The Central Coast Tourism Council had an all-day meeting in Ventura, California on March 26, 2014. Key presenters included Lynn Carpenter, VP of Marketing for “Visit California” and Carl Ribaudo, Principal of Strategic Marketing Group. Following are some of the key take-aways.
• “Visit California” will have its budget doubled over the next three years. There is a good chance that its usual grant of $30K to CCTC will also double over that time.
• Visit California promotions will rest on “Five Pillars”: Family, Food/Wine, Arts, Outdoors and Luxury.
• Even though “International” makes up only about 6% of visitors, they account for about 19% of the tourism dollars spent.
• Visit California’s six “Tier One” markets will continue to be: US, UK, Australia, Mexico, China, Brazil. (These have permanent offices and receive the most promotional dollar spend.) Tier Two Markets are: Japan, South Korea, Germany, France. Tier Three Markets are India, Scandinavia, Italy and The Netherlands.
• The California Central Coast scores very highly as a Destination of interest to potential visitors from the UK and Canada; two of the key target markets for California.
• Partly because of its growing clout as an international destination, the CCTC was encouraged by Carl Ribaudo of Strategic Marketing Group to develop its own co-op programs and offer participation in these programs to other destinations in California, instead of waiting for other California destinations to offer coop programs to the CCTC.
• The CCTC was also encouraged by Carl Ribaudo to de-emphasize marketing its “features” (events, wine food, activities etc.) and instead emphasize its “benefits”. Work to emphasize the experience – “It’s not the destination, it’s the ride” / “Sense of place”, “Highway 1 means something different to everyone” / “Tell us your Highway 1 Story” etc.
It was pointed out that John Steinbeck, Jack Keroac and Henry Miller (and other famous writers) all wrote extensively about their wonderful experiences on the Central Coast. (Note the recent print ad for the “KindleVoyage” – shown above- found in the April 13 edition of Forbes Magazine.)
• This suggested new promotional orientation was positively greeted by the attendees and implementation was to be discussed at the Board Meeting immediately following the conference. “This would include targeting the “low-hanging fruit” that could be rapidly implemented.
• This new concept will still keep #TheOriginalRoadTrip tagline. There was agreement to de-emphasize “Highway 1” terminology outside of California, since it has little recognition outside the state.
• The Membership / Web Committee (these two committees will probably be merged) discussed this new promotional orientation. It was suggested that this new promotion would allow the Centralcoast-tourism.com website to “own” the concept, especially if people mention two or more locations in their positive reminisces. This, and other implications will be discussed in future committee meetings.
• The Marketing Committee will probably be renamed the International Marketing Committee, since that is its emphasis.
• Since the marketing plan will need to be revamped, there will probably be a new 1-day workshop, with committee meetings, before May 1.