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Visit North Carolina wins three HSMAI Adrian Awards

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) recently honored Visit North Carolina during its 60th annual Adrian Awards, a prestigious global travel marketing competition. Awards include a Gold each for an integrated advertising campaign and television spot and a Bronze for a website.

HSMAI’s Adrian Awards recognize excellence in travel brand campaigns, including strategy, execution and results. The 2016 contest generated more than 1,200 entries from around the world – one of the most competitive in history.

The two Gold Adrian Awards recognize the Visit North Carolina Vacation Big campaign the first Gold for the overall campaign, and the second for the television spot, The Scroll. The Vacation Big campaign aimed to demonstrate to travelers that North Carolina doesn’t do anything small; here, they’ll Vacation Big with unique places to visit and totally unforgettable experiences.

The Vacation Big campaign included:

  • TV as the primary vehicle for driving awareness
  • Digital media and content for a call to action
  • Media relations to further promote travel motivators and destinations in-market
  • Social media for one-to-one conversation and expanded voice and reach

Results of the campaign included:

  • Post-campaign ad awareness in targeted markets saw 43 percent and 24 percent increases
  • Website traffic grew by 83 percent in targeted markets during the campaign
  • Digital video clicks exceeded the industry benchmark by 107 percent
  • The social media campaign generated 10.2 million impressions and 19,543 engagements
  • Over 518,000 incremental trips were generated that wouldn’t have taken place without campaign, including 305,000 incremental overnight trips

The Bronze Adrian Award goes to the unique Project 543, a postcard-style website dedicated to North Carolina’s one-of-a-kind experiences, and named for the roughly 543 miles separating its eastern- and western-most towns. The site first launched in 2012, but growth in mobile traffic, the proliferation of visually inspired social media and learnings about user behavior revealed the opportunity to redesign and enhance Project 543 in early 2016. With a mobile-first, infinite-scroll layout, multiple view settings to customize the user experience, easy social sharing and mapping of each posts primary and surrounding destinations, Project 543 creates a user experience as inspirational as the content and visuals on the site.

Project 543

Since the redesign of Project543.com went live in January 2016, the site has seen the following results:

  • Site traffic is up 65 percent year over year
  • Mobile traffic is up 129 percent year over year
  • Traffic from outside North Carolina is up 73 percent, reaching more out-of-state visitors with travel inspiration


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