ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Jan 10, 2019) — Explore Asheville today announced the selection of award-winning, Atlanta-based advertising agency 360i as its new agency of record. The agency will support Explore Asheville in generating national brand awareness that will continue to fuel tourism’s annual economic impact of $3.1 billion in the community.

The selection of 360i reflects the importance that Explore Asheville places on leveraging data to target travelers in different parts of the country. 360i works with a variety of brands including Hyatt, Canon, Oreo, Pernod Ricard, Fox Sports, MINI USA and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC).

“This partnership benefits Asheville on many levels,” said Explore Asheville President & CEO Stephanie Brown. “We are thrilled about 360i’s data-focused expertise and ahead-of-the-curve strategies to market the Asheville area and grow the $2 billion annual visitor spend that puts more than 18,000 people to work here in Buncombe. An exciting additional layer is how 360i’s expertise will directly support our small-business owners through free workshops and collaboration with local production, artistic and entrepreneurial communities,” she added. 

As part of its contract, 360i will partner with Explore Asheville to conduct an educational workshop in 2019 designed to empower local tourism businesses and nonprofits to be smart marketers in the modern world. The free, all-day workshop will include content from 360i experts in social marketing, paid social, insights, SEO/SEM and influencer marketing, as well as guest speakers from leading platforms.

“360i brings with it some of the nation’s most curious and strategic minds in advertising,” said Explore Asheville Deputy Director & VP of Marketing Marla Tambellini. “Not only do they understand changes in the marketing landscape, but they have a history of predicting and defining them. The quality of their work will give Asheville one foot in the future, which is exactly where we need to be as stewards of this destination and the economic vitality of Buncombe County.”   

In 2018, 360i was named Adweek’s Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year and selected for Ad Age’s coveted “A-List” for the eighth consecutive year. 360i has also been named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” and ranked among the best “Lead Agencies and Search Agencies” by Forrester Research.

The agency retainer fee is $141,589 and includes a broad array of marketing and advertising services, including a more sophisticated suite of tools, data science guidance and consultation in emerging technologies and opportunities.

Established by legislation in 1983, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) is a quasi-governmental entity charged with marketing Buncombe County as a tourism destination and administering its tourism product development fund. Explore Asheville works under the oversight of BCTDA to execute an extensive strategic marketing and sales program that inspires visitation and group meetings/travel while showcasing and offering free marketing services to 1,200 businesses that rely on visitors. 1-in-7 jobs in Buncombe County are supported by the tourism industry. 

The 3.9 million overnight guests that the Asheville area welcomes each year provide a customer base that assists in the sustainability of businesses in the community and contributes to local and state tax revenues, as well as the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) administered by Explore Asheville. Through the TPDF grant program, $44 million of occupancy tax revenue has been awarded to 39 projects—many of them not possible without it.

To see who is counting on tourism in Buncombe County, visit ExploreAshevilleCVB.com/Tourism-Builds-Community.