MGM RESORTS

MGM Resorts ran an Instagram campaign that tested various travel-focused motivational messages, and saw a 6% lower cost per booking when encouraging travelers with “Return” to Vegas messaging compared to “Relax” messaging.

THE STORY
More than just hospitality

MGM Resorts International is a global entertainment company featuring hotels and casinos, meeting and conference spaces, live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings. The MGM Resorts portfolio encompasses 30 unique destinations in the US and internationally.

6%

lower cost per booking with the "Return” creative messaging, compared to the “Relax” creative messaging

11%

lower cost per booking with the next-best-performing creative amongst all the “Return” creative variations

8X

return on ad spend across the campaigns

Embracing travel motivators in our Instagram advertising allowed us to better communicate our brand message and drive more efficient conversions. It also helped with our reopening strategy because the heightened demand enabled more of our employees to get back to work. We’re excited to continue testing the creative messaging, and to entice consumers to book their next trip with us.
DEREK SCHOEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF PAID MEDIA & SOCIAL STRATEGY, MGM
THE GOAL
Understanding travel motivation

MGM Resorts wanted to understand what motivates people to want to travel so that it could create more personalized ad messaging that sensitively encouraged visits to Las Vegas and bookings at one of the brand’s properties.

THE SOLUTION

Testing a creative strategy

The hospitality industry has been challenged by declines in travel due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has stretched into 2021. Because travelers’ comfort levels vary greatly, MGM Resorts wanted to be sensitive about meeting travelers where they were. So, the team decided to run an Instagram ad campaign with the aim of understanding people’s different travel motivations to visit its Las Vegas hotels.

MGM Resorts partnered with its agency CitizenNet—a Premium Facebook Business Partner—to set up a test to identify the type of creative messaging that would resonate most strongly with travelers. The team ran a split test with three different travel motivator messages, which were “Return, Relax and Reset,” and each ad had one piece of creative specific to that message. All other campaign variables—including budget, ad format, placements and targeting—were the same.

The split test determined that the creative messaging that had the most impact among the broadest audience was around “Return,” a message that spoke to people eager to return to Vegas for the first time since the pandemic. Using this insight, the team continued to test by building and running four iterations focused on the “Return” messaging. Of those four iterations, the top performer was a photo ad that showed a traveler standing at the window in an MGM hotel room overlooking a sweeping view of the Las Vegas Strip, with the text overlay “One-up Your Last Vegas Vacation!” and the messaging: “If you’re looking for a sign to book your trip to Vegas, this is it. Slip away from the everyday. Vegas is calling.” All ads included a “Book Now” button that linked to the property’s website.

The team served the ads to a broad audience of US adults aged 21 and over living in key large city designated marketing areas. And it delivered the ads in Instagram feed, Instagram Explore, Facebook News Feed, Facebook Marketplace, Facebook right column and Instant Article.

MGM Resorts determined the results of its May 22‒June 8, 2021 campaign using reporting data from a split-test in Facebook Ads Manager, which revealed:

  • 6% lower cost per booking with the "Return” creative messaging, compared to the “Relax” creative messaging
  • 11% cheaper cost per booking with the next-best-performing creative amongst all the “Return” creative variations
  • 8X return on ad spend across the campaigns
Create Ad
Instagram is one of our only partners that has the scale, quality and ability to reach travel intenders with both upper-funnel brand creative and personalized direct-response ads that drive immediate business. Instagram plays an important role within our media ecosystem. We’ll continue to work with them to push the limits of what is possible on their platform for travel.
SARAH MOORE, SVP BRAND MARKETING, MGM RESORTS