Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury *File photo
Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury *File photo

A major new drive to embrace digital technology is already beginning to pay dividends for the tourism industry.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) has pumped large sums of money into an online marketing campaign in the US and Canada to raise awareness of the island’s proximity to the East Coast.

It has also begun using Internet-based research data to see how successful ad campaigns are with Internet users and in which parts of the world they are more popular.

The results, which are based on searches, show that New York is the top market for Bermuda, followed by Boston, Arlington (Virginia), Orlando and Philadelphia.

London comes in at sixth place while Zurich, Switzerland and Santiago, Chile are also surprise entrants in the top 25.

In the first quarter of 2014 barely more than 50 per cent of the media advertising was digital.

During the second quarter this figure jumped to 82 per cent.

And it has involved new online banners, a host of new ‘landing pages’ as well as more than 220,000 e-mails to consumers and travel agents in the US and Canada.

BTA boss Bill Hanbury said: “We have gone hard at digital media and we have spent more money on the digital side of the media business.

“That is where we think the media is going.”

Its summer ‘Be Campaign’, which finishes at the end of June, attracted 69 millions impressions and more than 112,000 clicks.

A total of 87 per cent of people who visited the site were new visitors.

Mr Hanbury said: “That is very powerful medicine for us.

“We think we have made some really good progress in this area.

“And it shows that there are new audiences out there that could come to Bermuda.

“But it also creates a challenge of getting them to come here.”

The BTA’s marketing strategy has also included print adverts in the New York Times and Toronto Star as well as travelweek.com

Promotional adverts have also been plastered on the sides of buses in downtown Manhattan.

Mr Hanbury said the BTA would continue  to work with the New York City weblog, The Gothamist, to raise awareness of the Bermuda product.

And he announced yesterday that at the start of June the authority had just hired a new PR firm, Turner PR.

He said: “We are very excited to be working with them. We believe they are going to some great work and are on island now working on a new video.”