Visit Billings Increases Tourism With Outsiders Campaign

Using a targeted creative and media campaign, Visit Billings — a tourism brand made of the Billings Tourism Business Improvement District and the Billings Convention and Visitors Bureau — drove more visitors to the city of Billings, Mont., and exponentially grew hotel occupancy rates.

Two women in blanket in Billings, Montana
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    Whether you love mountain biking, visiting historical monuments, or grabbing a drink at any of the nine breweries, three distilleries, cider mill or winery in town, Billings is a city with a rich heritage that has an abundance of activities for any traveler — especially those who love to go off the beaten path, explore outdoors and try a new adventure. But Billings faced steep competition from other cities in Montana that, at first glance, offered a similar value proposition. Visit Billings wanted to differentiate its city in a crowded market and increase visitors during its peak season of the spring and summer. The tourism brand aimed to reach more travelers with a unique, fresh and powerful message. Visit Billings turned to its creative agency, Sunshine & Bourbon, and its media partner, Goodway, for help with meeting its goal.

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    Sunshine & Bourbon and Goodway developed a three-pronged approach for the campaign. Goodway leveraged best-in-class research tools tailored to the tourism space to profile the target demographics and what they cared about. That way, we could identify the right audiences, markets, messaging and channels for Visit Billings. Using these insights, Sunshine & Bourbon refined the messaging into the “Outsiders” campaign, which turned the notion of being an outsider on its head and instead emphasized how Billings “celebrates people who embrace pure, unencumbered Montana in all its forms.” Captivating creative from videos to ads conveyed this message in full. Meanwhile, Goodway launched, executed and optimized a data-driven, multi-channel media strategy using native ads, display ads, Meta, Pinterest and search for two quarters (Q2 and Q3).

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    The Outsiders campaign proved the new messaging, creative and custom-built media strategy resonated with its two target markets — drive markets and fly markets — and not only garnered interest, but influenced activities that brought the city more tourism dollars. Visit Billings increased website traffic to key pages, hotel room demand and brand impressions throughout the two-quarter flight. Sessions grew 25.21%, events landing page visits grew 75.38% and home landing page visits grew 8.23% compared to the previous year’s campaign performance. Search delivered 7,726 conversions, and the events page conversions increased by 62% versus last year’s. Revenue per available hotel room increased 4.1%.

  • Through the Outsiders campaign, we brought more visitors to our beautiful city than ever before to take advantage of our region to its fullest. The creative Sunshine & Bourbon produced was truly stunning, encapsulating all the natural beauty in our area. And the stellar media strategy Goodway used helped us not only reach the right demographics, but deliver the new messaging via the right channels to encourage more travelers to come to Billings.

    Ally Eggart headshot
    Aly Eggart, Leisure Marketing DirectorVisit Billings

    Key Outcomes

    As a result of the Outsiders campaign, Visit Billings achieved record-breaking results — and won the “Marketing Campaign of the Year” award from the Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

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    hotel occupancy increase in July

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    increase in the average daily hotel revenue

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    home page visits

    Get a Sneak Peek at the Outsiders Campaign

    Watch some of the compelling videos for this campaign that brought the beauty of Billings to life.

    Want to drive more heads in beds to your travel destination? Get in touch.

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