Tourism London drove local spending during COVID-19 with a custom, closed-loop program.
Tourism London knew that attracting visitors during COVID-19 required creative planning. As Canadians couldn’t fly internationally, the solution meant showcasing London’s qualities. This led to a TruCash program giving travellers an incentive to explore everything London offers. After running a pilot program, the city saw its potential. Now, one-year later, their decision proved fruitful.
Our tourism industry was one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s partnerships and innovations like London’s that truly make a positive impact on both businesses and their staff.
TruCash President Diana Fletcher
The Stay A Little Longer Program drives local spending and provides a growing Canadian city with insights toward smarter municipal decisions. This, during a trying pandemic period for individuals and governments alike. TruCash supplied tools so the city can instantly understand where and why their program achieves success.
Tourism London’s prepaid card program has seen 50% of spending on local establishments—a win for small businesses! This progress may now compound into further developments because more Londoners have the means to work and invest in their city. Moreover, the program runs through 2022: check it out before you plan your next trip.
Many communities in Canada and around the world endured economic challenges from COVID-19. In these cities, the tourism industry was particularly hard hit.
London has world class art, dining, parks and entertainment—but they were missing tourists to enjoy them. This led businesses, especially SMEs, to struggle without customers, and if the City didn’t step in, many of these businesses would have gone bankrupt. The local economy relied on Tourism London’s intervention to maintain the city’s high quality of life.
These challenges led London to partner with TruCash to incentivize local spending. London’s program recruited local hotels to participate in a Visa® card program that gives guests a $100 prepaid card for two-night stays. Then visitors spend their funds in a “closed-loop” system, keeping their money in the local economy. This allows shops, restaurants, museums and markets to benefit from an increase in local visitors.
Further, the Tourism London program offers unmatched data access to local decision-makers. This works using the TruCash Dashboard: real-time analysis of where and how users spend their funds. The city then monitors their program and addresses pain points with their partner businesses in real-time.
The card was designed through consultation between TruCash artists and Tourism London officials. Its final product, a vivid downtown night scene, clearly displays the city’s energy. Moreover, this artwork markets the city’s value to visitors every time they use their card.
In turn, Canada’s Forest City won Innovator of the Year at the 2021 Southern Ontario Tourism Innovation Awards on March 9, 2022, celebrating Tourism London for successfully rising to pandemic challenges. We love that tourists decided to “Stay a Little Longer” in this beautiful, bustling city.
Now, the City of London makes more efficient decisions to benefit Londoners. For example, maybe London sees that tourists spend heavily at music venues and coffee shops. This may move local organizers to re-consider their Sunfest music festival budget, perhaps by spending more on marketing or bringing in more coffee stands. Data-based decisions like these support smart strategy and continue to improve London’s quality of life.