Houston First Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the Do Something New, #Explore HOU staycation campaign, inviting locals to unwind, relax, and enjoy the perks of vacation without the concern of travel.

The largely digital campaign (ad creative here) is designed to jump-start overnight stays in Houston hotels at a time when the industry has been hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. HFC worked with more than 40 hotels on vacation packages ranging from private yoga and in-suite spa services, to exotic animal encounters at the Downtown Houston Aquarium and private helicopter tours. These packages provide both a value in terms of experience and price point – a win, win for consumers.

“Our primary role as the city’s destination sales and marketing organization is to support our hospitality community,” said Brenda Bazan, president and CEO of Houston First Corporation. “Hotels play a critical role in our city’s economy which is why we have committed our marketing efforts toward a successful rebound.”

The #ExploreHOU campaign is launching in the Houston MSA and will expand throughout Texas in July. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to drive the campaign, allowing for more efficient targeting. The use of AI provides Houston First with real-time data which will be used to model the city’s new audience profiles – a collective challenge for most Destination Management Organizations in the wake of the pandemic. This smart approach to audience targeting through pixels assessing qualitative attributes and programmatic retargeting that serves appropriate messages to a qualified audience. The results will be measured using ADARA conversion metrics as well as Sizmek reporting and Google Analytics. 

In addition, Houston First has deployed third-party research by Destination Analysts on VisitHouston.com and the Visit Houston social channels. The survey tests perception of safety, interest in a staycation, activity preference and intended timing of a staycation or trip to Houston. 

“The way Houston reacts to challenge is collaboration,” said Holly Clapham-Rosenow, chief marketing officer of Houston First Corporation. “Because of collaboration with our hotel partners, my team could pivot the marketing strategy and immediately respond. We are seeing positive trends related to Houstonians’ intent to staycation as well as in-bound travel to Houston. We could have not have deployed this campaign, so quickly, without our hotel partnerships.”

In addition to hotel experiences and deals, the Houston Experience Marketplace platform makes it easy for consumers to find, buy and experience Houston. Thematic offerings, like the Museum Pass and the Brew Pass, provide consumers with exclusive perks and discounts. Tours come in all shapes and forms, from walking and biking, to guided transportation.



Holly Clapham, CMO
cell: 713-614-0366

Leah Shah, PR Director
cell: 512-810-5294