Skift Take

VisitLex is turning locals into brand ambassadors in hopes that their friends and families will see their good times and soon plan a trip to the city. Its success should serve as a role model to other mid-tier cities throughout the U.S.

VisitLex knows when to stick with a good thing.

Last fall, the destination marketing organization for Lexington, Kentucky launched a comical video of a Daniel Boone look-alike on YouTube encouraging locals and visitors to share their experiences in the city with the hashtag #ShareTheLex.

Viewers responded well and the social instigation resulted in more than 25,000 Instagram photos and tens of thousands of Tweets and Facebook posts shared with the hashtag #ShareTheLex in the year since the campaign launched.

This week VisitLex has released a second video starring American lawyer and politician Henry Clay (played by the same actor who was Daniel Boone) again urging locals to share their favorite activities and businesses. The concept behind the organization’s campaign is that targeting locals will spread the word among their friends and families, the largest source of visitors to the southern city.

“Based on research that the number one reason people travel is visit family and the number three reason people travel is to visit friends, we encouraged Lexington’s locals to act as tourism ambassadors and share their favorites Lexington hot spots through social media using the hashtag #ShareTheLex,” the tourism board explains in a statement.

The first VisitLex video starring Boone reached a 30 percent completion rate, which is good in light of consumer’s short attention spans, and drove visitors to spend an average of 2.5 minutes of its visitor’s guide landing page.

The city also saw hotel occupancy increase 4% between 2012 and 2013 and room revenues increased 8%, a record for the city.

Watch “Henry Clay” make the hashtag sign with his hands in VisitLex’s new video. And keep an eye open for William Shatner at the end of the video.

Daniel Boone was the first to encourage Lexington locals and visitors to #ShareTheLex:

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Tags: content marketing, kentucky, videos

Photo credit: Lexington brings Henry Clay back to life to stir up city pride among the residents of Kentucky's most popular city. VisitLex