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San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo (SLO) MidWeekend Paid Strategy Case Study

A multifaceted partnership led to more visitors discovering the charms of a California Central Coast town during a traditionally “slow” part of the week during offseason.

San Luis Obispo (SLO) MidWeekend Paid Strategy Case Study

Attracting Midweek Visitors

In collaboration with Noble Studios, the City of San Luis Obispo and its various marketing and public relations partners set out to create a promotion that would help incentivize midweek travel during a historically slow time of year. Together, we created the idea of the MidWeekend and collaborated on how we could help spread the awareness and consideration of SLO as the perfect place for travelers to enjoy a MidWeekend getaway.

To sweeten the deal, we offered visitors $100 in spending cash, which was good at local retailers if they booked within the parameters of the promotion. All they had to do was swing by the Visitor Center during their trip to redeem their gift. Not only did this entice people to come to town during an otherwise slow time of year, but it encouraged them to shop locally.

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Three Key Challenges

  1.  Convince travelers to visit SLO during a weekday or extend their stay
  2. Encourage local businesses to participate
  3. Boost hotel occupancy during historically slower months


  • 1.9 MM
    Paid Media Impressions
  • $266 K
    Total Booking Revenue
  • 340 %
cyclist in san luis obispo

Convincing Travelers to Stick Around for the Midweek

With the idea of the MidWeekend established, it was time to get to work. We created campaign assets that tied into the broader brand campaign creative strategy of “Say Hello to the SLO Life ” while incorporating subtle nods within the messaging that alluded to the perks of visiting SLO midweek. We drafted itineraries and key messages for the promotion and worked with the city’s various public relations partners to pitch the promotion to local and regional outlets and publications, writers and influencers who had written about SLO in the past. We also secured media placements with outlets that reached travelers looking for deals and promotions.

We enlisted the support of local stakeholders and encouraged them to use their own owned channels to help bring additional awareness to the promotion as well. To help them do so, we developed a toolkit with the following assets for local hotel partners to leverage:

  • Social & email graphics
  • A poster
  • Promotional copy guidelines
slo midweekend display ads
SLO MidWeek single image ad
slo midweekend poster design

A Strong Focus on Email Marketing

The MidWeekend promotion included an email component to reach travelers who had already shown an interest in San Luis Obispo and may have even already visited the destination previously. We sent one general announcement email to our list and one more-focused Amtrak deal email, which was distributed only to contacts who engaged with recent emails. As expected, the Amtrak email outperformed average newsletters (70% open rate vs. 33%) and indicates that there is an opportunity to explore a more robust and personalized email strategy moving forward.

slo midweekend email marketing

With paid efforts, we integrated midweek messaging into SLO’s existing paid media plan, reaching a series of targeted audiences, including outdoor, relaxation, wine/dine, the 65+ and remarketing audiences. The bulk of the targeting was done on Facebook, Instagram, display ads and Pinterest, sending interested parties to the SLO MidWeekend landing page to access details about the offer.

slo social ads

Awareness + Room Nights Booked = A Win-Win

As a result, the MidWeekend campaign garnered 2.7 million impressions and a total readership of more than 285,000 readers. A total of 380 room nights were booked from these efforts. When surveyed, 90 percent of participants felt they were more aware of San Luis Obispo’s midweek travel options than before.

The results of this integrated campaign were quite impressive, showing that the midweek can compete with the weekend when positively positioned. With so many participants willing to take another midweek trip in the future, this campaign should serve SLO well for years to come.

  • 1.9 MM
    Paid Media Impressions
  • 266 K
    Total Booking Revenue ($)
  • 340 %
  • 70 %
    Email Open Rate
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