Royal Djurgården is Scandinavia’s most visited attraction. In normal times it receives over 15 million visitors each year. That’s more than the Great Wall of China or even Disneyland Paris. At least before COVID-19 struck. But how do you market a place during a pandemic?
Located on an island in central Stockholm, Royal Djurgården offers more than 55 attractions including museums, restaurants, hotels and an amusement park. Not forgetting the zoological gardens with wide-open spaces for walking and picnicking, and the waters surrounding the island for all manner of watersports. In 2017 we, UP THERE EVERYWHERE, created an umbrella brand for all attractions, big and small. This was the first step to market the place as a whole.
In 2020, COVID-19 struck and brought an abrupt halt to most travel and destination tourism.
Suddenly Royal Djurgården was facing a season without any of the four million foreigners who visit in an average year. A 20km travel restriction imposed by the Swedish government meant the majority of domestic tourists were also prevented from visiting. A bleak picture for Scandinavia’s #1 attraction.
To save Royal Djurgården our mission was clear: attract as many visitors as possible from local areas.
We decided to use social media advertising, primarily Facebook and Instagram, because we could target ads geographically for maximum reach inside the 20km zone.
The ads were aimed at Stockholmers aged 25-50 and included three links to online booking. The campaign was broken down into four categories: short visit, day visit, overnight visit, and weekend visit. Defining these categories meant we could choose what to promote with each one, be it hotels, restaurants, museums or other attractions. We tweaked the Facebook ads according to which were getting the most clicks each day.
We created campaign themes, each consisting of three carousel ads with different combinations of attractions and offers. We deployed these in an A/B test manner to discover which were the most effective offers for each target group. We rapidly learned that Covid-related info increased click-through levels.
We ran the Facebook ads for three weeks. During this time we also placed print ads over two weekends. Print ads are a great way to boost campaigns. But, while Facebook ads can be targeted to give a well-defined result, print ads are more of a shot in the dark. It was, therefore, pleasing to see a peak in clicks when the print ads were published in Svenska Dagbladet and Mitti; two of Stockholm’s daily newspapers.
The campaign was a great success, increasing visits to the Royal Djurgården website by 456%.
The campaign’s unique reach was 521,000 with a frequency of 3.28. We had a click-through rate of 2.05%, which is double the industry average of 0.9%.
Losing millions of foreign and domestic tourists has had a severe impact on Royal Djurgården. By acting swiftly and decisively, we reduced that impact with a campaign designed to boost the number of local visitors. As a result, many attractions have survived the pandemic and are looking forward to a covid-free 2021.