Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

New Simpli.fi measurements help gauge visitor behavior

The last tent has been folded, the final hand-painted sign was taken down, and another Jazz Fest is in the books. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell was a success, and thanks in large part to a bounty of sun and a dearth of mud, the festival is reporting it was attended by approximately 450,000 music lovers this year — 25,000 more than attended in 2017 and 2016, both years that suffered from altered schedules due to bad weather.

There are other new numbers from those Jazz Fest weekends as well.

Simpli.fi is an advertising company Don Draper wouldn’t recognize, but its goals would sound familiar in any “Mad Men” conference room. The company specializes in digital advertising in a hyper-local way using technology that George Orwell warned us about. You know how you might be looking at your smart phone in front of a coffee shop and suddenly a coupon for a competing coffee shop pops up on your screen? Welcome to “Geo-Fencing.”

Geo-Fencing technology has been winning marketing awards and Simpli.fi recently brought its tech to New Orleans to show how data can be used to help businesses target customers and plan for big events like Jazz Fest.

Simpli.fi set up its Geo-Fencing equipment at Café du Monde, The National WWII Museum and Harrah’s Casino the weekend preceding Jazz Fest and the two weekends during. It was able to measure foot traffic at those three locations and find trends in the data that could help retailers plan for large events that draw visitors to town.

Overall, data shows that tourists were less likely to visit city center locations during Jazz Fest, but tourists did hit those spots after the fest (and likely, after those lovely post-fest showers). A few key takeaways from Simpli.fi:

  • Harrah's Casino traffic was consistently down across the board, an average of 38 percent for weekend No. 1 and 53 percent for weekend No. 2. There was an average uptick in traffic of 46 percent to the casino during the after-hours of the festival as compared to before or during festival hours for both weekends on Friday and Saturday night.
  • Similarly, Café du Monde saw an average uptick in traffic of 84 percent during the after-hours of the festival as compared to before or during festival hours for both weekends on Friday and Saturday night. 
  • Café du Monde on Sunday morning of weekend No. 2 experienced a 3 percent increase in foot traffic.
  • The National WWII Museum on Sunday afternoon of weekend No. 1 saw an increase of 54 percent in foot traffic.

According to Ryan Horn, vice president of marketing at Simpli.fi, the company chose New Orleans to perform data analysis and demonstrate how its Geo-Fencing product suite works.

“Simpli.fi’s geo-fencing product suite can be used for a variety of marketing campaigns to enable advertisers to target the right audience at the right time, improve customer experience, track off-line or 'last mile' conversions, measure advertising success and more,” explained Horn. “Specific use case for geo-fencing with event targeting could be anyone who wants to capture an audience at a physical location during a specified day and time window and then target them to drive awareness about their products and services, such as business targeting industry trade shows/conferences, record shops targeting music festivals, sports apparel stores targeting national championship parades, etc.”

Big Brother is indeed watching, but data such as these could be applied for both increased revenue for businesses and increased quality of life for residents and visitors. The city could use these categories of data to plan for infrastructure investment, public transportation and even the best locations for bike racks.

Smart phones are part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Just as they are handy tools for the consumer, they are increasingly important tools for marketing. Hhhmmm… why am I suddenly craving a beignet?



Categories: Tourism Biz