CEO Update: Destination Stewardship
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CEO Update: Destination Stewardship

By Caroline Beteta 02/27/2019

Visit California’s 11th annual Outlook Forum was our most successful to date, with record attendance and a lineup of impactful speakers. Notably, this was also our most sustainable Outlook Forum, with focused efforts on conserving resources, sourcing responsibly and reducing waste.

Sustainability was a key theme of this year’s Outlook Forum. With more people traveling than ever before, we are at a moment in time: Our industry’s long-term viability depends on its ability to protect, preserve and promote the traveler experience. 

Destination stewardship. Protecting the travel experience is critical to our success. Nine consecutive years of travel industry growth have been a boon to our state’s economy, but an unintended result has been the pressure on infrastructure at peak times. Our goal is to move travelers beyond impacted areas. By “sharing the love” across the industry and across the state, the traveler experience will benefit — and so will our industry’s revenues.

At this moment in time, our mission must include stewardship. We must migrate from destination marketing to destination management.

This is a challenge we can solve. To get there, Visit California is launching a yearlong project to identify impacted zones and provide communication resources to industry partners, travel trade and media. The outcome will be a “California Tomorrow, Today Sustainability Plan” with four key objectives:

  1.    Influence visitor behavior
  2.    Identify impacted zones by season
  3.    Outreach to trade and media
  4.    Rebrand iconic experiences

We need your help! Watch for industry surveys to get this project started. 

Technology enables communication. To inspire travel beyond impacted areas, we must be able to pinpoint travelers with specific, relevant messages. Visit California’s consumer website is a key element of that approach. The website gets more than 30 million page views every year, and 85 percent of users are already in the planning stages of a trip to California.

Now, a pilot program will allow industry partners to retarget the millions of qualified leads on visitcalifornia.com based on content they are already consuming. For example:

Retargeting is the best way to maximize the ROI of digital advertising. Click-through rates of retargeted ads are 10 times higher than typical display advertising. And, hyper-targeting travelers already planning a trip to California allows us to better manage when, where and how people travel to California.

Road Trip Republic will move people. We also announced a new content focus that “shares the love” across our state. We’ve declared California the Road Trip Republic, establishing our state as the world’s preeminent destination for hitting the road. 

Road trips epitomize freedom and the luxury of free time, and data show the No. 1 destination to live out this dream is California. By focusing on road trips, we will inspire visitors to see and experience lesser-known regions of California. And with 400,000 miles of roadways and 840 miles of coastline, no other state can compete with California on road trips.

Visit California’s Road Trip Republic platform will be digitally led and anchored by an online TV spot. Our owned channels will serve as a hub of road trips content. Social media will be a distribution channel as well as a content source as we capture user-generated content from California road trippers.

Ultimately, Visit California’s global consumer platform will allow our industry to reach visitors at every stage of their trip planning and their journey, preparing and enabling them to visit California responsibly.

Let’s continue to show the world what it means to Dream Big!

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