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Top 10 cities for summer leisure travel in 19923 (chart) Drive my car Top 10 destinations for auto travel in 1993 (chart) Great outdoors Top 10 national parks for June-August 1993 (chart) VACTIONLAND U.S.A. VACATION DESTINATIONS HEAT UP FOR SUMMER

By Published on .

A market-by-market analysis how the summer of 1993's top vacation spots are doing this summer:

Atlanta

While the city prepares to unleash a new campaign this fall tied to its Olympic duties, Atlanta has been relying on an 11-year-old theme and continuing last year's strategy.

The "Look at Atlanta now" effort, and the seasonal "Summer Spree" campaign combined to draw an estimated 6.58 million travelers and $3.28 billion in tourism dollars to the city in 1993. About 467,000 of those travelers came from abroad, according to federal estimates.

Using a $3.3 million marketing budget, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and agency McCann-Erickson Worldwide last year promoted the area's five convention centers and boosted trade advertising.

Also last year, the city for the first time created "Atlanta Now," its official guide for black visitors. This year, the guide was redesigned and repositioned as an annual publication, "Atlanta Heritage."

Atlanta now is finalizing a list of marketing changes and a new slogan scheduled for fall release as the city prepares to pitch itself to the world for the 1996 Games.

Atlantic City, N.J.

Betting a billion has garnered this city millions-of travelers.

With the theme line "We're betting a billion on it," referring to the city's boardwalk and pier renovation, the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority claims 31 million travelers in both 1992 and 1993-35% of whom visit during the summer.

Working with an $850,000 annual budget, agency McQueeny Davis Kohm & Partners, Oradell, buys no TV, and draws the city's mostly consumer base of visitors with buys in such publications as National Geographic Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Better Homes & Gardens and Ladies' Home Journal. Buys in city or regional magazines focus on markets within 300 miles.

Branson, Mo.

The city's first-ever corporate tie-in, with General Motors Corp.'s GM Card, is giving visitors in this emerging destination a chance to credit up to 10% of in-town purchases toward a new vehicle.

The company has put $1.2 million into the current six-week pilot test and will later consider its future there, said Jan Pinkerton, executive director with the Ozark Marketing Council, the city's marketing arm.

The city also will gain access to GM's customer list for two future direct mail campaigns, she said.

The effort comes on the heels of flat numbers. Through May, the city had matched 1993's figures; somewhere between that year's 5.6 million and 6 million visitors are expected in 1994.

The 1994 theme, "Thank goodness there's Branson," reflects focus group and customer perceptions of the town's wholesomeness, humor, safety and affordability.

Ads are created by Walker Advertising in Branson, and placed by Camelot Communications, Dallas.

Chicago

The Windy City accounts for 77% of all travel into Illinois, according to the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau. In 1993, 10.3 million convention and leisure travelers visited Chicago, with an estimated 10.8 million expected in 1994, up 4.9%.

The bureau and its agency, Gams, work with $350,000 to promote the theme line, "Chicago, It's easy to do" this year, which focuses heavily on attracting the convention and trade show markets, said Kate Haymaker, public relations manager.Las Vegas

Las Vegas

In a gaming town where numbers mean everything, Las Vegas is tallying some of its best ever. Visitor counts already are up 29% over 1993. And city leaders project some 7.5 million, or 25% of an anticipated 29 million 1994 travelers, will come this summer.

The openings of casino mega-attractions the Luxor, the MGM Hotel & Theme Park and Treasure Island have contributed to tourism, said Rob Dondero, account supervisor with R&R Advertising, which handles the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority's $18 million account. Some $3 million of that budget is spent on summer marketing targeting Phoenix, southern California, San Francisco and Texas.

The TV theme, "Where in the world would you go if there were no Las Vegas?" focuses on dining, entertainment, theme parks and gaming. Print work features "A world of excitement" and "One amazing place."

"Certain hotels do market to families, but gaming is our No. 1 priority," Mr. Dondero said.Los Angeles

Los Angeles

The earthquake changed more than L.A.'s cityscape. It changed the way the city markets itself. What had been a $450,000 marketing budget exclusively for convention and meeting trade was bolstered this April with a $3 million federal grant to help the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau promote leisure travel from across the West.

Meanwhile in suburban Anaheim, Disneyland remains a major draw for tourists.

Working with Davis, Ball & Colombatto, Los Angeles, the city now uses spot market TV and newspaper buys to air its new theme, "Play L.A." In-state travel, damaged by the quake, had accounted for most of Los Angeles' 25.1 million 1993 travelers, whose expenditures topped $9 billion. International tourists account for some 20% of all travel, but spend more than domestic travelers.

Last year growth was flat from the year before, with 24.9 million visitors expected for 1994, down 0.8%.

In the second quarter the city also began participating in Travel File, a new CD-ROM-based selling tool geared toward travel agents and operators.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Myrtle Beach is going national and country.

The city "Where you can have it all" has boosted its media budget 10% this year to $1 million, said Robert Pettiway, VP-marketing with the city's Chamber of Commerce, which makes the buys.

Rackley Graphic Design Ranch handles creative.

The increase has paid off: ad-related inquiries for the first six months are up 21.5% from last year's levels to 198,032.

Also as part of new marketing effort, the city is using more national cable buys, family service publications and newspaper ads in nearby markets, he said.

Seven campaigns now run year-round, instead of nine months, and encompass bus tours and entertainment, including a new effort focusing on country music.

New York

Conventions are big business in the Big Apple, and get the most attention from the New York Convention & Visitors Bureau. The theme line, "We make New York easy" broke this May, and bureau officials hope to build on 1993's 24 million visitors.

Agency Warren/Kremer/CMP works to boost the city's business activity, while the state handles consumer marketing-to the tune of $2.2 million.

New this year: limited TV in the Northeast; and a free standing insert and direct mail program to the Northeast this spring that drew upward of 500,000 requests for travel guides. Also new is this summer's "New York '94," a co-op program between businesses and the city's Department of Economic Development to promote summer leisure travel packages, including dinner, theater and hotel accommodations, with American Express Co. as the major business partner in the program.

Orlando

Mickey's one hot mouse. In 1992 and 1993 alike, Orlando welcomed 13.5 million visitors, according to the Orlando & Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Hotel occupancy through May slipped slightly to 74%, from 76% last year. The city, whose budget is not disclosed, does not advertise on TV, instead spending on newspapers east of the Mississippi River, and AAA Home & Away, Better Homes & Gardens, Brides & Your New Home and Family Circle magazines. Ad creative is handled in-house; buys are done by the Media Department Plus. The theme line is "Orlando, you never outgrow it."

New this year: a project with The Orlando Sentinel as part of its "Destination Florida" profile for America Online. The interactive service offers information on the city and its attractions.

Phoenix

Undaunted by daytime temperatures that can top 110 degrees, vacationers are burning rubber to Phoenix this summer. Hotel and resort operators anticipate occupancy rates of 70% or greater for the second year in a row.

Most summer hotel guests come from neighboring states and from Phoenix itself.

"A good number of local citizens move out of the house and into a hotel room for the weekend to enjoy the outdoor amenities that these resorts offer," said David Radcliffe, CEO of the Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The only promotion the bureau does in the summer is a local "Valley Pass" offering coupon savings to area attractions. Rosenfeld, Sirowitz, Humphrey & Strauss is the agency.

San Diego

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau spent about half its $2.3 million annual budget in May and June promoting members' discount incentives.

New this season: 250,000 copies of a coupon booklet offering 99 cost-saving offers. Another promotion targets visitors from Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Sacramento, Calif., with "San Diego Wildcard," an incentive package with tickets for Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park at a 40% savings.

Ads run in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., Seattle and Las Vegas, targeting the 25-to-54-year-old market with incomes starting at $50,000. Chapman/Warwick handles the general and co-op newspaper campaign, themed, "San Diego. More than just a change of scenery."

San Francisco

The Moscone Center's expansion in mid-1992 has helped the city attract more and bigger groups, said Lovester Law, VP-marketing for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. Although 1993 figures aren't yet available, Mr. Law said he expects an increase from the 6.8% hike in visitor- and convention-related spending seen in 1992, when 3 million visitors spent an estimated $2.136 billion.

This fall, the bureau is set to launch its first national TV campaign, from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. The $1.5 million to $2 million "Local Time" effort will emphasize San Francisco sights beyond the well-known landmarks, Mr. Law said.

The spot will run on the Turner Broadcasting System, supported by ads in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure and Gourmet. The campaign is a co-op effort with American Express Co., United Airlines and Dollar Rent A Car Systems.

Washington

With a record 19.9 million visitors in 1993, the nation's capital lives up to the theme line, "America's playground." Those numbers were up 3.6% from 1992, partly due to more conventions and the Clinton inauguration, according to the Washington, D.C., Convention & Visitors Authority. Officials hope fewer conventions and poor weather this year won't cut visitation.

The authority spent about $1.85 million on marketing the destination as a convention site, with TV, direct mail and newspaper ads in the Mid-Atlantic region and abroad, handled by Goldberg Marchesano Kohlman. The agency also handles consumer ads for the D.C. Committee to Promote Washington.

Williamsburg, Va.

Using a $100,000 budget backed up with $150,000 in co-op advertising, the Williamsburg Convention & Visitors Bureau this year is promoting the theme "Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown-Virginia's historic triangle." Ads are created by Vew Arts and placed by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

So far, summer business is up 5% to 10%.

Also, area attractions and the cities united for a campaign themed "Revolutionary fun," featuing a 30-second direct response TV spot and an FSI, running in nearby markets. An accompanying 30-minute infomercial offers a single package price for a family of four. Creative is by DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, with the Busch Media Group, handling media buying; both also handle Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.National parks

The allure of the native lands helped draw 59.78 million visitors to the 51 national parks last year (up 1.8% from 1992). So far this year, attendance is flat, but the National Park Service has no plans to begin marketing any of its vast holdings.

The first National Park Week held in May raised nearly $600,000 for the National Park Foundation, said a spokeswoman with the foundation, a non-profit private group that promotes the parks.

As part of the week's activities, several companies sponsored a special New York Times Magazine advertising section. Sponsors included Best Western International, Charles Schwab & Co., Chrysler Corp.'s Jeep line, NEC Corp, Kraft General Foods, Target Stores and Miller Brewing Co.'s Sharp's non-alcohol beverage.

Also United Media funded a brochure promoting the parks, featuring the "Peanuts" character Snoopy.

This roundup was written and directed by Jeffery D. Zbar, with contributions from Leslie Bayor, Alan Salomon, Jeff Smyth and Doug Gantenbein.

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