How SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Elevated Its Marketing to Skyscraper Status with Tiqets

Tiqets for Venues Blog Team

April 14, 2023

In a pandemic year when nothing was normal and every standard launch protocol was turned upside down, the team at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt had a planned launch to execute amidst COVID-19 restrictions and social craziness. 


On the one hand, the attraction’s promoters had a distinct advantage: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is not just another NYC observation deck. It’s a whole vibe, an architectural wonder, a multisensory art immersion. This modern addition to the oeuvre of urban observatories sits atop a brand new, state-of-the-art skyscraper overlooking Grand Central Terminal and features a glass skybox Levitation, hovering a thousand feet over Madison Avenue, as well as Ascent, a glass elevator, which rises even higher. The whole experience is a visual wonder, which makes for compelling social media marketing.

But visuals and social buzz alone are not enough to launch a high-profile attraction like SUMMIT One Vanderbilt that hopes to attract sightseers from around the world. They needed a global marketing partner – an OTA that could reach entirely new audiences and bring some industry cred to the venue. With Tiqets, the glamorous observation deck got the promotional boost – and the technology – it needed, and even won a Remarkable Venue Award along the way.


“Tiqets is a well-known operator in the space, with a great reputation and a great team. When we opened, we knew Tiqets would be one of our main partners.”

Claire Chirouze Ulloa

Global Tour and Trade Sales Manager

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

The Challenge

Non-negotiable: Creative, innovative marketing beyond social media


Opening a new attraction is always a challenge, but for SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, opening in 2021 was even more acute.  “We opened in October 2021,” explains Claire Chirouze Ulloa, Global Tour and Trade Sales Manager of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. “Ideally, we would have needed a year and a half, prior to the opening, to get out and talk up the mission, brand, and product. But we didn’t have that because of the pandemic.” 

Launch plans had been in place since before the pandemic, so the team had to quickly figure out how to integrate vaccine checks into the experience and how to compare their own data against the mass mandates. As Chirouze describes, “It was a little heavy on the operational department at first, but nothing any other attraction hasn’t gone through.”


The main area the team at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt needed outside support was with marketing. The internal team did a great job with social marketing. With everyone stuck inside and glued to their phones for months and months, such a visually striking attraction got attention on Instagram and TikTok. But the marketing couldn’t stop there if SUMMIT One Vanderbilt wanted to take advantage of the legions of people globally eager to start traveling and sightseeing again. They were on the hook to find different and creative ways to spread the word about “yet another” new attraction in NYC.

Explore the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt building

The Solution

Leaning into Tiqets to amplify the marketing globally (and creatively)


For such a high-profile attraction, an online travel agent (OTA) is a natural fit because it can boost the awareness of the launch as well as providing critical technology tools. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt needed a partner that offered both – and one with international reach.


"When we started searching for an OTA we came across Tiqets, and it is a well-known operator in the space, with a great reputation and a great team,” says Chirouze. “When we opened SUMMIT up, we knew Tiqets would be one of the main partners for us.”

01

Global reach with marketing, language flexibility, and currency agility

Working with Tiqets gave SUMMIT One Vanderbilt presence in countries it wouldn’t otherwise be able to easily penetrate. The attraction’s website, for instance, is in English, and when they first opened, they concentrated mostly on local promotions. But NYC is an international destination, obviously, and even within the city, English isn’t the only language commonly spoken. Working with an international OTA like Tiqets allowed the venue to automatically translate their offerings into 16 languages and extend their reach both locally and globally. 


In addition to localization capabilities, the Tiqets booking engine offers the ability to sell tickets in different currencies, so people can buy tickets before they even leave their home country.

“Tiqets gives us a much larger reach in terms of local language and local currencies. It gets us in front of more people.”

Claire Chirouze Ulloa

Global Tour and Trade Sales Manager

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

02

Accessible API integrations and reporting

Having access to the “backend” of Tiqets was hugely helpful. For instance, the engineering team at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt could log in to Tiqets to get easy reporting and see invoices and other metrics. And because Tiqets is a SaaS product – meaning that it’s cloud-based, not downloadable – SUMMIT One Vanderbilt takes instant advantage of all upgrades and software tweaks without having to perform maintenance or manual adjustments. 


For developers, the open-source API of Tiqets is also valuable. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt was already working with the ticketing provider Galaxy. Fortunately, Tiqets is certified with Galaxy, which made it very simple to create an API integration between the two.

“We definitely liked that Tiqets was already set up with Galaxy: it made the connectivity process easier and faster.”

Claire Chirouze Ulloa

Global Tour and Trade Manager

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

03

The ability to plug right into affiliate and distribution capability

B2B distribution channels are also an important sales lever for SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. With professionals on staff who are well-seasoned in the travel and tourism industry, there is a collective knowledge of the importance of using affiliates to spread the word, gain industry credibility, and sell more tickets. 


The built-in affiliate technology Tiqets provides with its travel affiliate program was “plug and play” for the venue and a critical factor in the decision to use the OTA. Bloggers and influencers may be small operators, but they can pack a wallop when it comes to marketing.

04

Additional street cred for a venue high up in the sky

In addition to all the other promotional support Tiqets lent SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, being awarded the Remarkable Venue Award (RVA) for “Best Attraction” in 2022 was extra acknowledgment and credibility for the attraction. “We were very honored,” says Chirouze. “There were some other great venues nominated, so the fact that we won was really rewarding. It was nice to have that recognition very early on.”


The Remarkable Venue Award wasn’t just an honor, though. It was an actual marketing lever. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt’s marketing team used the award in its PR efforts and social media posting. This attraction is also somewhat unique in that it falls under the business banner of a real estate agency, SL Green Realty, which purchased the property in the early aughts and hired architect Kohn Pedersen Fox to build out the skyscraper. Being able to report back to the parent organization that they had won the award gave them leverage and credibility. “It was good PR,” says Chirouze, “but it was also great recognition within our industry and internally.”

"Tiqets was one of the first partners we onboarded, and it remains part of our top ten producers.”

Claire Chirouze Ulloa

Global Tour and Trade Manager

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

Selling more tickets with Tiqets


The Tiqets team is proactive about communicating with the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt team to continuously improve the relationship and the service. Chirouze confirms, “The fact that you reached out to us for direct feedback on your back end portal, taking the time to have a call with us to understand our needs," speaks volumes. "You really care about your suppliers’ feedback to build a more user friendly back end."


It can be difficult to quantify how much a partner contributes to success, but the team at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is very pleased with their choice in an OTA. "Tiqets was one of the first partners we onboarded, and it remains part of our top ten producers. We’ve been really happy with the numbers so far and the reach we’re getting”, says Chirouze.


Want to read about another venue that gave itself a major marketing boost during the pandemic?

Read How Wax Museum Barcelona Reinvented Itself with the Help of OTA Marketing.

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