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Visit California and TravMedia Host California Pavillion at IMM USA

By Molly Bloss 02/13/2024

Visit California continued its partnership with TravMedia in 2024, once again hosting the California Pavilion at IMM USA. On Jan. 25, a delegation of 48 destination partners and businesses traveled to New York to participate in the California Pavilion, making over 1,100 appointments with key travel and lifestyle media and influencers.

During lunch, Angie Pappas — Associate Vice President of External Affairs and Media Relations at Visit California — teased the launch of the Ultimate Playground campaign and Visit California’s new TV commercial debuting in March. She shared an overview of Visit California’s partnership with the National Institute for Play, and how their decades of research about the imperative of play in our daily lives has helped shape our new brand campaign.

As a sponsor of IMM USA, Visit California also hosted the closing reception on the evening of Jan. 25, attended by approximately 1,000 media and destination representatives. Visit California served wine generously donated by the California Wine Institute and California craft beer.

On Jan. 24, Kristen Bonilla, Public Relations Manager at Visit California, participated in the “To Podcast or Not to Podcast” panel during the TravMedia Summit. The panel was moderated by Gary Arndt, producer and host of the Everything Everywhere Daily Podcast. It covered the importance of podcasts in the media landscape and how tourism businesses can partner with existing podcasts or start their own. Kristen talked about the success of Visit California’s California Now podcast, hosted by Soterios Johnson.

As in past years, to maximize partners’ time on the East Coast, Visit California hosted an additional day of programming on Friday, Jan. 26, at 1 Hotel Central Park, attended by 34 California partners. The morning started with a panel about “Need to Know Influencer Marketing Trends for 2024,” which provided partners with valuable insights for the year ahead. Topics included predictions and trends for 2024, common misconceptions, how to keep content authentic and best practices for amplification. Panelists included Visit California Global Influencer Advisory Board Member Brianne Manz, @strollerinthecity; Mallory Kuenzi, Head of Influencer Marketing at Expedia Group; and Greg Scavuzzo, Senior Operations & Strategy Director at Tagger by Sprout Social. The panel was moderated by Brandon Layland, Director of Social at MMGY.

In the afternoon, partners headed downstairs for an influencer networking event at Jams, the on-site restaurant helmed by chef Jonathan Waxman — a native Californian. There, partners were joined by 34 New York-based influencers and Chef Kevin O’Connor, an incredible chef, author and olive oil sommelier from California. In addition to a California-inspired menu, attendees enjoyed a California olive oil tasting led by Chef Kevin. They were invited to create their own olive oil infusion as a souvenir.

The next California media event will take place in Dallas on Feb. 22, followed by the San Francisco Media Reception on April 11. Registration for both events is closed. To stay in the loop about future events, visit industry.visitcalifornia.com/events and sign up for the public relations newsletter.

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