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Staycations: Tapping into a local, emotional connection

School’s out and the busy summer travel season is upon us. According to a 2017 travel report from Adobe Digital Insights, Americans will spend over $98 billion on travel from Memorial Day to Labor Day. While this seems like a huge number, summer travel spending is expected to grow just five percent.

However, there is one segment of travel that is growing faster than average – wellness travel. Expected to grow 50% faster than regular travel, consumers are starting to make health and wellness a top priority when selecting travel destinations.

Consumers are seeking more ways to unplug, unwind and disconnect from hyper-paced 24/7 electronic lives.

For some this might mean a luxurious getaway to a wellness spa or all-inclusive yoga retreat where phones are checked at the door and there are no Wi-Fi passwords because there isn’t any Internet access. But for many working families, these high-priced mindful getaways simply don’t fit into the annual travel budget. It’s estimated that an average cost for two people traveling by plane with hotel, rental cars, etc. is $5,000. Beyond the cost, mindful retreats don’t typically cater to families looking for a wide variety of activities.

Since the recession of 2008, the rise of the staycation allowed budget-pinched families to find escapes and adventures in their own backyards. When the economy improved, staycations morphed into longer weekends that were still drivable within a short distance. According to a WalletHub survey conducted this year, nearly two thirds of Americans were on board for a staycation this year. The most popular destinations cited in this survey all had one thing in common – Family-Friendly Fun.

Becoming part of the acceptable set of options for families looking for staycations can be just as competitive and daunting as competing for out-of-state or international visitors. But like any effective marketing campaign, the messaging needs to tap into an emotional connection. Sometimes that emotion can be sentimental like visiting a theme park or a state park, where visitors might be recreating memories from their childhoods. Other times the emotion can be as simple as “fun” – a time to laugh, giggle and sometimes scream with excitement.


A few years ago, RiverSouth was formed as a joint public/private collaboration to promote entertainment just twenty minutes south of Minneapolis. Competing with the ever-popular and internationally recognized Mall of America as well as other travel destinations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, RiverSouth pulls together four of Minnesota’s biggest entertainment destinations into one moniker: “Land of Big Fun.” Canterbury Park, Mystic Lake Casino, Valleyfair and the Renaissance Festival attract more than 10 million people each year. With an umbrella brand like RiverSouth, marketing dollars can work harder to keep the area top of mind for travelers in the Twin Cities and the surrounding areas.

For every side of you

CCF partnered with RiverSouth to produce this year’s campaign – For Every Side Of You. Tapping into the unique offerings of the four RiverSouth partners, the campaign’s eye-catching imagery is a quick read that immediately leaves the impression of fun and entertainment. The goal of the campaign is to not only drive awareness to each of the four destinations, but to elevate awareness for the entire RiverSouth region. The campaign is scalable so that in the future, golf courses, breweries and other entertainment outlets can be swapped out providing even more opportunities for staycation travelers to visit RiverSouth.


Man in four places

Woman in four places

Click here to learn more RiverSouth.

As families seek to unwind with more frequency and closer to home with staycations as a supplement to bigger vacations, clustered destinations may want to take a page from RiverSouth to make marketing dollars go further.

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