As snow keeps on piling up here on the East Coast, Hawaii’s weather forecast includes a slight chance of rain, with mostly sunny skies. Highs of the day hits around 81 degrees, while lows are around 70 degrees. Hawaii is sunny with warm weather year-round, which makes it one of the hottest spots for tourists. Tourism is the largest source of income for the Hawaiian Islands, contributing to more than $14 billion dollars just in 2012. After the recession in 2008-2009, Hawaii’s tourism declined substantially. Slowly, the numbers have been rising again and now in hopes of further increasing tourism, Hawaii has turned to social media. Starting just last month, January 2015, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) has launched a new social media hashtag campaign to increase tourism in Hawaii. Specifically, the campaign targets Hawaii’s Not-Yet-Beens (NYBs), the segment of Hawaii Target Travelers that have not yet visited the Hawaiian Islands (the breakdown is listed below).
As seen above, nearly half of the NYBs are concentrated in the younger generations. To target these specific NYBs, it only made sense to use social media for their new campaign. The campaign encourages residents and visitors to share their experiences on the Hawaiian Islands through social media with the hashtag #LetHawaiiHappen.
HVCB’s Instagram, GoHawaii, features breathtaking pictures of Hawaii that are all reposts of random people on Instagram that have tagged or hashtagged anything related to Hawaii. They are further urging followers to use the hashtag by including it in their descriptions or cover photos on all their social media sites, as seen below. It seems to be working, as there are already over 9,000 posts just on Instagram with the hashtag #LetHawaiiHappen.
“While everyone knows that The Hawaiian Islands are rich in natural beauty, the oftentimes untold story is that the real beauty of this incredibly rich destination, with its unique culture, traditions, experiences, and activities, are those special memories that couples, families, and friends create throughout their stay as they hang–loose and go with the flow,” said Jay Talwar, HVCB’s chief marketing officer. “#LetHawaiiHappen aims to let residents and fellow visitors alike show their friends and family what Hawaii is all about through their personal images as they weave their stories of having fun as they #LetHawaiiHappen on their own journeys throughout The Hawaiian Islands.”
“Many residents and visitors already share their unique, only–in–Hawaii experiences with friends and family on social media. This program provides an opportunity to amplify their stories and photos so other travelers around the world can relate to and enjoy them,” Talwar added.
Users can search the hashtag on any social media site to see others’ experience on the Hawaiian Islands. Posts will also be curated to be featured on HVCB’s website gohawaii.com and on their other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Youtube. They even released TV Commercials for the campaign where they show some of the amazing things that can happen on several of the islands when you just “let Hawaii happen,” as seen below.
Since the campaign just started in the beginning of the year, there is no data yet on how it has directly affected tourism or the NYBs. But, I think this is a very clever way to target the younger generation. The younger generation is more heavily reliant on social media than ever before, and HVCB is aiming to take advantage of that. Pictures can create such strong lasting impressions and even being from Hawaii myself, there are constantly new places that I discover through social media to explore when I am home. People from Hawaii are proud of the beauty that surrounds them, often using hashtags such as #LuckyWeLiveHI, and this is now another way to show the world how amazing Hawaii can be. I am fairly sure that this hashtag will take off and become widely used. I also think this will help attract NYBs because speaking from personal experience, when I see pictures of amazing travel destinations, it only makes me want to go there more. Using social media has become the strongest way to influence and reach out to people around the world.
Maybe taking a look at their Instagram yourself will inspire you to book a trip to Hawaii on your next vacation. gohawaii