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Visitors Council Gets Ahead of the Curve with Name Change, Increased Marketing and Promotional Efforts

Filed under: Media Releases — admin @ 3:49 am

January 25, 2016

Contact:  Christina Glynn | 831.427.4405 ext.112  |

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.

Digital Rollout
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.

TripAdvisor Sponsorship
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


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

Visitors Council Announces 2016 Offical Santa Cruz County Traveler’s Guide

Filed under: Media Releases — admin @ 1:02 am

January 14, 2016

Contact:  Christina Glynn | 831.427.4405 ext.112  |

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA— The Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (CVC) announces the publication of the 2016 Official Santa Cruz County Traveler’s Guide. The annual publication features stories, enhanced area maps, and dining and lodging listings highlighting the amenities offered by various restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfast inns, vacation rentals, campgrounds and other property choices. A free copy of the guide can be ordered online at, by calling 800.833.3494 or by stopping by the year-around visitor center at 303 Water Street in Santa Cruz.
The cover features an image of two humpback whales lunge feeding, an photo which was captured one fall by happenstance when the massive mammals were caught with a digital camera in their natural habitat by local photographer Paul Schraub, who was on assignment for the CVC onboard a boat chartered from Pacific Yachting and Sailing. The image captured the attention of audiences around the world and was featured in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, the UK’s Daily Mail, NBC Evening News, Good Morning America, and over 145 other broadcast outlets.

An enhanced mobile version of provides visitors-on-the-go with ideas and information on where to stay, eat and play while in town. Using NXTbook’s interactive technology, Web site visitors who log on to can view the full Guide directly from the homepage by downloading an online guide. Completely interactive, the electronic guide enables potential visitors to click through to advertisers’ Web sites, and view fun videos as well.

The glossy, magazine-style Traveler’s Guide is published every year, and destination and theme-oriented stories with accompanying photography make it one of the CVC’s top marketing resources for promoting Santa Cruz County to visitors. The Santa Cruz County CVC worked in producing the annual guide with local publisher Hutton-Sherer in Soquel. The guide is supported by approximately 150 local advertisers throughout the county. It is available locally at countywide attractions, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, and at over 400 key locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Pier 39, Mineta-San Jose International Airport, and locations in Monterey.


About the CVC: A private, non-profit corporation, the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (CVC) exists to enhance tourism and the economy by positioning Santa Cruz County as a visitor, conference and film destination. For more information, contact the CVC at 831-425-1234 or 800-833-3494. Or visit the CVC’s web site at

Whale Watching Season Kicks Off with Santa Cruz County Hotel Specials

Filed under: Media Releases — admin @ 12:24 am

November 19, 2015

Contact:  Christina Glynn | 831.427.4405 ext.112  |

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA – The winter season marks the start of the whale
migration along the California coast. Citing fewer crowds, amazing hotel deals and
some of the most spectacular natural activity in the Monterey Bay, the winter
months bring with them opportunities to see the majestic California Gray Whales
during their winter journey to warmer waters. The Santa Cruz County Conference
& Visitors Council (CVC) is inviting visitors to experience this annual event with
lodging discounts.

Beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2015 through Sunday, January 31, 2016, the Let’s
Cruz Winter Campaign: #SCWhales Promotion features hotels, B&Bs, and vacation
rental properties offering guests three nights for the price of two (any stay including
a Friday or Saturday night). Offers are valid December 1, 2015 through January
31, 2016. Black out dates and other restrictions apply. Mention #SCWhales when
making reservations.

Beach House Rentals

Stay 3 nights for the price of 2 at most beach houses through June 25, 2016. During
the month of January 2016, book a 2-night stay at any one of these three Capitola
properties at a special rate of $500 per night and stay the 3rd night for free. Special
applies to the following: 5005 #6 Cliff Drive; 327-A Riverview Avenue, and 303
Cherry Avenue.Call Sara or Leslie to book your reservation at 831.475.1808.
Excludes special holidays and blocked dates.

Best Western Seacliff Inn

Enjoy three nights in a standard room facing the pool for the price of two! Not valid
December 24, 25, and 31, 2015 and January 1, 2016. Book a minimum of three
consecutive nights on a single reservation to receive discount.
Call 831.688.7300 or 800.367.2003 to make your reservation.

Chaminade Resort & Spa
Enjoy a “whale of a show and huge savings at the only AAA four-diamond resort in
Santa Cruz. Stay three nights for the price of two and enjoy an onsite day spa and
over 200 acres of natural beauty. Call 800.283.6569 or our website to book your
reservation. Offer valid December 1, 2015 to February 29, 2016. Some blackout dates apply; subject to availability.

Davenport Roadhouse

Stay in any room with a choice of either a Queen bed or two twin beds beginning on a Friday for 3 nights and pay for only 2 nights. Valid from December 1, 2015 – February 28, 2016. Not valid on public holidays and from December 25, 2015 – January 4, 2016.
Call 831.426.8801 ext.100 to make your reservation.

Inn at Pasatiempo

Stay 3 nights for the price of 2 (any stay including a Friday or Saturday night). Discounted whale watching tours are also available; please inquire directly with the hotel.
Call 831.423.5000 to make your reservation.
No discounted rates available. Promotion applied to rooms booked at Standard Rates only. Excludes December 25 – 27, 2015 and January 16, 2016. Reservations subject to availability.

Kendall & Potter Property Management

One night free when you stay 3 or more nights. Holidays and Super Bowl week not included. Valid December 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016.
Call 800.386.6826 to make your reservation.

Mission Inn

Stay in a deluxe King or double queen room, and enjoy free breakfast, high-speed wi-fi and free parking. Includes complimentary admission tickets to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center while supply lasts.
Not valid November 25 – 27 and December 25, 2015.
Call 831.895.5455 to make your reservation.

Pajaro Dunes Resort
Reserve two nights in a beautiful beachfront home or condo and stay the third night for free. Not valid for holidays. Subject to homeowner participation. Limit one free night per reservation. Available through May 15, 2016.
Call 800.564.1771 to make your reservation
For more information about whale watching opportunities this winter, visit or call 800.833.3494.




Santa Cruz County Lodging Industry to Unveil Countywide Hotel Renovations, New Properties in 2016

Filed under: Media Releases — admin @ 11:45 pm

November 11, 2015

Contact:  Christina Glynn | 831.427.4405 ext.112  |

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA— As the Santa Cruz County lodging industry gears up for a new year, local hotels and inns are upgrading their properties.  The Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (CVC) announces that nine Santa Cruz area properties are under construction or are in the process of being renovated, with the majority completing their projects in 2016.   

“New construction and the renovations taking place at hotels countywide show how property owners are willing to make capital investments in Santa Cruz County.  It’s a win-win situation for the local lodging industry and for visitors coming to Santa Cruz County,” said Kenn Clark, General Manager of the Mission Inn and CVC board member.  “It’s our desire as a whole to constantly improve and enhance the numerous choices visitor have.”

In the San Lorenzo Valley, a $3 million renovation will restored the historic Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz Mountains to its former glory.  Expected to re-open in early 2016, this 60-room property – once a renown Hollywood celebrity getaway – will receive a facelift of the most iconic setting on property:   the Brook Room — a Bavarian-style hall with stained glass windows, expansive chandelier and a real creek running through it.  According to some historians, a visiting President Hoover would catch a fish, bring it back to the kitchen and have staff cook it for him.

A Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is scheduled to open in late 2015, just in time to welcome visitors for the holiday season.  This 82-room, four-floor property includes suites, an exterior patio area with a fire pit, outdoor swimming pool, free parking and wi-fi, and complimentary hot breakfast.  Located off Mission Street on Santa Cruz’s westside, the Fairfield Inn & Suites is one of the first hotels visitors coming into town southbound from Highway 1 will find.  Within walking distance to Natural Bridges State Beach, scenic West Cliff Drive, and Surf City Vintners wine tasting rooms, this property also boasts 900 square feet of meeting room space, a contemporary design and elegant glass walls with exterior views.

Hyatt Place will be located within walking distance to Downtown Santa Cruz, the beach, and Kaiser Permanente Arena.  With 106 rooms including suites, the property includes a fitness center, Wi-Fi, partial breakfast and ocean views from the 3rd and 4th floors.  This 100,000-square foot mid-service property will offer underground valet parking, a pool, hot tub, business center, lounge, and over 1500 square feet of conference space divisible into two conference spaces.  A breakout exterior patio will add an additional 1,000 square feet of meeting space.

Six properties throughout Santa Cruz County are undergoing renovations as well.

In Capitola, the former Harbor Lights Motel – now called the Capitola Beach Suites – overlooking Capitola Beach – will receive a $1 million remodel, including a rooftop patio for social gatherings.  The rooftop space will feature an outdoor fireplace, lounge chairs and a glass wall, providing unobstructed views of the Monterey Bay.  This 10-room boutique motel will also receive a new façade and sport terra cotta and marine blue Mediterranean-rich colors, complete with balconies.  Each room will feature a full kitchen with granite counters and updated bathrooms.

In Santa Cruz, the Chaminade Resort and Spa began a $7.9 million renovation in the fall of 2015 including remodeling, renovations, and upgrades to the property, slated for completion in January 2016.  The two-month project includes eleven guestroom villas consisting of 156 guestrooms and corridors which will receive a fresh, new look and feel, reflecting the eclectic, bohemian style from the local artisan community.

Working on 50 rooms at a time, the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley is renovating all 174 guestroom and suites and converted three breakout rooms into additional lodging, increasing the room count to 178 guestrooms and suites.  The contemporary design will be incorporated into the complete overhaul of the restaurant, lounge, lobby, guest hallways, and pre-function spaces.  The pool area was also improved.  This multi-million dollar project will debut in February of 2016.

Located on Mission Street/Highway 1 on the Westside of Santa Cruz, the Mission Inn is renovating all 53 guest rooms to include high-end bedding, and new paint, curtains and furnishings.  An accent wall will be featured in each room, and renovations are expected to be completed by March 2016.  Over the past two years, new drought-resistant landscaping and new exterior paint were also added to the property.

At the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, the city’s only full-service seaside hotel, the property’s pool – overlooking Cowell Beach – will be renovated beginning next year.  The upgrade will accompany a hotel-wide renovation of guest rooms, and public spaces.

The Seascape Beach Resort in Aptos is undergoing a three-part renovation.  Beginning in fall 2015, 90 two-bedroom, two-bath villas will receive bathroom upgrades to include new shower and tub enclosures, tile floors and walls; vanities, sinks, faucets, mirrors, light fixtures, towel racks, and paint.  This $2.2 million refurbishment will bring a natural, clean look to the décor.  In the fall of 2016, 52 two-bedroom villas will undergo living and dining room renovations including new barstools, dining tables and chairs, end tables, sitting chairs, light fixtures, cocktail tables, and art work. The second phase of this $750,000 refurbishment will continue the organic, natural, yet sophisticated modern beach style the resort is known for.  Additionally, 84 studio and one bedroom suites will undergo kitchen and bathroom remodels with new kitchen cabinets and counter tops, refrigerators, stove tops, microwave ovens, dish washers, and ceiling lights.  Bathrooms will receive new tub enclosures, tile walls, vanity counter tops, faucets, mirrors, lights, towel racks, and artwork, a $1.2 million improvement.


For more information, please call the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council, 831.425.1234 or visit


A private, non-profit corporation, the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (CVC) exists to enhance tourism and the economy by positioning Santa Cruz County as a visitor, conference and film destination. For more information, contact the CVC at 831-425-1234 or 800-833-3494.  Or visit the CVC’s web site at



“Let’s Cruz” into Fall in Santa Cruz County

Filed under: Media Releases — admin @ 3:48 pm

Contact:  Christina Glynn, Communications Director/Film Commissioner Phone: 831.425.1234 ext.112, email:

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA – The fall season is the best-kept secret among locals. Although barbecue grills and bathing suits have been put into storage until next season, summer continues for visitors in-the-know. Citing fewer crowds, amazing hotel deals and some of the year’s best weather, the autumn months are packed full of things to do for locals and visitors. And this fall, the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council (CVC) encourages visitors to take a peek at the fall festivals that are lined up this season:

September 11 -13, 2015
Santa Cruz Greek Food and Cultural Festival
The 35th annual, award-winning street festival is jam-packed with delicious Greek dishes, yummy desserts, Kafenio, Greek wine & spirits. Live bouzouki band and dancing makes for a fun, family friendly event in downtown Santa Cruz. Admission- free. Fri. 5-10 pm, Sat. 11 am-10 pm, Sun. 12 pm-8 pm.
Location: 223 Church St., between Cedar & Center, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831.429.6500

September 16 – 20, 2015
Santa Cruz County Fair
Six days of fun and festivities, including a large carnival. Safe, fun and affordable. Wed. – Fri. noon – 11pm; Sat. 10am – 11pm; Sun. 10am – 10pm.
Location: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds (2601 East Lake Ave., off Hwy. 152), Watsonville
Phone: 831.724.5671

September 12 – 13, 2015
33rd Annual Capitola Art & Wine Festival
22 Wineries, gourmet food, fine art, entertainment, children’s art area. Admission free in Capitola Village By The Sea. Free. 10am – 6pm.
Location: Capitola Village, Capitola
Phone: 831.475.6522

September 13, 2015
Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz Triathlon
The IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz triathlon features a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. The race starts on the Santa Cruz Main Beach east of the wharf. Athletes will then begin the bike course at Depot Park as they head out on a scenic tour of the California coastline. From there, athletes will take on a scenic out and back run course that passes around the Natural Bridges State Park and Wilder Ranch State Park with the turnaround on the ocean bluffs before returning to finish in front of the main stage at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Location: Santa Cruz Main Beach
Phone: 303.444.4316

September 19, 2015
Mole & Mariachi Festival
Come and enjoy outdoor festival with local artists, food, wine and activities for kids! FREE. 11am – 5pm.
Location: Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831.429.1840

September 24 – 26, 2015
Monterey Bay Birding Festival
Come see 200 species of birds in one of the world’s most picturesque areas of California on the Monterey Bay. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, various locations. 6am – 9pm.
Location: 275 Main St., Watsonville

October 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 2015
Open Studios Art Tour
Explore the hidden world of art! Visit artists in their studios, learn about their processes, purchase original works of art. Mobile app and printed guide have artist information and maps. 11am – 5pm.
Location: Various locations, Santa Cruz County
Phone: 831.475.9600

September 5, 2015
Wings Over Watsonville

Fun, family-friendly and FREE! Friday night kids movie – Friday and Saturday fly-in arrivals. Discounted AVGAS, food vendors, historic and antique aircraft, aerial demonstrations and much, much more! 8am – 6pm.
Location: Watsonville Airport, 100 Aviation Way, Watsonville, CA
Phone: 831.763.5600

October 11, 2015 

Monte Foundation Fireworks Extravaganza
A wonderful family event featuring entertainment and a fireworks display. Check website for time.
Location: Capitola Wharf, Capitola
Phone: 831.685.3317

October 10 – 11, October 17 – 18, October 24 – 25, October 31, November 1, 2015
Thomas and Percy’s Halloween Party™
Announcing the tour’s most exciting year ever as hit entertainment debuts talking Thomas the Tank Engine and Thomas’ best friend Percy! Dress up for Halloween with favorites Thomas and Percy, for a 20 minute train ride, entertainment, and fun filled activities for the entire family. Activities include: Temporary Tattoos, Face Painting, Story Telling, Videos, Train Play Tables, Pick a Pumpkin (small pumpkins for little ones), Cookie decorating, photos with Sir Topham Hatt, Thomas store and entertainment. Check website for specific times.
Location: Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton
Phone: 831.335.4484

October 24, 2015
Chili Cook-Off at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Bring your appetite & join the fun as both professional & amateur chefs compete! 10-4pm, Tasting starts at 1pm.
Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831.423.5590

October 24, 2015
The Missing Arm of William Waddell
History takes a tall tale twist as the saga of this early pioneer unfolds. The silly, slightly haunting tours around the redwood loop trail. Featuring music,storytelling and “Ranger Apples” around the campfire. All participants must register at Park Headquarters (registration opens at 6:30 pm). FREE 7pm.
Location: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek
Phone: 831.338.8883

November 7 -8, 2015
Santa Cruz Sea Glass & Ocean Art Festival
Featuring genuine sea glass and artist-made creations while benefiting our local marine environment. Held in the historic Cocoanut Grove Ballroom at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 10am – 5pm each day. The festival features over 40 artists, a free raffle, great food, full cash bar and a $1000 prize piece contest.
Location: Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831.332.7188

November 21, 2015
Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Passport Program
Your chance to visit wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains not normally open to the public. Taste wine & have a great time. Check website for time.

Location: Various Wineries, Santa Cruz Mountains
Phone: 831.685.VINE (8463)

November 28, 2015
Capitola’s Surfin’ Santa
Santa & his reindeer surf into Capitola Beach. Bring your Christmas list to review with Santa. Candy Canes for everyone! Free. Noon .
Location: Capitola Beach, Capitola Village
Phone: 831.475.6522

For more information about events taking place during fall, visit or call 800.833.3494.

About the CVC: A private, non-profit corporation, the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (CVC) exists to enhance tourism and the economy by positioning Santa Cruz County as a visitor, conference and film destination. For more information, contact the CVC at 831.425.1234 . Or visit the CVC’s web site at

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303 Water Street, Suite 100
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
800.833.3494 or 831.425.1234