Cannes Lions

now.brussels

FAMOUSGREY BRUSSELS, Brussels / VISIT BRUSSELS / 2020

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Overview

Background

Visit.brussels, Brussels’ Tourist Board, has been working relentlessly to restore Brussels’ international reputation as a worthy city-trip destination. Numbers have been rising steadily over the past years. However, Brussels generally isn’t deemed a worthy Summer destination, nor do many people consider it worthy of visiting as much as neighboring cities like Paris or Amsterdam. Tourists that do find their way to Brussels, often end up at the same cliché tourist spots, as proven on social media.

The objective was to inspire the next generation of millennial tourists and to convince them of the fact that Brussels is much more than what they often think it is. We had to raise consideration for Brussels as a Summer destination, through content and engagement on social networks. The primary target was to get 10M visitors to Brussels by 2020 and to raise the amount of visitors in August (2018: 69% occupation of hotels).

Idea

In collaboration with Belgian telco provider Proximus, we created the first ever real-time city guide. A custom algorithm recalculates the density of people within certain zones to create live hotspots, which shows where the tourists are, and compares it to where the locals are hanging out.

It continuously generates up-to-date lists per category (eat – drink – do), within the trending zones of interest, enabling tourists to finally capture the essence and flow of the city. By following the locals in real-time, tourists always get to see what’s happening in Brussels right now.

Millennials are eminently the mobile generation. They look for inspiration on their phones and even book 60% of their trips via phone. This is why it was important to launch a web app suited for mobile, as well as a campaign suited for their favourite social media platforms that inspire them and are perfectly fit for mobile.

Strategy

We worked with telco provider Proximus to track each phone in Brussels. That way we ensured we’d have 99% of correct data to display real live activity.

But we not only tracked live locations of people, we developed a complete database with all information on places in Brussels like bars, restaurants, musea,.. We therefore used several API’s like Google MyBusiness, Facebook Places and the API of Brussels. This data was sorted by different custom made filters and was ran through our own algorithm displaying the best, trending and closeby locations.

This worked partly based on a ranking system, e.g when a location had many reviews it got ranked higher. Places that were hot were as well scored positively by the editorial team (of locals themselves). And for a location further away to show up, it needed to rank high in the general ranking, which included what was trending.

Execution

We were present during our target’s journey, making sure we optimized the number of millennial tourists in Spain and France to consider visiting Brussels, and actually doing so.

We attracted our audience abroad through:

-SoMe videos, which are their preferred media to find travel inspiration. The campaign and platform were open to all audiences, but we especially targeted French and Spanish millennials, since they are the fastest growing target.

-Influencer content from France and Spain, who had a lot of international followers too.

-Tutorial videos showing them how now.brussels works and how we revolutionized travel.

On a local level, we led visitors to the app by:

-DOOHs at the airport to promote the city and our tool.

-Contextual OOHs, guiding them through Brussels in a way that is much more true to ‘local life’, always linking them back to the web app.

-SoMe ads addressed to foreign numbers and accounts.

Outcome

We noticed a stark increase in overnight bookings on Airbnb, proving that we attracted more millennial tourists. It also proved that our insight about millennials is right: they are always on the look for ways to ‘live’ a city like a local and get inspired by social media.

Global reach: 6.2M

Total impressions: 62.5M

+200K platform visits in 175 countries.

80% of visitors came to the web app via mobile

CPC Google: 0.13€

CPC Facebook: 0.97€

+7,5% more visitors to all Summer events in Brussels compared to 2018.

Hotel occupation in July 2019: 78,3% (vs. 76% in 2018)

Hotel occupation in August 2019: 67% (vs. 69% in 2018)

+18% more nights booked on Airbnb* in July 2019, compared to 2018.

+22% more nights booked on Airbnb* in August 2019, compared to 2018.

Number of overnight visitors in 2019: 9.4M (7% increase vs. 2018)

*The millennial way to visit a city.

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