Three weeks ago Destination Toronto launched PatioscapesTO, designed in support of the restaurant community as they welcomed customers back onto their patios, while at the same time building our content on the category.   What may appear on the surface as a contest focused campaign, it’s much more than that and we’d like to share just a few of the ways in which PatioscapesTO is currently being activated.  Effectively, this is a behind-the-scenes look at our content strategy and our approach to engage our community and deliver value to our audience.  While this isn’t a complete picture of campaign activity we’ve brought our strategy to life in this post with a few highlights that build on learnings from this past year that we thought are worth sharing. 

Our goal through this campaign is to inspire locals to explore our community and discover new patios to safely enjoy across our many neighbourhoods.  In order to spark creativity and the art of discovery we identified weekly themes, like hide-and-seek and under-the-stars as a means to curate and offer ideas for patios to try across the GTA. The theme is announced each week on social platforms while driving back to the campaign landing page on our new content hub.  The diversity of the patio themes is to be inclusive of many patios while also capturing what makes patio season in Toronto an event on its own - city views, hidden gems and (re)discovering favourite hangouts. Furthermore, the themes guide our team in creating web and social content as well as inform media partnerships.  And the contest enables access to great UGC (user-generated content) visuals that can then be amplified in our various source markets to showcase Toronto’s vibrant restaurant scene as the city re-opens. 

Naturally these themes have carried over to our weekly Instagram (IG) takeovers. To take a quick step back - beginning in April 2020, we substantially increased social activations on IG stories, working with our Destination Toronto ambassador community. Our social ambassadors are a group of local content creators that share our passion for representing Toronto. When restaurants were limited to takeout and delivery, our ambassadors hosted a weekly IG live virtual dinner series to stay connected with our community and talk about all things food & drink. This was also paired with weekly contests leveraging #nationaltakeoutday themes. Our IG community responded well to this format in year-over-year engagement and we were eager to carry those learnings into Patioscapes campaign and the future return of in-person dining. Since the launch of PatioscapesTO, we’ve partnered on 4 takeovers to showcase experiences across the city and encourage locals to get out and enjoy.

We’ve also extended takeover content to include IG Reels and are seeing good engagement in that format. Over on the content hub, we are similarly using the themes to create new content each week in support over of our culinary pillar of our content strategy. In recent months, we’ve increased our engagement with local influencers and creators to partner on this editorial. We are seeing gains in this area since the launch of the hub in May, with a 17% lift in organic traffic. Check out the latest patio content here (and, if you’re interested in learning more about the new content hub, watch our past Edge Event on the topic here). 

In just 3 weeks PatioscapesTO has generated over 1M organic impressions on Destination Toronto’s social channels and 20,000+ visits to the campaign landing page.