US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism details plans to keep its “Finger On The Pulse” to entice visitors to the territory

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Deputy Commissioner Chantal Figueroa and the Department’s marketing team unveiled its updated marketing strategy and focus for the balance of the year to participants of the 17th Annual USVI Destination Symposium held at the Wyndham Sugar Bay on St. Thomas on Tuesday morning.

The marketing team’s presentation, with the theme “Keeping Our Finger on the Pulse”, detailed the Department’s focus on research and trends that have been used to develop its tourism marketing strategies for the coming year. The team scoured economic data, travel industry research, feedback from tourism partners and brand marketing trends to develop its strategy and also interviewed visitors on each island to formulate the most salient points that will resonate with potential visitors moving forward. Commissioner Nicholson-Doty outlined the increased focus on trend data and research as a key element of the decision making process for the marketing strategy decision making process.

“As the U.S. economy begins to recover, our ability to grow market share and ensure long-term success for the Territory’s tourism industry will be dependent on how closely we can follow and respond to trends in the marketplace,” said Commissioner Nicholson-Doty, “Our marketing strategy has been carefully developed based on this approach.”

Moving forward, the Department will continue to focus its resources on the key geographic feeder markets for travel to the USVI based on data from airlines that provide service to the Territory. Activities will include media and travel agent outreach in addition to direct-to-consumer experiential events that reach a highly targeted segment of potential visitors with a measurable bookable offer. Markets in the Midwest and Texas, as well as select international markets, such as Canada and Scandinavia, will be a focus for the coming months.

Lifestyle positioning will also continue to be important component of the Department’s marketing strategy, with dedicated campaigns targeting the Bridal/Romance, Dive, Family, Meetings & Incentives and Mature segments.

In addition to traditional advertising and public relations initiatives, the Department also outlined plans to expand the Territory’s presence on social media and digital channels. Following the launch of its new Web site last year – – the marketing team introduced several enhancements to maximize content, “searchability” (SEO) and ease of use. Moving forward, the site will feature RFP functionality for the bridal market, be translated into Danish and become ADA compliant.

To drive online conversation and positive word-of-mouth about travel to the Territory, the marketing team will extend the destination’s presence on social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter. On DOT’s Facebook page —, the marketing team will incorporate “saplets” that will allow fans to share USVI cultural points of interest such as favorite recipes, stamps and plans for upcoming visits. This tool will provide an added mechanism to increase USVI conversations on Facebook.

On Twitter, the Department will promote its Twitter handle – @USVIMockoJumbie – to host special sweepstakes and “insider offers” to generate buzz among travelers using the social networking channel. The marketing team will also utilize its existing online consumer conversation monitoring tools to conduct outreach to influential bloggers in each key market and niche segment.

Also new for the balance of the year, the Department will begin to test “cutting edge” ways to reach potential visitors based on trends in the marketplace. Among them will be the use of Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) that can be scanned and read by iPhones and other smart phones to direct travelers to promotional offers or Web sites.

The emerging social networking site, Foursquare will also be tested as a means to reach potential visitors.

Lastly, the Department will capitalize on the emerging trend of Flash Mobs to create buzz in key markets. A Flash Mob is a guerilla marketing technique that consists of a spontaneous gathering that has been choreographed to grab attention for a specific message or brand. The marketing team demonstrated an example of how a flash mob might be used to promote travel to the Territory. Specific details are being determined.

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