Palm Beach leverages debate buzz to rock vote, highlight area

The official tourism board of Palm Beach County used the 2012 presidential election as an opportunity to capitalize on the areas surrounding Lynn University, host of the final debate in Boca Raton, FL.

Organization: Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau (Palm Beach, FL)
Campaign
: Hayworth Creative Public Relations (Palm Beach, FL)
Duration
: May-October 2012
Budget
: $20,000

The official tourism board of Palm Beach County used the 2012 presidential election as an opportunity to capitalize on the areas surrounding Lynn University, host of the final debate in Boca Raton, FL.

Strategy
The agency and democracy-advocacy group, Rock the Vote, partnered with the Palm Beach County's visitor bureau to host a special concert in Boca Raton on debate night to leverage media exposure.

Tactics
The free concert and debate screening was hosted with Xbox Live and pop-rock band Neon Trees at Mizner Park Amphitheater minutes away from Lynn University. Partnerships with local companies provided prizes and gift certificates to hotels and restaurants in Palm Beach County.

Those not in attendance at the live screening and concert could watch on Xbox with interactive features to participate in trivia questions and polls. Promotion for the event was heavily pitched to local radio stations and media, including pre-interviews with the band prior to the concert.

Results
More than 3,500 attended the concert, while approximately 60% stayed to watch the live screening of the debate.

The Xbox Live stream generated nearly 500,000 consumer impressions, the highest of all the presidential debate streams.

The event received coverage in Romania, Germany, and London as well as nationally on CNN, and HLNTV.com.

Hotel occupancy rose 10% in October compared to the previous year in Palm Beach County as well as leading the state in revenue per available room growth.

Visitors to PalmBeachFL.com increased from 41,113 in October 2011 to 77,310, in October 2012.

Future
According to agency president Maria Hayworth, there are plans to coordinate another Palm Beach County event targeting the culinary or fashion sector.

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