Video Development: Virginia City “Below The Surface”

Virginia City, Nevada is a historic mining town dating back more than 150 years, located about 30 minutes outside of Reno, Nevada. With a population of 800, the town annually draws more than a million visitors due to its historical significance. In 2016, a video series was produced to educate travelers and inspire visitation. With a $10,000 total budget for production and Facebook ad placements, the results have garnered over a million views and generated measurable business increase. Developing one traditional tourism-focused video was the original plan to promote Virginia City to its audiences. Research found that 63% of travelers watch videos when looking for activities to do and 66% of all travelers watch online videos when they are thinking of taking a trip (Google’s 2014 traveler study) with expectations for this to grow in 2017 to the high 80% range. Industry trends focus on experiential travel and selling of an emotion and feeling. An extensive review of tourism videos in the U.S. and internationally changed the direction from one video to 10, 2-to 3-minute videos. The stars would be the characters that call Virginia City home. The stories that only they can tell for the destination.

Goal

To create an emotional connection for visitors using video to visually sell the experience of what it means to visit a 150-year-old mining town through the people that live there and call it home.

Objective:

Secure 60,000 views for each video over a 3-week run through a combination of organic and paid placement from May to December 2016. Secondarily, the desire was to drive an increase in visitation to the attractions and businesses highlighted in the videos as measured strictly by comments and feedback from the entities featured.

Play Video

The series, “Below The Surface,” conveys that these are stories and people you might not know unless you dig a little deeper. Other video titles included: Hatmaker – A local hat maker that continues a 150-year-old trade; Roots – A story of generations and the history of the last remaining school of its kind; Bloodlines – Showcasing the town’s mining history through actual miners; Steam Built – History of the V&T Railroad and the family that rebuilt it; Pots and Pans – Modern-day dining offerings that offer their take on local traditions; to name a few.

Videos were uploaded to Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo and supported with paid Facebook ad budget. Other components included a website showcasing all the videos and serving as the main “sales” portal for marketing, vcbelowthesurface.com.  A movie-style premiere attended by 60 people was held to walk through the development process, acknowledge the contributors and show each video. A poster to commemorate the series signed by each of the stars was framed as a thank you.

RESULTS
Objective

Secure 60,000 views for each video over a 3-week run through a combination of organic and paid placement from May to December 2016.

  • Results: As of Dec. 2017, total views for nine videos have reached nearly 2 million views. The best performing video reached 175,168 views with a total Facebook ad budget of $425. The total paid reach has surpassed a million at 1,111,267 equaling a $0.0043 cost per result. The total Facebook ad placement budget was $3,608.07. Nearly 4.5% watched 50% of the videos. Additionally, total comments generated from the nine posts have surpassed 14,000 with over 5,000 total shares.
 
Other
Drive an increase in visitation to the attractions and businesses highlighted in the videos as measured by strictly by comments and feedback from the entities.
 
  • Results: Above all the results, one statement rises to the top from Pascal, The Hat Maker. “The video has completely changed my business. I went from a handful of custom hats a week to three to six or more orders a day. I have people that come to my store just because of the video just to meet me. It’s more than I’ve thought possible.” Additionally, 60 new email subscribers were added through the website along with nearly 5,000 unique website views (the site is only promoted in conjunction with social posts and in the hotel in-room ads).
“I saw The Hatmaker video submitted for the Rural Roundup film festival and it’s spectacular. It truly epitomizes the essence of great story telling, the photography is gorgeous, the subject and subject matter are compelling and it conveys a great intimacy around the idea of local insights.  We should all aspire to achieve this quality in our promotional pieces. Beautifully done!”
Claudia Vecchio
Director
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