The Travel Forecast

June 27, 2019

Visit Santa Cruz County Attends 2019 IPW

Visit Santa Cruz County staff attended the U.S. Travel Association’s annual IPW Travel Trade show, held in Anaheim June 1st – 5th.  Continuing the momentum VSCC has gained with travel trade and media relations efforts abroad, participation in IPW is critical to maintaining an international presence for Santa Cruz County as a travel destination. This is the ninth year Visit Santa Cruz County has participated in this premier trade and media show.  VSCC’s international marketing programs are supported by the Tourism Marketing District, and are designed to expand Santa Cruz County’s presence in the international market and exposure with key tour operators and media abroad.

Sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association, IPW is the leading international inbound travel trade show, driving $4.7 billion in future travel to the United States. Visit California’s presence at IPW works to attract tour operators and international media to the various destinations around the state.  IPW secures U.S. position as a foremost global travel destination by increasing international visitation and showing the world the best of what the country has to offer.

International tourism delegates from 70 countries attended IPW this year, with more than 1,200 suppliers from US travel destinations, attractions, and hotels meeting with 1,500 international and domestic travel buyers in a series of prescheduled appointments.  Director of Sales and Marketing Laura Manriquez met with 44 tour operators from the UK, Germany, and Australia over the course of three days.  During Media Marketplace, held on Monday, June 3rd, Communications Director Christina Glynn hosted meetings with 20 targeted journalists, editors, and freelancers from UK, German, Australian, and Canadian media outlets.

Statistics show that IPW generates $4 billion worth of travel for the host state in the 3-5 years following the show.  IPW 2019 will be California’s tenth time hosting this event.

International Tour Operators and Journalists Experience Santa Cruz County During Post-IPW Fam Tour

A key element of the California experience for IPW suppliers – tour operators and international media – is the opportunity to participate in the annual IPW post-FAM program, hosted by Visit California in partnership with the industry around the state.  Through a series of 12 individually-themed familiarity tours, 400 international trade and media partners from around the world had the chance to experience a variety of destinations, and Santa Cruz County was on the itinerary!

Fifteen tour operators and fifteen international journalists participated in the Bay or Bust post-IPW fam tour of San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz beginning on Thursday, June 6th and ending on Monday, June 10th.  On Sunday, June 9th, the group arrived at Roaring Camp Railroads for a steam train ride followed by lunch.  A short ride away, the Inn at Pasatiempo awaited the guests, who enjoyed a tour of the property and free time to freshen up before departing to the Santa Cruz Harbor and embarking on a sailing excursion with Chardonnay Sailing Charters .  The evening concluded on Seabright State Beach with a bonfire featuring s’mores made with Mutari Chocolate

This mix of 3 and 4-night itineraries throughout the state were designed to inspire new itinerary development, spark story ideas and build buzz for the rich diversity of brag-worthy travel moments awaiting global visitors in destinations like Santa Cruz County. Together, over members of both international and domestic travel trade and media were hosted throughout California over the course of four days:   the largest scaled FAM opportunity Visit California has hosted.

Since international marketing efforts began, VSCC has seen an increase of international visitation from 7 percent to over 13 percent.  An increase of individual agreements between Santa Cruz County hotels and inbound receptive tour operators have been facilitated by the 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 Santa Cruz area hotels and UK and European travel companies. 

Santa Cruz County Featured in Visit California’s ‘California 101’ Road Trip Series 

VSCC worked closely with Visit California in May, when a production team was in-market to film a segment for a statewide campaign in line with the state’s domestic marketing and promotional efforts.  First launched in January 2018, this new digital video series, California 101 is housed on Visit California’s Dream365TV network and also viewable on YouTube, the series includes 35 videos that are categorized into five themes: Beach, National Parks, Road Trips, Resorts, and “5 Amazing Things to Do In…” designed to promote the destinations along the 400,000 miles of roadways and 840 miles of coastline reachable throughout the state.  Approximately 80 percent of domestic visitors to Santa Cruz County arrive by car from within a three-hour drive radius, so this latest effort is well-suited for our region. 

The series is designed to showcase both iconic destinations and hidden gems throughout the state, and is an SEO data-driven program that delivers informative “how-to” content, answering the most frequently asked questions about California travel. The combination of beautiful, compelling and fast-paced videos with insightful articles full of useful information and links, is designed to entice consumers searching for California information.

While in town, the crew filmed with Kayak Connection, the Santa Cruz Dream Inn at the Jack O’Neill Restaurant and Lounge, at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum and Lighthouse Point, and at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

So far, the campaign has resulted in more than 2.2 million views and 35 videos that span all 12 regions in California.  Visit California will distribute and promote these videos globally via, Dream365TV, YouTube, e-newsletters, social media channels and the travel trade.

Research shows that California is the most talked about state in road trip conversations online, which comes as no surprise given the state’s abundance of Instagrammable moments. Over the past decade, road trips have become the number one vacation choice for family travelers and there has been a 79 percent increase in overseas visitors renting cars. 

Get Ready for California Wine Month!

California Wine Month in September is an opportunity for VSCC to tell the story of our local wineries, winemakers, and tasting rooms with the support of Visit California and the California Wine Institute. VSCC is asking local wine partners to submit activities and events that go beyond tastings and give wine lovers a deeper educational/emotional experience to celebrate the Golden State’s $35.2 billion wine industry. VSCC will use the information for media relations efforts, social media and our website. 

Do you have an idea to share? Tell us about it!

Catch the (Very) Early Bird Registration for 2020 Outlook Forum!

Register early and save $350 on registration for Visit California’s 2020 Outlook Forum, scheduled for February 10 – 11, 2020 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. Early bird registration is $649; after November 22, 2019 registration increases to $999.  Click here for a highlight reel from this year’s event.  See you there!

Recycle, Reuse, Return for free Summer Tours of Recycling Center!

The City of Santa Cruz is offering free summer tours of its recycling center, Thursdays and Fridays July 25 and 25, and August 22 and 23. The 90-minute tours are offered at 10AM and 1PM each day, and provide an opportunity to learn about the complex recycling process. To make a reservation, call 831.420.5593 or email the City of Santa Cruz. More information is available here about city recycling and waste reduction.

A Joyful Experience

Meeting guests’ expectations can be a joyful and creative process for your lodging staff.  Hoteliers are re-thinking the guest experience by breaking down interactions into micro-moments, from planning, arrival, and checkout. Click here to learn more about the Guest Experience Map, a collection of expertise, knowledge and tools designed to plan new experiences visually and which is being adopted by hotels nationwide.


that California makes 81 percent of U.S. wine and is world’s 4th largest producer?