Alexandria's Advertising Campaign Shows $4 to $1 Return on Investment for the City March 27, 2012

CONTACT: Claire Mouledoux, or 703-652-5367

Alexandria's Advertising Campaign
"Shop, Dine and Celebrate on America's Historic Main Streets"
Shows $4 to $1 Return on Investment for the City

Alexandria, VA -- The Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association reports a $4 to $1 return on investment to the City of Alexandria in tax revenue for their full page magazine advertising campaign. Visitor spending jumped 16.8% in a period when visitor spending increased an average of 7% in Virginia, dramatically outpacing regional neighborhoods. Based on this strong return on investment, $100,000 in additional funds were earmarked in the City Manager's budget to increase the reach of this campaign.

In 2008, ACVA developed new advertising along the theme, "Shop, Dine and Celebrate on America's Historic Main Streets." A new logo incorporating a feather quill into an 18th-century-style script was also introduced at this time

The advertising was developed after extensive research to identify a brand position that would pass three important tests:
1. Authentically represent Alexandria
2. Motivate travel, and
3. Distinguish Alexandria from its competitors

The research began with one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholders. During the second phase, 1400 online surveys were completed by leisure and business travelers. Phase three focused on community input and almost 400 citizens completed the survey.

The research concluded that advertising would best attract visitors to Alexandria by focusing on:
• Historical ambience
• Showcase for 18th and 19th century architecture
• Charm
• Great restaurants
• Interesting mix of retail shops

Magazine advertising appears in northeast regional editions of Cooking Light, Real Simple, Town & Country, Travel + Leisure, Elle Décor, Southern Living, Preservation Magazine, American Heritage and AAA World. Headlines used in the ads include "The Artful Getaway: More of what you love for less" for the fall, "Wonder-Land is closer than you think" for the holidays, and "Charm-Ville is closer and more affordable than you think" for the spring.

In 2010, a third party research company measured the return on investment to the City. Within six months, the advertising created $4 of City tax revenue for every $1 invested. The study found the advertising generated $40 million in visitor spending and motivated 88,000 trips. 1.4 million households in target markets were aware of the advertising.

In 2011, advertising drove 800,000 visits to the City's tourism website,, an increase of 100% over 2008. The website is expected to reach 1 million visits in 2012.

About the Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association
The Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association (ACVA) is a private nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to generate tourism and conventions that increase revenues and promote the City of Alexandria, Virginia, and its assets. With 3.3 million visitors annually, visitor spending contributes both to the economic health of the City and quality of life for its residents. $657 million in annual visitor spending generates $22.4 million in City taxes, and tourism directly supports nearly 6,000 jobs in Alexandria with a payroll of $114 million.