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California Dream Dial Inspires Trip Planning on National Plan for Vacation Day

By Kristen Bonilla 02/05/2021

National Plan for Vacation Day on Jan. 26 was more crucial than ever, following the significant toll the pandemic had on both mental health and the economy. In addition to promoting the event across earned, owned and social channels, Visit California launched a free, limited time hotline where travel experts helped callers plan their future California dream trip. The California Dream Dial opened for a 12-hour period, offering inspiration and a much needed mood-boost for callers.


California Dream Dial
The team of experts took 48 calls, about 60% of which came from out of state. Several trends were identified through these discussions including:

Earned Media
Using the California Dream Dial as a means for consumers to boost their mood quickly gained traction with the media, garnering 18 pieces of coverage and 223 million total impressions. This included hits in Travel +Leisure, Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle and KCRA.

A group of Visit California’s most trusted influencers shared National Plan for Vacation Day content with their large audiences of social followers. Posts encouraged followers to plan ahead and dream of a vacation in California. Five influencers also used their California expertise to engage in California travel Q&As.  

The campaign generated 143 total posts with 884,061 potential impressions and more than 17,000 total engagements. Eleven influencer channels participated, including Eager Traveler, Bon Traveler, Live Like it’s the Weekend, Jacob Fu, Esther Julee, Local Adventurer, Zory Mory, Henry Wu, Stuffed Suitcase, Epic7 Travel and Roamaroo.

In total 61 California travel questions were asked and answered by influencer ambassadors. Many consumers asked about coastal towns and design-focused hotels, as well as recommended hikes in national parks and good ideas for day trips or weekend retreats.

A new planning hub was launched at VisitCalifornia.com/plan2021 to provide planning resources and house the California Dream Dial appointment scheduler. During the campaign, the hub received 1,584 pageviews. New content included 9 Ways to Celebrate National Plan for Vacation Day and Take Advantage of National Plan.

Throughout the month of January, the consumer e-newsletter deployed four trip planning-themed email campaigns. In all there were 709,000 sends, with unique open and unique click rates bot being well above industry average, suggesting strong consumer interest in trip planning and California travel.

Visit California launched its 50th episode of the California Now Podcast to coincide with and in support of NPVD. The Episode highlighted the positive effects of planning for a vacation and inspiration for a future trip and included guests Nathan Lump, Vice President of Customer Marketing, Expedia; Rebecca Misner, West Coast Editor, Condé Nast Traveler; and Chandler O’Leary, author and illustrator.

The podcast had 941 unique downloads within the first week of deployment and 167 partner handoffs.

Social Media
In addition to amplifying participating influencers’ Instagram stories, Visit California’s social channels focused on posts that showcased dreaming and travel inspiration with a future focus. A photo challenge was posted during the week leading up to National Plan for Vacation Day and a wrap=up album was posted on Jan. 26. In all, there were 11 total social posts across platforms with a total reach of nearly 523,000 and more than 30,000 engagements.


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