Visitors Council Gets Ahead of the Curve with Name Change, Increased Marketing and Promotional Efforts
January 25, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christina Glynn | 831.427.4405 ext.112 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA – After 28 years of being known as the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (CVC), the board of directors enthusiastically approved a new name at its December meeting. The CVC will now be known as Visit Santa Cruz County (VSCC). A name change is one visible sign of the changes to come as VSCC expands into new travel marketing frontiers in its first year of a 7-year funding cycle. Poised for growth and expansion into new international markets, while maintaining the loyal northern California customer base, VSCC has its eye on strengthening the county’s top economic driver.
With seven properties countywide undergoing renovations and two new hotels under construction and set to debut this year, VSCC is expecting a 20 percent increase in hotel inventory over the next three to five years. In anticipation of the increase, VSCC has been enhancing its marketing efforts to meet the anticipated demand in product.
“The Santa Cruz County lodging industry is expecting significant growth in lodging inventory over the next few years,” said Maggie Ivy, CEO and Executive Vice President. “We want to ensure that we have laid the groundwork ahead of time to support not only our lodging community, but the growth of the industry as a whole. As the local tourism industry evolves, so do we as an agency.”
Tourism Marketing District Renewal
Supported by the lodging industry, continuation of the Tourism Marketing District for Santa Cruz County was approved for the next seven years – until 2022 – by the County Board of Supervisors and approval votes from city councils in Scotts Valley, Capitola, Santa Cruz and Watsonville.
The Tourism Marketing District (TMD) will continue to be funded by an assessment fee paid by guests at lodging properties and will increase funding for tourism promotion. The TMD is structured similarly to other local special districts such as the Santa Cruz Downtown Association and the Capitola Village Business Improvement Association, but with the sole purpose of promoting tourism.
The revenues from the assessment provide a needed boost for the countywide tourism marketing budget. The added revenue helps advance long-term planning and marketing programs in an effort to draw overnight visitation during the shoulder seasons when business declines. The TMD is expected to garner approximately $1.9 million during FY 2015-2016 toward Visit Santa Cruz County marketing and promotional programs.
The TMD has enabled VSCC to expand its trade and public relations efforts overseas in the UK market. Since international marketing efforts began, individual agreements between Santa Cruz County hotels and inbound receptive tour operators have been facilitated by VSCC, allowing travel agents around the world the ability to book reputed local hotels for foreign travelers. In addition, VSCC has facilitated direct contracts between local hotels and UK and European travel companies. Increased exposure in the consumer and trade press about Santa Cruz County as a travel destination is reaching millions of consumers throughout the UK.
“Extending the TMD will enable Visit Santa Cruz County to create increased awareness of the destination through more in-depth marketing and promotional initiatives,” said Victor Patel, manager of the National 9 Motel in Santa Cruz and chair of the Visit Santa Cruz County board of directors.
The assessment money, when combined with cooperative marketing dollars has enabled Santa Cruz County to compete on a more level playing field with other destinations.
A refreshed version of the “Let’s Cruz” destination branding commercial was shot in Fall 2015, and will debut this spring. New footage featuring Capitola Village, and activities at two area beaches was re-edited into the existing spot to enhance the visual appeal of the piece. Two separate videos – part of a local narrative about living in Santa Cruz highlighting local “celebrities” speaking to the farm-to-table, breweries, and general overall vibe of the area will be unveiled later in the season. The videos will be part of an overall online digital rollout this year, culminating in a new responsive website design planned for July 2016.
Sacramento-based advertising agency Mering Carson created Visit Santa Cruz County’s new digital campaign as well as the refreshed “Let’s Cruz” commercial. Mering Carson is Visit California’s agency of record, with extensive experience in the tourism industry.
Visit Santa Cruz County is participating in a tourism sponsorship program with TripAdvisor®, supporting this popular user-generated content platform by contributing images and other destination-related information to the site.
And last week – gearing up for Super Bowl® 50 – TripAdvisor® named Santa Cruz the #1 destination for affordable lodging near Levi’s Stadium. Located approximately 30 miles from Levi’s Stadium, Santa Cruz County’s sunny beaches, redwoods forests and surf culture await, and is the perfect destination for a pre-game or post-game getaway. Super Bowl® 50 – scheduled to be played on Sunday, February 7, 2016 – will host more than 150,000 visitors to the Bay Area and will be seen by over 100 million football fans. Super Bowl® 2016 is the first time the big game has come to the Bay Area since 1985.
Continuing with the Super Bowl 50 theme, Santa Cruz will be featured in a new television commercial from Visit California featuring legendary football star Joe Montana in an effort to promote the big game. The 30-second spot is scheduled to debut on Monday, January 25, 2016 on Visit California’s Dream 365 You Tube channel.
“It’s gratifying to see the tourism industry come together and continue to support the marketing efforts that benefits the entire Santa Cruz County community,” said Visit Santa Cruz County Executive Vice President and CEO Maggie Ivy.
Over 90 communities throughout the state, including Monterey, San Jose, Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo and others already have established similar special marketing districts. The TMD is supported by the local lodging industry and the Visit Santa Cruz County board of directors.
For more information about VSCC, see VisitSantaCruz.org
About VSCC: A private, non-profit corporation, Visit Santa Cruz County (VSCC) exists to enhance tourism and the economy by positioning Santa Cruz County as a visitor, conference and film destination. For more information, contact VSCC at 831-425-1234. Or see VSCC’s web site at www.visitsantacruz.org