Developing a Winning DMO Grant Application & Multimedia Video Campaign – Discover Banff Tours

Eric Howden

Discover Banff Tours, a leading tour operator in Alberta, Canada, approached Blend to apply for a grant from Travel Alberta—the provincial tourism destination marketing organization.

Discover Banff Tours operates in the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park, an iconic tourism destination.  They run tours all year long (yes, even in the frigid Canadian winter!), including dogsledding, ice walks through frozen waterfalls, snowshoeing, and supporting a visitors center and sanctuary for the care and protection of wolfdogs. 

The opportunity to apply for a grant to drive more business to Alberta, was a welcome one as the economic impact of the COVID pandemic lingers.

Our team got to work brainstorming ideas, which we shared with Discover Banff Tours, to select the top idea for the grant pitch.

The application guidelines included:

  • The promotion had to promote other tours and partners, not just Discover Banff Tours. 
  • The campaign had to include traditional media as part of the overall plan.

We developed a complete strategy and applied for the grant, and our proposal was awarded $50,000 (CAD) to create and execute this promotion on behalf of Discover Banff Tours this winter season.

The Winning Idea?

The Sounds of Banff Campaign

This campaign idea centered around long and short videos to highlight the sounds of Banff in the wintertime, including snowshoes and hiking boots crunching in the snow, dogsleds, and horse-drawn sleighs gliding across the wilderness, and wolfdogs howling. These sounds juxtaposed against sounds of the city—the hectic noises of modern life.

By pairing these sounds with video, we developed a series that emphasized the blissful nature of a trip to Banff in the winter. The imagery and audio in the videos were paired with specific tours to directly connect consumers to the serenity they seek and the experiences offered in Banff.

The campaign included:

  • Long-form videos hosted on a landing page on Discover Banff Tours’ website
  • Short-form videos integrated into individual website tour listings 
  • YouTube video ads
  • Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Google discovery and remarketing advertising 
  • Radio ads and on-air promotions to win tour tickets, airing in the key market of Calgary, the closest major city to Banff. The radio buys complemented the digital ads and fulfilled the grant guidelines of a traditional media element.

Discover Banff Tours runs its own tours and is a tour reseller with partners including Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary and Kingmik Dogsledding. These partner products fit nicely into the campaign and fulfilled the stipulation that other businesses would benefit from the campaign. 

Additionally, by producing seasonally appropriate content without being tied to a unique year, the video content can be used next season to extend the value of the funding.  

Blend Marketing’s role in this campaign included:

  • Developing the idea and campaign strategy
  • Completing the grant application – including strategy, sales targets, and budget
  • Creating and editing video content supplied by Discover Banff Tours, its partners, and Travel Alberta.
  • Building the website landing page 
  • Advertising development and management for all mediums
  • Post-campaign review and data analysis

We’re thrilled that the Sounds of Banff is in the field now, and we look forward to reviewing the campaign results later this year. 

Do you have a promotion you want to launch and need help from start to finish?

Looking for help growing your tourism company? Contact us at Blend Marketing; we help tour and activity companies with $2-20 million revenue grow their businesses through a strong brand, good data, and smart marketing.

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About The Author

Eric Howden

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About The Author

Eric Howden