Advertising Case Study: Travel Industry

Appetizing Campaign Draws Austin Foodies to Lake Charles

March 14, 2023–Last fall, when Visit Lake Charles’ marketing team rolled out its culinary travel campaign to attract road trippers from Austin, it included a tantalizing secret weapon: a fleet of rideshare vehicles covered in stunning images of Lake Charles. 

One side of each car featured a larger-than-life image of a mouthwatering shrimp po’boy along with the message, “Fresh. Spicy. Satisfying,” while the other side featured a poolside scene depicting Louisiana’s Playground along with the slogan, “When an afternoon takes an unexpected twist.” Both sides included Visit Lake Charles’ colorful logo.

The head-turning vehicles, created in partnership with Carvertise, the nation’s leading rideshare advertising company, rolled through Austin’s streets for three months and even made an appearance at the Austin City Limits Festival, reminding festival-goers that they could enjoy an authentic, tasty po’ boy and other delights just a short road trip away in Lake Charles. 

The effort was an integral part of a three-month integrated, $150,000 effort that also included an Instagram food influencer, who served up tasty images of the Lake Charles food scene; and digital ads directing hungry travelers to a gourmet inspirational guide of the area. The Carvertise campaign was used as a top funnel tactic which helped complement bottom-funnel initiatives by Epsilon, Adara and Expedia, according to Timothy Bush, chief marketing officer for Visit Lake Charles. This marked the first time in the destination’s history that it had included so many different elements in a campaign. 

Visit Lake Charles’ marketing team decided to target Austin for its fall campaign after noticing a spike in website visitation from people in that area. After digging into the data, with the help of visitor insights from the Zartico Destination Operation System, the team saw a correlation between people from Austin who visited the website and those who traveled there. But it wasn’t just the apparent interest from Austinites that made the city an ideal candidate for a larger campaign. It turns out that residents of Austin who travel to Lake Charles outspend travelers from Houston — another big market for Lake Charles. 

“While Houston is our top performer, we focused this campaign on not just visitation, but also spending,” says Bush. The team hoped that by emphasizing Lake Charles’ exploding culinary scene, it could entice travelers to venture beyond the popular casino resorts and explore more of the destination. 

The strategy worked remarkably: From August to October 2022, Lake Charles saw a 65% increase in web visitors from the Austin area compared to the previous year. Even better: Overnight stays from Austin increased by 8.5 percent and food expenses by 8 percent. And, the campaign gained statewide attention: In January, The Louisiana Travel Association awarded Visit Lake Charles with a Louey Award for Tourism Campaign/Promotion of the Year for the campaign. 

“Consumers are constantly bombarded by so many advertising messages that they must filter through,” Busy says. “Carvertise offered Visit Lake Charles a way to raise our campaign above that in a highly visual and impactful way, This partnership allowed Visit Lake Charles to show Austin travelers the value our community holds as a destination.” 

The campaign’s stellar results don’t surprise Carvertise Co-Founder Greg Star, who notes that a growing number of DMOs are partnering with the company to reach their target markets in a memorable way, with dozens signing on for campaigns in 2023. One current example: This winter, Visit Mesa in Arizona has deployed a fleet of rideshare vehicles throughout high-traffic areas in Chicago to promote Arizona’s winter warmth and sunshine and entice would-be visitors to book their spring vacations there. The cars beckon travelers with strong visuals of Arizona sunsets and messages like: “Blizzards’ Exact Opposite,” “Let’s Work on That Winter Tan,” “Warm Up Your Life” and “Our Winter Layers: Sunscreen.” The car wrapping was a first for Visit Mesa.

“Our travel partners, time and time again, tell us our branded cars are the most memorable advertising medium they’ve seen,” Star says. And there’s data to back up their contention: Statistics from a 2019 Nielsen out-of-home study reveal that wrapped cars are proven to be the most effective and memorable form of transit advertising. 

Star says Carvertise’s tourism partners also appreciated Carvertise for its scalability, as impactful campaigns can be scaled to meet any budget—which can level the playing field for smaller destination marketing organizations. 

“Like our partners at Visit Lake Charles discovered, rideshare advertising provides a very exciting way for DMOs to get noticed — without breaking the bank,” he adds. 


To learn more about how Carvertise is shaking up the OOH industry — and access specific case studies featuring successful rideshare campaigns across numerous verticals, contact:

Carvertise Co-Founder Greg Star,  

About Carvertise:

Carvertise is America’s largest rideshare advertising company on a mission to revolutionize the way brands communicate with consumers outdoors. Leveraging a  network of 550,000 registered drivers, Carvertise is running wrapped-car ad campaigns  around the country for clients including Netflix, 7-Eleven, EA Sports, NASCAR, and  GlaxoSmithKline. Geo-targeted, highly memorable, with a heavy emphasis on analytics,  Carvertise is proudly spearheading the future of transit advertising.