Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Annual San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) Workshop

I try to attend the Annual San Diego Tourism Authority  (SDTA) Workshop workshop about every five years to see how this powerful group evaluate and increases its goals to bring tourist to our region. In general the SDTA is SD City centric, but their remit is the whole of the county. The San Diego Tourism Authority is a private, non-profit, mutual benefit corporation composed of approximately 1,000 member organizations, businesses, local governments, and individuals. Members include lodging, dining, arts & attractions, shopping, and transportation i.e. any company even indirectly involved in tourism. It is funded in part by members and the San Diego Tourism Marketing District (City of SD Lodgings) with City of San Diego Tourism Marketing.(City of SD Economic Development) assessment funds. 

Tourism is the second largest segment of San Diego's economy and employs approximately 180,900 people. SDTA invests $25 million dollars in advertising and promotional programs. Tourists spend $9.9 million and the TOT (Tax on Tourist) raises $246 million of which $180 million in SD City Only. Tourism as revenue is second only to Research/Technology/Innovation in our region. This is another good reason to combine both in STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education. 

With 80 on staff a large part of their business is bringing large meetings and conventions into our centers and hotels. They do this by showing perspective decision makers, how fabulous the area is climate, hotels, restaurants and especially attractions like Sea World and the SD Zoo not to forget the 85 art institutions. A terrific program is called Kids Free in October. Over 40 museums are allowing kids 12 or under in for free with a paid adult for the whole month. 

The Brand they are promoting is San Diego Owns a Sunny Outlook and The People + The Place + The Climate = Inspired Optimism.  SDTA’s stance is that San Diego is different from LA because we are authentic and collaborative. Climate is important but also the people and the natural and built environment. What is surprising is that it is the we rate 5th in the county for programming which is a big part supplied by the arts. 

They very cleverly are starting an award program for hotel (Rancho Bernardo Inn) and sales person (Rachel Strong) who performs outstanding services for the quarter, sort of an Art Prize for Tourism.

The media breakout was cancelled but the B2B (Business to Business) Social Marketing panel was interesting thanks to industry panelists including special guests Tyler Anderson, and Stephanie Liu well versed on facebook, Instagram, twitter, and SDTA's Ernie Rossow, National Sales Director  and Nick Karvounis, B2B Content Editor. Introductions for all the presenters below were made by Dave Mering. We were also treated to this video of him seeing all three attractions which was a real hoot. Here are a few tips I picked up:

  • In postings, be yourself, have fun, tell your story and your history
  • Drill down on your hash tags, from the large audience to the individual interest
  • Use video to go behind the scene for more interest
  • If you use paid ads on facebook, make sure your placement is not on the side rail but in the Newsfeed
  • Reach out for additional curated posted from others on topic

It was interesting to see that the attractions are all taking on cause marketing. Legoland Empowers Children. The Zoo save endangered species and Sea World is in the middle of re-inventing itself as an educational institution concentrating on the oceans. 

Here are links to the presentations followed by links to the info they gave us on flash drives for anyone who wants to dive deeper.
  • San Diego Tourism Authority, Kerri Kapich
  • Port of San Diego, Karen Porteous – great new resort projects in both National City and Chula Vista will be considered outside public living rooms.  The bridge lights on Coronado Bridge are back on track.
  • San Diego Airport, Thella Bowens  - yes, Terminal 1 is being upgraded and then replace entirely for $1.5 billion. She also acknowledged how much the art de-stresses the travel experience.
    * Airport Presentation
    * Thella's Notes
  • San Diego Zoo, Ted Molter  - The new Watering Hole at the Safari park will be promoted for weddings and parties. Africa Rocks is a brand new display.
  • SeaWorld San Diego, Barbara Drahl
  • Legoland, Peter Kock, director of marketing - The last time I visited, Logoland was rather small and seemed a joy only for 5 year olds. They have added attractions every year like Star Wars coming 2017 and now have a hotel like a proper resort and are building another hotel and expanding parking.  I was impressed that one of the three attractions presented was in Carlsbad.