California Restaurant Month 2019 Reaches an All-Time High with 40 Destinations
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California Restaurant Month 2019 Reaches an All-Time High with 40 Destinations

By Kristen Bonilla 03/11/2019

Every January since 2011 Visit California has hosted California Restaurant Month (CRM), spotlighting a rich collection of destinations throughout the state as they present their own local restaurant week programs and culinary experiences. 

This year 40 destinations – the largest number in the program's history – partnered with Visit California, sharing in CRM's robust paid, owned, earned and digital media strategies. 

Participating destinations, representing all 12 of the state's regions, included Alameda, Alhambra, Berkeley, Butte County, Calistoga, Concord, Dana Point, El Dorado County, Elk Grove, Escondido, Geyserville, Gilroy, Greater Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Mendocino County, Monterey Bay, Napa Valley, Newport Beach, Oakland, Ojai, Oxnard, Pasadena, Placer County, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento, San Francisco, SLO CAL, San Diego, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Monica, Santa Ynez Valley, Sonoma Valley, Stockton, Suisun, Tahoe South, Temecula, Turlock, Vacaville, Yolo County, and Yosemite Madera County.

As CRM has evolved over the past decade to include programming beyond the traditional restaurant week model, partner destinations have continued to refine their culinary tourism branding, messaging, and strategy. 2019 saw an unprecedented number of DMOs executing a full rebrand of their restaurant week events, opting to lean more heavily on themed events and promotions to help better tell the story of their culinary community. 

This year saw the execution of another successful food-centric Twitter Chat in partnership with #FoodTravelChat, a digital community of culinary professionals, home cooks, travelers, local tourists, bloggers and more. The moderators for this year's chat included @FoodTravelist, @FoodTravelChat, @ant_kneee, @ourtastytravels, @carollivestoeat, @The_Jenius, @BackpackBritts, @ChrisPappinMCC, @MyVirtualVaca, @noshindulge, @RewardMyShoppin. 28 DMOs also participated. The chat reached a total of over 2.8 million, making it one of the most popular Visit California Twitter chats to date. 

A curated list of four social influencers with prominent blogs and social handles were chosen for hand-crafted travel itineraries throughout 13 destinations, allowing them to immerse themselves in the unique culinary offerings that help to make California the premier US destination for food travel. The influencers – Salt & WindNo DestinationsSweet C’s Designs, and A Taste of Koko– posted a total of 14 blog posts and 301 social posts, garnering nearly 57,000 engagements and more than 14 million impressions.

Visit California's owned channels were instrumental in driving awareness to partner programs through a dedicated landing page that housed an interactive CRM map. The California Now Blog focused on spotlighting destination programs on a weekly basis and promoting influencer itineraries. In total, the web content received over 70,000 page views. 

The culinary message extended into the E-newsletter program as well, touching six markets with a total send of over 604,000. 

Social media continues to be a staple distribution platform of CRM, and 2019 was no exception. Visit California generated 170 posts across 12 markets which totaled a reach of over 8 million. The newest owned channel channel, The California Now Podcast, created a culinary focused podcast dedicated to CRM. 

With an eye already fixed on California Restaurant Month 2020, Visit California is laying the groundwork for the development of additional tools and resources to assist destination partners in creating and expanding their own meaningful culinary tourism strategies. 

To connect with Visit California about California Restaurant Month 2020, email us at restaurantmonth@visitcalifornia.com.

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