How Organic Advertising Made Disney World a Holiday Destination

Walt Disney World has always been a popular destination for kids, families and even adults who still feel a special connection with the “magic” that the destination seems to provide its guests.

More recently, it’s become a holiday-season attraction, and you can chalk it all up to organic advertising.

Organic advertising with a touch of magic

The Disney brand is sort of an anomaly. It’s difficult to study what it does and then apply the lessons learned because there isn’t always a crossover between its name recognition and that of a smaller brand.

But with that being said, the way Disney approaches organic advertising around the holiday season is particularly noteworthy.

Strategic implementation of free events

There’s something enticing about the proposition of “free.” It doesn’t even matter what’s free. Most of the time, people are just drawn to the word and like the idea of getting something for nothing.

Disney understands that free can be used as a gateway for revenue. Around the holiday season, it uses a plethora of free events–including Christmas decoration tours, light shows, visits with Santa Claus and holiday shows–to drive engagement.

Disney doesn’t make a great fuss about advertising these free events. Instead, it releases simple statements knowing that news stations, journalists and social media influencers will pick up the slack.

Friendly hotel pricing

For a family to come to Disney World, there are many expenses in play. There’s transportation, food, accommodations, park admission, souvenirs and more. Disney knows that it can’t get the average family of four to attend the park around the holiday season if it doesn’t make it more affordable.

The solution is to keep hotel pricing down. During a time in which other areas of the country instigate price hikes, Disney keeps things affordable. This drives up foot traffic and results in more spending within the park itself.

Purposeful social media pushes

The Disney Parks system has a pretty powerful social media presence. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube, blogs and park-specific applications, Disney has mastered the art of controlling the online conversation and gently pushing out timely information.

This may seem like a minor thing, but when it comes to organic advertising, social media is the lever to the action. When carefully pulled, the lever can release just enough to keep people engaged and keep the Disney World brand on the top of people’s minds.

Perception of magical moments

According to one travel advisor:

The Walt Disney World Resort consists of four theme parks, the Downtown Disney shopping area and 24 hotels operated by Disney. To blanket all of this space in holiday cheer requires 1,300 trees (all artificial), another 1,300 wreaths, 15 miles of garland, 300,000 yards of ribbon and a whopping 8.5 million lights.

It’s the grandeur of Disney World around the holidays that makes it so enchanting. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, Disney World has a way of making people feel at home–even when they aren’t at home.

This is the heart of organic advertising. It all starts with creating profound experiences. When the core product–Disney World, in this case–connects with people on such a significant level, everything else is free to unfold.

Organic advertising in 2017

Organic advertising has always had value, but look for it to become even more important in 2017 as both large corporations and small businesses alike seek out new opportunities that didn’t previously exist.

While Disney has resources that many businesses only dream of having, that shouldn’t stop smaller businesses from pursuing organic efforts. When sprinkled between paid advertising, organic advertising can be the balancing factor that so many brands are missing out on.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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