County tourism organizations win three state awards

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Visit San Luis Obispo County, City of San Luis Obispo and CA Highway 1 Discovery Route recognized

Savor crowd shot

Sunset Savor the Central Coast, owned by Visit San Luis Obispo County, was the winner of the 2016 Visit California Poppy Award in the category of Best Public Relations Campaign, under $20,000.

– Visit San Luis Obispo County, the City of San Luis Obispo Tourism Business Improvement District, and California Highway 1 Discovery Route were recognized during biennial tourism awards from statewide tourism agency Visit California. The organizations were given the Visit California Poppy Award for efforts in marketing, public relations and community service.

Visit California—the official statewide tourism agency—grants its Poppy Award during even-numbered years, distinguishing the “best and brightest” of California tourism promotion. Tourism organizations are honored and selected by a panel of industry marketing professionals in ten categories including: Best Overall Marketing Program, Best Digital Campaign, Best Social Media Campaign, Best Public Relations Campaign and Commitment to Community.

“San Luis Obispo County was well represented at the Poppy Awards,” said President & CEO of Visit San Luis Obispo County Chuck Davison. “For our county to receive three out of ten statewide tourism awards is quite an achievement and really speaks to how far tourism promotion has come in San Luis Obispo County. The honor is amplified because we are being recognized by our peers.”

The Poppy Award for Best Overall Marketing Program was awarded to the City of San Luis Obispo and BCA+StudioGood for its tourism campaign in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. San Luis Obispo’s tourism promotion underwent a complete makeover during this time, including new logos and creative for print and digital advertising. The “It Means Something Different Here” campaign, refreshed ShareSLO campaign and multi-faceted strategy utilized digital, traditional, social and earned media, as well as face-to-face interaction and strategic partnerships. This campaign was funded and overseen by the City of San Luis Obispo’s Tourism Business Improvement District. Through the campaign, San Luis Obispo’s hotels saw a 12.3-percent increase in transient occupancy tax and dramatic boosts in other key indicators over the first 12 months of the program.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our tourism marketing efforts by California’s official tourism promotion organization,” said Nipool Patel, co-owner of the Lamplighter Inn and chair of the City of San Luis Obispo’s TBID board of directors. “The ‘It Means Something Different Here’ campaign captures the essence of San Luis Obispo and resonated with travelers and Visit California.”

The Poppy Award for Commitment to Community was presented to the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route’s Stewardship Travel Program, which was developed to meet the challenges of integrating sustainability, environmental education and natural resource conservation with the impact of promoting increased tourism throughout its 10 destinations in unincorporated San Luis Obispo County. Di Strachan, the agency’s stewardship travel program director, coordinated the 70 preservation-and-conservation-oriented program experiences, education and donation opportunities so visitors can connect with the land, wildlife, history, people and culture of the places they visit. As a result, the destination leaders, residents, and businesses are learning to view tourism as an opportunity for locals and tourists to connect within the communities they love, and appreciate nature and attractions as resources to enjoy, protect and preserve. The program is promoted through public relations, advertising and social media by the program’s core marketing firms Mental Marketing and TJA.

“The Stewardship Travel Program helps deepen the connection between tourists, locals and non-profits supporting conservation and/or preservation,” said Cheryl Cuming, administrator for unincorporated San Luis Obispo County Tourism Business Improvement District. “We are thrilled that Visit California also sees the importance of connecting tourism and a commitment to community. We are so honored to be awarded for our CBID board’s vision to positively connect our tourism promotional efforts to the care of, and connection to, our environment and natural resources.”

Sunset Savor the Central Coast, owned by Visit San Luis Obispo County, was the winner of the 2016 Visit California Poppy Award in the category of Best Public Relations Campaign, under $20,000. The event was submitted to Visit California by Black Ink PR, who worked in partnership with Visit San Luis Obispo County on the 2014 Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast event, garnering more than 304 million media impressions.

Sunset Savor the Central Coast is San Luis Obispo County’s signature food, wine and lifestyle event, showcasing the best in local cuisine and award-winning wines. In 2016, the event will be going on the road, creating an even larger impact throughout California and in regional feeder markets.



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