Visit Winona has been honored by the Upper Midwest Convention and Visitor Bureau Association, bringing home the organization’s Bruce McDaniel Bureau Innovation Award from the annual conference in Fargo, North Dakota. The award is designed to recognize inventive marketing strategies in the tourism realm, with finalists each sharing a presentation about their program at a luncheon and then attendees of the conference voting on their favorite to determine the winner.
Visit Winona’s Facebook Live series – in which each week the marketing team goes live from whatever location Facebook followers vote for – was a finalist for the Innovation Award due to the program’s industrious use of Facebook Live and follower voting to generate more than 330,000 impressions, 182,000 views, and 48,200 engagements during the past year at virtually no cost at all. Because 85 percent of Visit Winona’s Facebook followers do not live in Winona, the concept intends to invigorate Winona’s fans by reminding them of places that they love and showing them other places in the area that they may not be familiar with.
Visit Winona marketing specialist Cynthya Porter presented the marketing campaign at the conference, sharing the series’ metrics and showing a compilation film of Live episodes in which Facebook followers had the team climb Sugar Loaf and Winona’s new ice park wall, paddle the backwaters, milk a cow, visit Bloedow Bakery, college campuses, music festivals, and more. Past recipients of the award include visitor bureaus from metro areas such as Omaha, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and the Quad Cities. The smallest organization in this year’s competition, Visit Winona won the audience poll with nearly 60 percent of the vote. The Facebook Live series was previously awarded a Tourism Marketing Award by Explore Minnesota Tourism at its annual conference in February.