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Destinations Continue Building In-Roads with Outdoor Gear Brands

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ATTA-facilitated meetings at Outdoor Retailer show create new marketing opportunities

Continuing to open doors between the adventure travel and outdoor gear industries, the ATTA recently hosted key adventure destinations at the Outdoor Retailer (OR) trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah (June 22-25, 2009). The show is North America’s biggest gathering of outdoor gear manufacturers, retail buyers, media, athletes, associations, and more.

More than 16,000 industry professionals attend the winter OR show. All are influencers and/or decision-makers within an industry that reaches millions of North American outdoors enthusiasts – but all are also passionate outdoors people and travelers themselves.

“Going into it, I wasn’t sure what we’d be able to get out of [meetings at the OR show], but I was really impressed with the number of meetings the ATTA was able to set up for us,” said Molly Budinsky with Mercury Advertising on behalf of Travel Montana. “I was also impressed with the quality of the meetings as well. We weren’t just sitting down with anyone, but actually meeting the key people that are able to make decisions about a partnership.”

Outdoor gear brands partner with a destination to promote sweepstakes, create co-promotions, jointly purchase advertising, set up press trips, use the destination for catalog and advertising photo/video shoots, and more.
Recent efforts to bring outdoor brands together with adventure destinations have proven effective for both parties. After meeting on an ATTA-facilitated “familiarization” (FAM) tour, Kelty backpacks created a co-marketing partnership with a destination that resulted in nearly 10 million impressions for both – all within the fertile North American outdoors market. The same single FAM resulted in a Marmot adventure video that showcases the destination and was accepted to more than 20 mountain film festivals.

While the ATTA member destinations attending expressed strong interest in pursuing partnerships that provide this level of exposure, the brands they met with were also quick to recognize the potential for collaborations.
Marmot Public Relations Manager Jordan Campbell noted, “For a global brand like Marmot, international photography, stuff that we just can’t get in North America, is key. Having an image that is clearly from an international location, whether a photo of a scene or something with actual Marmot apparel in it, is critical for such a globally positioned brand such as ours. Partnering with exotic destinations, like a Jordan or Norway – for example, provides tremendous visual opportunities to use these images for our marketing purposes.”

ATTA sees such value in bringing its adventure destination partners into the outdoor gear space that, in partnership with OR show organizer Nielsen Business Media Sports Group (NBM), the ATTA will host an ‘adventure travel pavilion’ made up of exhibiting destinations at the OR Winter Market show in January, 2010. These first forays by destinations at the most recent winter show will be followed by more during the summer show this July – all in order to explore synergies, introduce key players in both industries, and to prepare for the 2010 pavilion.

NBM Vice President Sports Group Joseph Flynn said, “Adventure travel is absolutely a part of who we are. Like the outdoor industry, the ATTA is committed to promoting the industry and to service the communities it serves. Together, we’re better positioned to provide productive cross selling environments for retailers, manufacturers and travel companies, which, in the end, brings more value to our businesses, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers.”
The ATTA’s inroads with prominent outdoor brands are made possible in part through its leadership’s combined four decades of experience from inside the outdoor industry.

Considering the success of current partnerships, ATTA member destinations and outdoor brands are wisely exploring these opportunities in more detail.
Kelty public relations director Drew Simmons said that he hopes to include destination partnerships in their long term marketing plans and to meld this strategy with their current programs.

He added, “One of the huge benefits was the direct consumer interaction. People got very involved in the entire process. The biggest benefit of these partnerships is tapping right into the passions of the consumer and providing something that’s very ‘aspirational,’ yet also very tangible – and you just can’t underestimate that combination.”

Simmons and Campbell both are already looking toward future partnerships with other destinations. Campbell noted that he would love to work with a destination on a viral marketing campaign, something that “conveys the excitement of international mountaineering or skiing within the remarkable social networks online, such as a great film clip that is fun, exciting, and exotic for”

Simmons would like to partner with destinations that specifically reflect various brands – not just Kelty, but some of their sister brands as well. He noted, “Because we’re talking about the whole world here, you can find a destination that reflects your brand heart and soul, top to bottom. To be able to craft a specific program around a specific destination is a very exciting prospect.”
With ATTA’s continued efforts to bring together adventure destinations with proactive brands like these, it’s possible that Simmons’ and Campbell’s concepts might some day very well become reality.

For information on the Adventure Travel Pavilion at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in January 2010 – or for information on how to get involved in the networking potential of the Summer Market show in July, 2009 – contact ATTA VP of Business Development Chris Chesak at [email protected] or +1.208.921.5626.

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