Success through Social, Digital and Mobile! Shop till you drop in GUAM!

Guam Louis Vuitton

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Earlier this month I flew to Guam with my CEO, Stephenie Rodriguez, to attend the 9th ACI Asia-Pacific Small and Emerging Airports Seminar. Our company was invited to present and facilitate a workshop on how to harness the power of social and digital media within airports.

Guam Louis Vuitton
It was a fantastic experience and we met some amazing people. For me, one of the great takeaways was a case study I found truly remarkable. We were lucky enough to co-present and facilitate our workshop with Karl Pangelinan, General Manager of the Guam Visitors Bureau, so we gained a good insight into the bureau and in particular how they have successfully used social, digital and mobile within their marketing campaigns.

Amongst the many great presenters speaking at the conference, I listened to a presentation and discussion from Pilar Laguana, Chairperson, PATA Micronesia & Marketing Manager Guam Visitors Bureau. The discussion was on “Boosting Tourism through Destination Marketing”. During the discussion, Ms Laguana presented an overview of the success they have experienced by using social, digital and mobile as part of their marketing campaign. I wanted to share with you this brilliant case study that demonstrates how social, digital and mobile can be used to effectively drive significant interest, generate revenue and provide real ROI.


Guam is the largest island of the Marianas archipelago. It has sun, sand and wilderness, although the real draw for tourists who come here is the fabulous duty-free shopping.

Tourism is now vital to Guam’s economy – with approx. 70% of its tourists coming from Japan every year. However, during 2012, tourism to Guam slowed significantly due to the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan.
As a direct result, the Guam Visitors Bureau faced a huge challenge – How to restore growth and attract more visitors to stimulate the Guam economy.


In 2012, Guam Visitors Bureau marketing department launched its first ever global campaign. It was called the ‘Shop Guam Festival 2012.’ The goal of the campaign was to:

• Promote Guam’s Tax Free Shopping;
• Stimulate the Local Economy; and
• Drive an increase in visitor’s arrival.

The campaign tapped into transmedia storytelling by promoting Guam as a premiere shopping destination by presenting Guam shopping through print, web, digital and mobile touch points across 8 markets. (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, North America and Russia).

To kick-off the campaign, they launched a global shopping ambassador contest to identify 8 fashion bloggers to shop in Guam on Black Friday. The winners, one selected from each of the 8 target destination countries, were a diverse group of influencers, deal experts, style queens and fashion celebrities. The winners each won sponsored trips to Guam that included airfares, accommodation, ground transportation, a shopping budget of $6,000.00 and a fully-sponsored shopping tour of Guam during the island’s most active retail season.

The major sponsor, the Bank of Guam, provided the shopping ambassador winners with Bank of Guam Pacific Express Visa Debit card to use whilst shopping on the island. On their trips, the ambassadors were required to document and actively share their Guam shopping experiences through various social media platforms, engage their followers and generate online buzz about their shopping experience as well as their overall vacation experience in Guam. Where relevant this included updating deals on Guam.

Lastly, as part of the overall promotion, The Guam Visitors Bureau invited Global travel agents to give away shopping offers to the winter visitors, which further created hype and interest to visit Guam.


The Shop Guam Festival 2012, through the use of social, digital and mobile, converted awareness to action. The statistics are quite staggering. Keeping in mind this is the very first social campaign undertaken by the remote island, the results are brilliant and demonstrate that there is serious value with engaging customers through social, digital and mobile.

The Stats….

• 3,900 people entered the contest to become a shopping ambassador;
• 68,000 online discussions were generated;
• 8 winners created 661 social media posts about Guam – these posts commanded;
• over 560,000 likes;
• 2400 shares; and
• a total of 1.9 million visits.

It has been calculated that the campaign generated over 8.4 million dollars worth of media value, which was 4 x greater than the Guam Visitors Bureaus’ target.

The campaign lifted Guam visitor arrivals by over 14% in 2012, something the overall Guam economy benefits from.

The annual Shop Guam Festival returns November 29, 2013 through January 5, 2014 and is the biggest shopping event of the year in the Western Pacific.

With the success of the 2012 campaign, the Guam Visitors Bureau is social, digital and mobile ready and preparing for an even bigger success this year.

To inquire about how to participate in Shop Guam Festival 2013, please email

Post by Bruce Grant, Chief Integration Officer, Mighty Media Group.

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