Discover Denton

Tourism Marketing for Dallas' Hippest College Town

Marketing one of America’s funkiest little college towns, full of original independent thinkers, makers and musicians.

Client: Denton (TX)
Date: 2011-Present
Services: Story, Amplification, Platforms
Category: Destination Marketing

The Brief

If you’ve never been, Denton, Texas is a city you need to experience. Just a short drive north of Dallas, Denton carries a personality that is truly its own.

If you have been, then you know, Denton is a creative town — a place where original, independent thinking is encouraged, where going against the norm is more expected than following the herd.

On top of that, it’s just simply a fun place to be. Looking for entertainment? Year-round festivals. The North Texas Horse Country Tours. An unmatched creative, intelligent community influenced by two major universities. More than 25 live music venues within walking distance of the historic Courthouse Square, and a vibrant downtown entertainment district with more Mom & Pop shops and homegrown originality than chain retailers and restaurants.

Our mission? Market this unique community to the world.

The Story

Our relationship with Denton CVB started in August 2011 with a single marketing campaign. Every October, tens of thousands of college football fans travel to Dallas for the annual Red River Shootout between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. Denton is perfectly positioned along I35 North, the major highway connecting Norman, OK to Dallas, TX, forcing all Oklahoma Sooners’ road traffic to drive past and through Denton on their way to the Cotton Bowl in downtown Dallas. Why not encourage them to make a pit stop? Jump off the highway, enjoy food, drink, live music and entertainment in college-town friendly Denton and stay the night in an affordable hotel. So, that’s exactly what we did.

We produced a creative campaign designating Denton as “Oklahoma HQ” for the two nights preceding the Red River Shootout.

We built jam-packed itineraries for Thursday night and Friday night pre-game activities, Gameday itineraries and public transportation schedules to get fans to the Cotton Bowl via the A-train or to find local watch parties in the Denton area.

We made a single online landing page to create reservations, ask questions and provide trip-planning solutions. Welcome packages were distributed in hotels for guests and included TX/OU lanyards, Denton maps, weekend itineraries and travel schedule reminders.

We created marketing campaign promotions, including heavy social media campaigning, a PR blitz with resulting coverage locally and regionally through TV, radio and print publications, as well as guerrilla marketing at the University of Oklahoma campus with flyer distribution, coop marketing partners and campus sidewalk graffiti art.

In 2012, we took a 60-day, drive-to-Denton destination marketing campaign and evolved that into a full creative campaign over the next year that created a new digital hub for Denton and a new, branded campaign that represented the unique Denton “on the ground” experience.

We produced the web portal highlighting festivals and events, seasonal and year-long entertainment activities and travel solutions.  Next, we created a goal-oriented Marketing Plan for 2012 outlining objectives, strategies, tactics and hard metrics, social media strategy, management and content creation.

We designed and implemented a participative co-op structure that improved facilitation by CVB staff and improved metrics available to all parties after the fact – downtown associations, event planners and organizers, and major attractions. Additional marketing campaigns ran throughout the year for the CVB specifically, including Rand McNally’s “Best of the Road” promotional campaign.

The introduction and launch of Denton’s “Original. Independent.” campaign

The next year, 2013, we collectively built on opportunities and insights learned from our first year AOR performance and took a definitively more digital approach and wider campaign rollout — a version 2.0 of the successes brought in 2012.  These activities included:

A completely revised, revamped and redesigned main website launched for the CVB,

A goal-oriented Marketing Plan for 2013 outlining objectives, strategies, tactics and hard metrics, social media strategy, management and content creation

Refining in-house reporting on digital marketing statistics, campaign performance and metric-driven successes and trends. The creation and introduction of a formalized Coop Marketing program that married CVB goals with 12 primary stakeholders’ goals (for example, the Main Street Association, Meeting and Event Planners, Denton’s Campus Theatre, Firefighter Museum, Thin Line Film Festival, Arts & Jazz Festival)

2014 & Beyond
In 2014, entering the third year of this partnership, the CVB was able to take more of the day-to-day marketing tasks in-house by hiring more staff and delegating internal responsibilities to new team members like social media management and content creation. By providing the CVB with more knowledge and know-how to execute what had traditionally been handled by our agency team, we continued to evolve our marketing partnership into new opportunities.

What started more than seven years ago as a single marketing campaign designed to bring in additional tourists and tourism dollars has grown into a long-term, strategic partnership that allows Aria to truly be an extension of Denton CVB’s in-house marketing team.

This collaborative approach, and trust built over multiple years of partnering, has allowed knowledge to be shared and imparted from both sides, utilizing each team’s best assets and resources to maximize dollars and efforts and return some of Denton CVB’s most successful and profitable years.

No Words Necessary.
We Captured All The Vibrancy, Comfortability And Unique Personality Of Denton, Texas With A Killer New Micro-Documentary.

“When people tell you after watching the video: ‘That’s Denton. That’s how it feels.’ It confirms my belief that emotion is what brings people to a place – more than any facts or hard information.”

Food as a Destination Driver

In 2017, a began a film series on Denton food and nightlife to drive interest in the destination. We produced over 13 short films highlighting the unique propertes that make up the Denton culinary scene.

The Results

To sum up, all we really need to do is present the bottom-line statistics that can be used to evaluate the success or failure of most CVB and DMO activities. These pretty much speak for themselves.

You hear us say that results are all that matter. For us and Denton, Texas, we’re seeing continued growth in the key engagement areas we focus on. All-in-all, we’d say this has been a pretty successful ride… and it’s just begun.

  • Average Hotel Occupancy Tax rise 18% Year-over-Year.
  • Year End Totals RevPAR highest in five years
  • Co-op marketing dollars continue to rise year-over-year
  • Marketing campaigns helped facilitate new hotel construction and a convention center.
Interested in discussing a storytelling project with Odyssey?