We are honored to have been recently recognized, along with our client, the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, as a Finalist for a Destiny Award from the U.S. Travel Association Destinations Council. Our partnership received the recognition for our “Hay Now” campaign in the category of Branding and Integrated Marketing Campaign: Destination Marketing Budget $1 million to $2.5 million. The campaign was developed and launched in 2017.
“The “Hay Now” campaign was designed to capture the spirit of the destination: a mountain community with unique experiences at every turn and friendly faces ready to welcome visitors in,” said Andy Windham, SVP Director of Client Strategy for Crawford Strategy. “We love this community and know how special this area is. We are proud to play a part in bringing new people to visit every day. Our team is thrilled to see Haywood County receive the recognition it deserves.”
More than just a tagline or a punchline, Hay Now is an invitation for visitors to experience what makes Haywood, well, Haywood. The campaign included website content, digital advertising, print advertising and promotional items, including creative t-shirts sold at the Haywood County Visitor’s Center. The integrated strategy has led to an increase in organic traffic to the website of 105 percent over the previous year and, more importantly, an 11 percent increase in accommodations tax collection compared to last year.
The ESTO Awards judging panel explained that the “Hay Now” campaign was named a finalist because they “…loved the idea of “Hay Now!” as a rallying cry for locals. [Haywood County] used smart, simple and creative tactics to promote their objectives. ‘Hay Now!’ was unique and own able.” The judges also loved the custom t-shirts and found the method of digital outreach incredibly compelling. They said the campaign was scalable in its content and delivered extraordinary numbers for the website.
“It is a true honor to be recognized among so many top-notch competitors by the U.S. Travel Association,” said Lynn Collins, President of Haywood County TDA. “We are proud of the work we’ve done with Crawford Strategy to position Haywood County as a unique, fun and quirky destination. This campaign has been incredibly successful in bringing more visitors to the area and helping to drive economic benefit for our entire community.”
This was the first time a Crawford Strategy client has entered the ESTO Awards. Campaigns from across the country were honored at the 2018 ESTO Conference held August 11-14, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Haywood County was a finalist in the category along with Wichita, Kansas and Buffalo, New York., who received the top prize. The Destiny Awards recognize U.S. Travel destination members for excellence and creative accomplishment in destination marketing and promotion at the local and regional level; and foster the development of imaginative and innovative destination marketing promotion programs and activities.