Visit South Walton Zehnder Case Study
When Zehnder began working with Visit South Walton in 2012, the destination had recently changed its name from The Beaches of South Walton. The client needed a strong new message that elevated the area’s profile while advancing the conversation about South Walton’s 16 distinct beach neighborhoods. Establishing brand and destination awareness was a key focus of Zehnder’s marketing efforts from 2012 through 2014.
As the destination has evolved, so have our marketing challenges. The amount of travelers visiting South Walton has skyrocketed in recent years — clear evidence that our original objectives have been met. Currently, Zehnder’s main goal is to help the Visit South Walton team attract highly affluent travelers to South Walton during all times of the year, not just during the popular spring and summer seasons. One of the main ways we do this is through promotion of the destination’s “beyond the beach” attractions such as dining, shopping, and ecosploring.
Zehnder’s brand activation team has delivered the South Walton experience to target audiences in key markets. Our agency has promoted South Walton at highly acclaimed events such as Cattle Baron’s Ball (Dallas), Music City Food + Wine (Nashville), and BlogHer. Our “perfect beach” booth delivers the sounds, scent, and scenery of the beach to consumers as soon as they step inside. Celebrity chefs, digital vending machines, giveaways, and South Walton swag keep event attendees eager to learn more about the destination.
We keep South Walton at the top of travelers’ minds — even when they’re not at the destination — through engaging, inspiring digital content. Social media messaging, web copy, blog posts, search and display ads, and email blasts help travelers feel like part of the South Walton community from afar. To date, we’ve helped grow the brand’s social media presence to more nearly 400,000 users and engagement levels are at an all-time high.
One of the most daunting parts of travel is planning the trip. Zehnder has helped relieve the stress of traveling to South Walton by providing trip-planners with resources such as the annual Visitor Guide and the Find Your Perfect Beach mobile app. Additionally, we’ve undertaken specific print and digital projects for business meeting planners and brides-to-be.
"Shoulder season" (fall and winter) visitation increased by 137% since 2006.
The total economic impact of South Walton tourism equals nearly 3 billion dollars, with an 8% increase in economic impact from 2015 to 2016.
In 2015, aided awareness levels of South Walton increased by 10%.
Our work for South Walton has received dozens of industry awards, including the Henry Flagler Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in Florida tourism marketing.