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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

With the idea of connecting to readers through various media channels, SLO Chamber, DCI group, and the city of San Luis Obispo to spread the word about midweek promotion, both in winter and summer, we created the concept of a MidWeekend promotion.

What, you ask, is a MidWeekend? It’s like a weekend, but better in some ways. The crowds in this charming Central Coast town are smaller, the hiking trails are free for roaming and the general vibe is distinctively laid back. With so many people visiting San Luis Obispo on weekends, we thought it was time to introduce a new concept: enter the MidWeekend.

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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

Outcomes

  • 1.9 MM
    Paid Media Impressions
  • $266 K
    Total Booking Revenue
  • 340 %
    ROI
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 tied into the broader “Say Hello the SLO Life” messaging for the campaign. We drafted itineraries and key messages for the promotion, pitched stories to local and regional outlets and we connected with publications, writers and influencers who’ve written about SLO in the past. Finally, we targeted media outlets that focus on deals and promotions.


Nothing beats enlisting the help of local businesses to spread the word about your campaign, so we tapped a handful of local shop owners. To help them do so, we developed a toolkit with the following assets for local partners to leverage:

  • Social & email graphics
  • A poster
  • Promotional copy guidelines

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.

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 %
    ROI
  • 70 %
    Email Open Rate
Ready to get to work?

Interested in turning your digital marketing efforts up a notch? Fill out our start a project form, and we’ll be in touch.