMaine’s new hospitality apprenticeship program.

“We do think that there will be enough workers to take care of visitors,” he added.

Acadia's busiest day in history

The campaign comes on the heels of record visitation at Acadia National Park during the July 4 holiday weekend, when emergencies and congestion swamped park staff, according to a news release.

Adam Gibson, an Acadia National Park social scientist, said July 5 was the busiest day in the park’s history, with more than 35,000 visits for the day, an estimated 15% increase over the prior record set on July 3, 2017, and a 33% increase over the average busiest day for the last eight years. 

On July 5, the park dispatch center fielded 755 radio calls and 20 emergency calls, while park staff responded to four simultaneous distress calls that tapped nearly all rescue resources. Cadillac Summit Road closed three times, and the summit broke its own visitation with a record 600 cars competing for 157 parking spots.

An additional 364 cars were turned away by park staff, who closed the steep mountain road for safety. Access roads and parking lots in other areas of Acadia were closed at certain times, too.

Starting July 29, the park began an experiment to have a dedicated bus and RV lane at the Sand Beach Entrance Station. This is a short-term experiment to see if that type of lane might be efficient as the park plans for the future. There will be plenty of signs as vehicles approach the entrance station to direct vehicles into the proper lane. Once vehicles exit the Sand Beach Entrance Station, all vehicles can use both travel lanes as needed.

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July 30, 2019
Use the 3.7M for broadband to the unserved peninsulas and islands and lakeshores and they will stay longer. These are the people who write about Maine-the-Third-World-country. Those ad dollars will be of great benefit to the radio and TV stations in NY, Boston, Atlanta and Hartford. What a crime that our legislators won't get behind real funding for the ConnectME Authority's efforts.
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