Visit Denver

By:Jayne Buck Issue: La Bienal de las Américas 2010 Section:City Exhibitions and Special Events Visit-Denver

The Biennial of the Americas offered Denver a unique opportunity to begin branding the Mile High City as a cultural, business, tourism and convention destination for the 35 nations that make up the Americas.

In addition to having so much in common with its neighbors, Denver also provides visitors with a convenient and easy-to-reach destination. With the tenth busiest airport in the world, occupying a central geographic location on the continent, a strong appreciation of the arts, and a high mountain climate that mimics many cities in South America, Denver is ideally positioned to become the tourism and business epicenter for the Western Hemisphere.

VISIT DENVER had previously marketed the city in parts of Canada and Mexico, but has never attempted something of this scale. So, the scheduling of the Biennial was perfect timing to launch a massive public relations media campaign — nationally and internationally.

On the public relations side, over 5,000 national and international media outlets, including a PR Newswire release were sent, and the news of the Biennial was picked up by CNBC and appeared on the outdoor news screen in Times Square. A media mailer with detailed information on the Biennial was sent to VISIT DENVER’s 100 top media contacts, and Biennial stories were pitched during desk-side media visits in New York, Chicago and Washington D.C. To encourage local press coverage of this first-time event, VISIT DENVER co-sponsored a media reception at the Denver Botanic Gardens that was attended by more than 75 local travel writers and media. Furthermore, there were international press tours from Mexico, Canada and the UK during the month-long festivities. VISIT DENVER offered tours of the Biennial, and stories were included in e-newsletters, 250,000 copies of the Official Visitors Guide to Denver, and on the Bureau’s website, Besides U.S. promotions, VISIT DENVER worked with the Colorado Tourism Office and its in-market representatives in Mexico City to distribute a press release to Mexican media that promoted Denver’s Biennial with a Denver vacation package on Travelocity. Similar Biennial city packages were promoted throughout South America.

And, as partners of the Biennial, VISIT DENVER featured the international extravaganza in the select regional drive markets of Phoenix, Dallas and Kansas City. The campaign, including multicultural outreach to Hispanic households in those cities, also included print advertising, newspaper inserts, direct mail, radio, online promotions, billboards and Google keyword buys. More than 100 Metro Denver hotels, attractions, restaurants and retailers partnered in this campaign to offer deals and discounts. As a result of the short, but targeted campaign, website traffic to increased 60 percent, reaching 1.3 million visits by the start of the event.

By promoting the Biennial through these public relations and marketing campaigns, VISIT DENVER was able to incorporate a strong international, multi-cultural element into the city’s brand, while showcasing Denver as a cultural, business and tourism destination to a huge, new, 35-nation market of the Americas.

Jayne Buck Vice President of Tourism