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NYC & Company unveils new “Unlock NYC”

NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, has announced a new year-round seasonal promotion, Unlock NYC, with the first iteration to expand visitation to the five boroughs during the winter, utilizing the new tagline, “Find a Winter Less Ordinary.” The new marketing and communications initiative was unveiled during World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event for the travel industry. Tips will highlight quintessential and only-in-NYC experiences that will help visitors discover New York City during the winter months.

In January, February and March, a typically slower period of travel, travelers can take advantage of the lowest hotel room rates of the year as well as NYC & Company’s signature dining and theater promotions.  

“There are endless reasons to love New York City in every season, but something special happens when the snow falls – from Lunar New Year celebrations in Flushing and the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, to watching the Polar Bear Club brave the frigid waters on Coney Island. People from around the world feel the pull of New York City, and with Unlock NYC visitors can find the hidden gems – the New Yorker’s New York – and experience our city on a budget,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.  

“This winter, we are giving visitors the keys to unlock a more accessible, affordable and intimate NYC. Whether it’s walking the Brooklyn Bridge as snow falls, skating on one of the outdoor ice rinks, or keeping warm in a world-class museum, we’re encouraging visitors to discover a different side of NYC,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company.  

Starting today on nycgo.com/unlock, the campaign features tips, designed to tell stories and illustrate unexpected insights from icons and landmarks, that will inspire visitors to create their own NYC moments and plan their NYC vacations. In an effort to reach visitors at different points of their trip-planning cycle, additional tips will be unveiled as part of a three-phase content strategy. At launch, tips from NYCGo will include both daytime and nighttime experiences sharing insights from the following categories: Hidden Spaces in Iconic Places; Cinematic City; Eats, Treats & Secret Menus; Stores with Stories; and Broadway & Beyond. Building upon phase one, the site will ultimately incorporate insights from tourism industry experts and social media influencers, and finally, a social media campaign will invite visitors and New Yorkers to be the expert and share their own insider tips about their winter in NYC experiences.

Sample highlights include:
  ·         The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History is like window-shopping on another world—ascend a short staircase and you're surrounded by sparkling jewels. Looking for a rock of your own? The Diamond District is a short subway ride away.
·         The Staten Island Ferry has enclosed seating, runs 24/7 and, best of all, is free. Take a night sightseeing cruise: grab a coffee or beer (sold on board), curl up by the big picture windows and watch the city skyline sail by. Disembark in St. George, and stay for a drink or a meal.
·         Zabb Elee, in Jackson Heights, Queens, earned a Michelin star, but for those in the know, the scene is at its downstairs sake bar. Order a drink and relax over beautiful small plates like the chili garlic pasta with shrimp tempura—just the sort of spice to warm you on a winter’s night.
·         As soon as you bite into a charred slice from a real Brooklyn coal oven, it hits you: you’ve never had pizza like this before. Three of the best places to savor the genuine article are Totonno’s, in Coney Island, and Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s, both in DUMBO. They only sell whole pies, so invite someone special along to share it.
·         Sam’s Soul Food, on the South Bronx’s historic Grand Concourse, is more than just a restaurant. Run for more than 15 years by Ghana native Samuel Amoah, the welcoming spot exudes warmth and often includes music spun by DJ Hollywood, an influential figure in hip-hop. You may even see the likes of Grandmaster Flash or DJ Kool Herc drop by.  

“We invite visitors to celebrate the season, warm up from the day and savor memories made during a winter vacation in NYC. By thoughtfully showcasing hidden opportunities and unexpected highlights through actionable experiences, we’re able to uncover, unveil and ultimately reveal what makes winter in NYC so extraordinary,” said Abby Spatz, chief marketing officer of NYC & Company.  

The first iteration of Unlock NYC is designed to drive awareness and consideration of New York City as a winter destination by combining iconic visuals with inspirational narrative. With an initial estimated $7 million media value reaching 1.3 billion impressions, Unlock NYC is supported through an integrated multimedia plan through paid, owned, shared and earned media. The supporting promotion will include multiple phases based on visitors’ trip-planning behaviors by region and will continue to evolve during each of Unlock NYC’s subsequent seasonal promotions. Launching in London today with promotion during WTM including 65 outdoor billboards and digital media, Unlock NYC also has an international presence with out-of-home media in Spain and Italy. The research-driven digital media plan will target core US markets such as Boston, DC, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, tailored to the regions’ visitor behaviors. The campaign will also be promoted through a new 15-second TV spot airing nationally on Comedy Central; out-of-home in Boston launching today and in New Jersey and Pennsylvania commuter rails launching closer to January; and social media engagement using #UnlockNYC.  

During the first three months of the year, the average daily room rate is approximately $235, which is about 22 percent lower than the average for the rest of the year, giving visitors and New Yorkers a chance to save on their hotel stay. For the best available rates of the year, visit nycgo.com/hotels and reserve through NYC & Company’s exclusive hotel booking engine, Booking.com.  

Additional savings opportunities are available through NYC & Company’s signature dining and theater promotions. The first dining program of its kind, NYC Restaurant Week® offers New Yorkers and visitors three-course prix-fixe lunches for $25 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for $38 (excluding beverages, gratuities and taxes). The dining program returns January 18–February 5 with reservations opening January 6. Visitors and New Yorkers can take advantage of two-for-one theater tickets to a selection of the best shows in town during NYC Broadway WeekSM (January 19–February 5; tickets on sale January 7) and NYC Off-Broadway WeekSM (February 1–14; tickets on sale January 18).

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