Sweepstakes vs. Contest Promotions for VRMs


    Why Run a Sweepstakes?
    Sweepstakes can help create awareness and excitement around your brand, properties and destination. They can help to reach your desired objectives by just running on their own or acting as an overlay to your marketing program. They are highly measurable and can be very effective when integrated with the right incentive.

    An effective sweepstakes will not only offer the chance to win great prizes, but help you reach the following objectives:
    • Build and expand your database: entries capture user information
    • Drive traffic to your website, social media channels or to your physical locations
    • Keep your prize budget manageable. Vacation trip prize packages are a huge draw.
    • Reinforce the features and benefits of your brand/properties/destinations through themed sweepstakes and prize tie-ins
    • Entice consumers with hard-to-get prizes: leveraging existing properties opens the door to bigger and better prizes

    Why Run a Contest?

    Like sweepstakes, contests also generate buzzand awareness and are a great fit for offering a chance to win a great vacation prize. Unlike sweepstakes where any purchase or payment is not allowed to enter, contests can include a purchase if it’s required to create the submission. Additionally, contests are judged based on a degree of skill or uniqueness, whereas sweepstakes are games of chance. As such, you may receive fewer entries for a contest then from just a random-draw sweepstakes since you are asking people to do some work.  

    The most common types of contests today include user-generated content such as Photo, Video, Essay, Recipe and Design Contests. Submissions are then judged or evaluated based on the contest theme and judging criteria and in some cases open for public voting. If you run a contest that invites participants to submit a photo or video you increase the chances that they will share their submission on social media.

    So if your goal is to reinforce your brand or attributes of your properties and destinations, here why contests are the better tactic:  
    • Reinforce your brand attributes: your customers’ photos, videos and essays highlighting your strengths speak volumes
    • Elicit user-generated content that can then be used in your future promotions
    • Your engaged followers will help spread the word for you, especially through social channels

    Have you successfully used either sweepstakes or contests? Share your success stories in the comments below. 
    About the Author: Donna has an extensive background assisting with the development and implementation of a wide variety of marketing and promotional programs. Donna currently is Digital/Social Media Director at American Sweepstakes and Promotions Company where she assisting clients with Social Sweepstakes, Contests and marketing solutions that combine promotions with social media and mobile. She also is the primary blogger for the company's blog and she started her own blog, Donna’s Promo Talk back in 2007 which is written for marketers to help keep them up to date on the latest promotions, trends and legal issues affecting the industry. 
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