Costa Rica has long been a popular destination, but it suffers from misconceptions about its location and offerings and it has become increasingly harder to stand out among other beach-meets-jungle destinations. The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) engaged the agency to change the narrative to increase awareness and inspiration for Costa Rica as a first-choice, year-round destination and to reach new potential travelers and repeat visitors from the U.S. and Canada.
Action & Results
We implemented a comprehensive public relations strategy to generate ongoing, positive media coverage, leveraging Costa Rica’s new “Only the Essentials” campaign.
Ongoing Media Relations & Brand Campaign Launch
Our ongoing media relations has generated a significant amount of top-tier press highlighting Costa Rica’s culinary, wellness, adventure, general tourism offerings and sustainability efforts. In one year, we hosted 20 top-tier journalists from North America on four group press trips to experience Costa Rica’s nature, culinary, wellness and adventure offerings firsthand and conducted 60 media appointments in key markets including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto. Thus far, more than 55 stories have been published across online and print media, as a direct result of the press trips. We also promoted the launch of Costa Rica’s new “Only the Essentials” campaign, raising visibility for Costa Rica and its key tourism development initiatives, securing coverage in top trade outlets including features in Skift, AdWeek, NBC News, TravelPulse, and Travel Daily News.
We launched a series of events and activations to bring Costa Rica to life in a non-traditional way and generate awareness and media buzz.
First off, we chose the 2019 Sundance Film Festival as the ideal setting to bring the true Costa Rica experience to like-minded travelers. We partnered with Wanderluxxe, a luxury membership concierge service to warm up festival goers, providing a taste of Costa Rica’s “pura vida” at the WanderLuxxe Filmmaker Lounge on Main Street. The lounge was transformed into a rainforest and hosted an array of performances, events and filmmaker panels, Festival goers enjoyed a respite from their hectic festival schedules with wellness experiences including daily yoga led by Lululemon, a sauna, facials and massages, daily après ski happy hours, custom coffee bar serving authentic Costa Rican coffee, reflecting the destination’s long history of traditional and environmentally friendly coffee production and exclusive Costa Rican culinary experiences. The event garnered more than 232 million media impressions for a total advertising value of more than $4.9 million.
To kick off the Only the Essentials campaign, we created a journey of the senses experience at New York’s Brookfield Place which took visitors from the concrete jungle of New York City to the jungles of Costa Rica through a 360-degree pop-up experience featuring live plants, and real-life sights and sounds from Costa Rica. More than 600 consumers, influencers and media were introduced to Costa Rica, with a higher than average time of 1.5 minutes spent. The Minister of Tourism appeared in a 2.5-minute on-camera interview on Results 1.4 Billion MEDIA IMPRESSIONS 55 Travel Features FROM PRESS TRIPS 2,000+ Consumer Engagements New York Live. Working closely with President Carlos Alvarado Quesada’s team, we also coordinated his visit to the activation, as well as interviews with Bloomberg News and The New York Times. We also hosted a Travel Massive event at The James Hotel in New York City for 85 travel industry professionals, media and influencers to learn about the campaign and Costa Rica’s newest tourist offerings.
In honor of International Coffee Day, we deployed coffee carts in Union Square, designed to resemble Costa Rica’s traditional oxcarts, distributing free coffee to over 1,000 New Yorkers. We showcased Costa Rica’s rich coffee history with attendees and enticed them to learn more about travel to Costa Rica.
In the wake of headline-making news in Costa Rica, including a rafting accident that took the lives of four Americans and several safety/crime issues, we created a much-needed strategy to get ahead of negative perceptions. Our work reached up to the top government levels as we supported the minister of tourism and other ICT delegates at industry events, worked with local and federal security details, and directed media inquiries through our team to contain the coverage. To offset negative news, our team worked tirelessly to promote the positives of traveling to Costa Rica and to communicate the proactive efforts being taken by the government in response to the issues.