The Travel Forecast

March 5, 2019

VSCC Kicks Off Spring Marketing Campaign

Visit Santa Cruz County (VSCC) has launched its annual Let’s Cruz Spring Marketing Campaign!  This yearly promotion – which launched on March 1st – is an effort to entice visitors during the pre-season and get consumers thinking about their summer vacation.  The integrated campaign will include a new broadcast  commercial, online marketing campaigns in targeted Bay Area digital outlets, an online promotion with the Outdoor Project, an online video marketing program with Surfline featuring professional Santa Cruz surfer Autumn Hays, and a specialized social media component for 2019.

From now through May 31, 2019, Santa Cruz County fans who log on to can enter the Let’s Cruz Vacation Getaway Contest for a chance to win a two-night stay at the Seascape Beach Resort and a choice of four activities which they can custom-tailor toward their travel preferences.  The contest will also be integrated into VSCC’s social media channels and featured on Twitter, Facebook, and VSCC’s blog.  Weekly giveaways on Facebook will also take place throughout the campaign.

The Grand Prize winner will be able to customize the vacation package with four activity choices, including a tasting at Venus Spirits, stand up paddleboarding at SUP Shack, an Annieglass Craft Bar Experience, kayaking with Kayak Connection, a craft beer tasting at Lupulo Craft Beer House, a massage at Well Within Spa, an excursion with Stagnaro Whale Watching, gift cards for the Crow’s Nest or Shadowbrook restaurants, surfing with Richard Schmidt Surf School, wine tasting at Bargetto Winery, and a spa treatment at Chaminade Resort & Spa.  All prizes will also be given tickets to Roaring Camp Railroads and day passes to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Tickets to Roaring Camp Railroads and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will also be included in the weekly giveaways.  A special prize package will be promoted exclusive to the Boardwalk’s Big Kahuna Club members of a two night stay at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn and a Jack O’Neill Restaurant and Lounge experience, as well as a special prize package for Dogtrekker e-news subscribers of a two-night stay at pet-friendly Chaminade Resort and Spa with breakfast, and passes to Roaring Camp Railroads– a pet-friendly site!

VSCC’s “Let’s Cruz” commercial will be part of a major TV ad campaign focused on targeted drive markets in the Central Valley including Stockton, Modesto and Sacramento in addition to the San Francisco Bay area.  The contest will also be promoted through VSCC’s monthly visitor e-newsletter, targeted on-line marketing strategies, social media and web banner ads on various travel-related web sites. 

The television and online marketing strategies will ensure strong regional exposure to potential travelers within targeted drive markets to Santa Cruz County.  A print ad in the bi-annual special Santa Cruz county section of the San Francisco Chronicle with accompanying banner ad impression campaign on SF Gate website will reach bay area subscribers.  Other online ad campaigns with Via magazine, Bay Area Parent, and Diablo will also be ignited.  And a dedicated Visit California e-newsletter about the spring contest with destination content will be sent to their subscriber list.  Central to the promotion will be a new creative asset, a video featuring professional local surfer Autumn Hays which will be hosted on in which she shares her love of Santa Cruz County.  A presence on Outdoor Project complete with editorial and new creative assets round out the campaign.

These marketing efforts are supported by the Tourism Marketing District.  The Let’s Cruz Vacation Getaway Contest is sponsored by Visit Santa Cruz County and the following partners: Annieglass, Chaminade Resort & Spa, Dream Inn Santa Cruz, Pajaro Dunes Resort, and the Seascape Beach Resort.

Get on the Map with this VSCC Partnership Opportunity

Visit Santa Cruz County announces a high profile opportunity for local businesses to increase their visibility to visitors.  The fifth edition of VSCC’s Santa Cruz County full-color, two-sided map, in an easy-to-read 8 ½ x 17-inch size, features display ads and exclusive distribution of 62,500 copies. 

The VSCC map features Santa Cruz County on one side and the downtown and coastal beach areas on the other side, and is distributed at the Visit Santa Cruz County year-around Visitor Center and at all hotels and motels throughout Santa Cruz County, local rental car agencies, and other key locations, ensuring that businesses will be exposed to an active targeted audience.

Distribution of the map will begin Memorial Day Week:  the start of the high-trafficked summer season.   Display map ad spaces are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For more information, contact Cooperative Marketing Director Gary Green at or at 801-425-1234 ext. 103

Visit Santa Cruz County Has Strong Showing at Smart Meetings

Last month, VSCC Director of Sales and Marketing, Laura Manriquez attended an industry event designed to attract meeting and conference planners to Santa Cruz County, hosted by Smart Meetings magazine and held in San Francisco. An event series that allows meeting planners to network with prospective destination marketing organizations, VSCC has attended Smart Meetings for three years. Visit Santa Cruz County met with meeting and conference planners from General Electric Digital, the University of California, Davis and more.

The day consisted of one-on-one pre-set appointments, a time which allowed for Visit Santa Cruz County staff to meet with organizations to share meeting venue information, promote VSCC teambuilding vendors, and provide activity ideas for corporate groups and conferences. With such close proximity to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Cruz County echoes the innovative pulse of Silicon Valley, with the more personal meeting facilities offering juxtaposition to the intentional campus experience of major tech companies, surrounded by natural beauty of state parks and beaches.

Legislative Day

The California Hotel & Lodging Association will host the annual California Lodging Industry Legislative Action Summit at the Hyatt Sacramento on Tuesday, March, 26, 2019.  Held in conjunction with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns, local tourism and lodging industry leaders are encouraged to participate in this legislative summit. For more information and to register, click here

Water Safety for Summer

The “Toilet Bowl” is a small, narrow cove next to Santa Cruz’s famous Steamer Lane surf spot and one of the most dangerous places to swim in California. Check out this short film from the City of Santa Cruz and learn about the cove and why Santa Cruz lifeguards warn against entering it on even the calmest of days.

Brookdale Lodge Featured in California Now Blog as Launch Expands to UK

Visit California has announced that the California Now Blog has packed its bags and headed across the pond to the UK for the launch of the state’s newest digital platform, California Now UK. – which includes the Santa Cruz area in various destination stories.  The historic Brookdale Lodge is featured in a “Spooky Places to Stay” roundup, and a “Santa Cruz to Big Sur” road trip story includes other VSCC partners and local points of interest.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

With technology now part of the travel-planning experience, hoteliers must ensure that their online presence is compliant with the  Americans with Disability Act (ADA).  Specifically, the compliance ensures that “click-by” lawsuits be avoided.  The ADA Title III and WCAG 2.0 Level AA Compliance applies to online content, reservation system, electronic media, and mobile applications and the law states that websites need to be accessible to people who have disabilities that affect their hearing, vision or physical capacities.


that According to new travel research,  the U.S. travel market – which was projected to grow a healthy 5% in 2018 – is expected to remain steady in 2019 with consumer confidence and spending remaining high.  Airlines saw an increase of nearly 5 percent in the first half of 2018, and hotels experienced record-breaking performance in the first two quarters.