CTTC Rural Tourism Program Efforts At the January 2009 Commission meeting, there was a Commissioner recommendation that CTTC “do more” to promote tourism in rural California. In order for all CTTC stakeholders to make an informed decision regarding the appropriate strategic direction for rural tourism development by CTTC, staff have prepared a background document and a recommendation for ongoing discussions. Background The Rural Tourism Program was developed during the 1990s to assist rural tourism regions with their regional marketing efforts. Over the years, the Office of Tourism has allocated anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 in hopes of creating fully self-sufficient Regional Marketing Groups, as demonstrated by the Shasta Cascade and Central Coast regions. Mostly recently, CTTC has allocated $30,000. It should be noted that assessed revenues from the rural regions of California are approximately $2.3 million, or about 5% of CTTC’s $50 million budget. The goal of these allocations is to provide seed funding for these regional organizations, to be a catalyst toward encouraging local and county destination organizations to leverage their efforts and resources to market their respective regions. There has been interest among the constituency to have CTTC increase the funding levels to the Regional Marketing Groups. However, CTTC has not seen the increased levels of participation to warrant allocation of additional funding, as per the co-op guidelines stated below. It should also be noted that CTTC currently funds each Regional Marketing Group with $30,000, which is secured by a formal contract outlining the criteria that each group must deliver in order to receive their funding (See Attachment A, California Tourism Rural Regional Cooperative Partnership Agreement). The criteria was developed by the Rural Tourism Council and ratified two years ago with the understanding that the match would grow to be in line with the CTTC Cooperative Marketing Program Guidelines (which at this time stipulate a 3:1 match). The Rural Regional Program is an effort between California Tourism and regional destination management organizations throughout rural California. By participating in this rural co-op program, destinations of all sizes can stretch their tourism dollars while partnering with successful state-branded promotions in domestic and international markets. The intent is for this funding to be highly leveraged beyond the 60/40 (CTTC=60/Regional Group=40) match that the Regional Marketing Groups currently enjoy. However, most groups only match the bare minimum of funds. Strategic Planning Two years ago, CTTC reinstated the Rural Tourism Development Manager position, currently held by Jonelle Tannahill, that had been lost with the demise of the Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency. Since that time, the Rural Tourism Development Manager has assisted many rural destinations and Regional Marketing Groups with their marketing efforts, brought additional stakeholders into the program, and provided numerous hours of technical assistance and support. Prior to CTTC’s allocation of this additional resource, two rural regions were not using their funding, two were using all of their funding, and the others used only portions of the funding allocated. Additionally, a $50,000 matching funds award was added to the Rural Tourism Program Budget two years ago to encourage regional marketing groups to look at ways to further leverage their funds with other regional marketing groups. Several important multi-regional projects have been completed with this additional funding, including international marketing programs, multi-regional marketing materials and most recently, the California Mobile Welcome Center Airstream project. The Airstream has embarked on a California Getaway Tour, a tourism marketing program that the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association has produced in conjunction with other sponsors to benefit all of the rural regions of California. Two years ago, Commissioner Anderson suggested that CTTC’s 5-year Strategic Marketing Plan specifically profile a dedicated Rural Tourism Plan. A professionally facilitated industry-wide discussion was held with local representatives, cultural and heritage tourism representatives, public lands, and California Welcome Centers (CWCs), which resulted in a Rural Tourism Strategic Plan. Rural Tourism Strategic Plan Goals: • To promote rural California • To promote and facilitate local partnerships • To develop a viable public-private rural tourism collaboration • To integrate public and commercial Web sites to optimize collaboration • To encourage increased visitation and length of stay in rural markets • To develop and sustain programs for participation by the smallest stakeholders • To support and synchronize with all California Welcome Centers All CTTC programs, events, opportunities and projects include or are open to rural attractions and destinations. In fact, the images, locations, places, destinations and attractions CTTC uses in all its programs and events are predominately rural in nature. Advertising & Cooperative Marketing Programs • The “umbrella” brand advertising spot, “Work,” features predominately rural destinations. • The Land of Wine and Food Campaign, including the “You’ll Be Back” spot, print advertising and dedicated Web site, is also predominately rural. • The winter sports spot, “Ambitious,” and winter recreation Web page are exclusively rural. • The themes (images, content, maps, destinations, attractions) of the cooperative marketing inserts are predominately rural. • California Web sites both domestically and internationally devote extensive content to the eight rural tourism regions. • The activity-based cooperative marketing programs are predominately rural (Shop California, California Fun Spots, Golf California and California State Parks). The domestic TV media spend for 2008-2009 is $13.2 million, which includes national cable and a spot market buy in the Western feeder markets (Seattle, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Las Vegas) as well as additional spot markets through our Southwest Airlines partnership (Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Denver). CTTC’s Canada TV media spend for 2008- 2009 is an additional $1.9 million on national cable networks and is running both the “Work” and “You’ll Be Back” spots. All of the CTTC commercial spots feature rural destinations: • “Work” (brand spot): Lake Tahoe and Santa Barbara. • “Ambitious” (snow spot): North and South Lake Tahoe and Mammoth. • “You’ll Be Back” (wine and food spot): Mendocino County, San Ynez Valley and Sonoma County. An additional $1.2 million was spent on print brand advertising ($814,882) and co-op inserts ($377,930) in 2008-2009. There were 195 mentions of rural destinations in the combined print pieces over the past year and a half. There are 17 Shop California partners and an additional nine Fun Spots partners that are all in the rural regions. In the California Golf Guide, (a 64-page guide,) 29 pages of editorial feature destinations within the rural regions, an ad- equivalent value of $110,000. California Publications Rural editorial within CTTC print publications has an ad-equivalent value of $3.2 million. California Road Trips is more than two-thirds rural. Both Road Trips and the California Visitor’s Guide include all 12 tourism regions, eight of them rural. Publication Distribution Editorial Ad-Equivalent Pgs Value 2009 CA Visitor’s 500,000 copies distributed 65 $2,132,470 Guide annually; 100,000 downloads of the digital version 2008 Road Trips 500,000 inserted into the June 8 $271,520 edition of Sunset magazine; 500,000 distributed direct to consumers at key travel destinations including all CWCs 2008 215,000 copies distributed to 24 $814,560 International overseas travel trade and Guides (nine) consumers Web Exposure on VisitCalifornia.com On average, the CTTC Web site generates 179,000 unique visitors a month with over 945,000 page views. There are 2,418 total dedicated rural pages on VisitCalifornia.com, an estimated ad-equivalent value of $85,000. The rural content on those pages also includes: 71 Trip Ideas 271 Inside Scoops 102 Must Sees 179 Events 43 Home Page hero panels (out of a total 72 panels) 120 Featured Pages 1,612 Featured Hotel & other travel packages 20 Keyword links from the online CVG Much of the content on visitcalifornia.com is generated by partners through the Content Submission Tool on tourism.visitcalifornia.com. In fact, over 1,300 items have been submitted in the past six months and added to CTTC Web sites globally. Additionally, to drive traffic to visitcalifornia.com, CTTC has invested $307,000 into a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) program, of which an estimated $204,000 of the buy has rural and rural related keywords that drive traffic to the rural pages within visitcalifornia.com. Communications Programs Individual/Group Fams While there is never a guarantee that a journalist will produce a story based on his/her fam trip to any region, it is a safe assumption that a story will be developed based on a visit. Often, one trip can yield several stories from each attending journalist. It should be noted that when CTTC is involved in facilitating a fam, the journalist must be visiting more than one destination and typically more than one region. Based on the caliber of the media outlet and the length of each segment or story, a single fam-related media placement can result in an ad-equivalency ranging from $9,000 for a story in the Fort-Worth Star telegram, to more than $70,000 for a mention in USA Today. Based on the journalist’s story ideas, CTTC continually sends media to experience California’s rural regions. Desk Sides Much like fam trips, coverage resulting from a desk-side meeting is never guaranteed. But in today’s fast-paced media environment, face-to-face meetings with journalists can yield excellent results as reporters look to their PR contacts for quick, accurate information. CTTC continually promotes rural California on desk-side meetings, as it promotes all of California’s 12 regions. With a newsworthy hook and new information to present, a national desk-side tour could result in coverage such as: • One national newspaper hit – USA Today, $120,000 in ROI • Inclusion in the upfront of a leading travel magazine – Budget Travel, $40,000 in ROI • A story or mention on a leading national Web site’s travel section – Forbes.com, $90,000 in ROI A regional desk side tour could result in: • A story in a regional magazine, such as Via – $30,000 in ROI • A placement in a top daily for that market such as the San Francisco Chronicle - $80,000 in ROI • A placement in a regional daily such as the Sacramento Bee - $30,000 in ROI • A regional daily Web site story like Fresnobee.com - $4,000 in ROI “What’s New in California” Newsletter Today’s shrinking newsrooms have forced journalists to spend less and less time researching travel stories. The “What’s New” newsletter provides media with a one-stop-shop for California travel information, making story generation quicker and easier. And because the newsletter reaches more than 3,000 journalists with every distribution, a single newsletter mention can lead to multiple coverage possibilities. Each issue of “What’s New” is created entirely from partner-generated content – including coverage of each of the eight rural regions, if supplied. Media Marketplace Events Marketplace events, like desk-sides, allow participants to forge relationships with travel journalists who are often pressed for time at their jobs and in search of go-to sources for tourism information. With average media attendance ranging from 55-100 journalists dependent upon the event’s media market size, the marketplace events provide participants with the chance to have face-to-face conversations with leading travel journalists they might never meet otherwise. Persuading just two attending freelance journalists to write about your destination could lead to placements in publications like the San Jose Mercury News and 7X7 magazine, with a resulting ROI of more than $30,000. Rural destination and attractions partners are invited to participate as delegates at each of these events. Press Releases CTTC Press Releases are developed by region and theme, the majority of which are rural in nature. It should be noted that content for these releases is typically shared with Sunset Custom Media Solutions for inclusion in the California Visitor’s Guide and development of Web site editorial. Additionally, press release content is sometimes used by Sunset to develop editorial for Sunset magazine and other Sunset travel-related publications. Finally, all relevant content is then defined and added to the California consumer Web sites worldwide for themed editorial, venues, “inside scoops,” “must sees,” etc. Each press release is created entirely from partner-generated content – including coverage of each of the eight rural regions, if supplied. California Welcome Center Program CTTC also supports the California Welcome Centers (CWCs), located predominately in rural areas. Promotions of those assets include a full page of advertising in the California Visitor’s Guide, full page of advertising in California Road Trips, mentions in State Parks Welcome Kit publications, and listings on consumer Web sites worldwide (including “Things To Do,” itineraries, etc.). CTTC Programming Opportunities In order to communicate to the over 5,400 assessed businesses, 900 destination marketing organizations and tens of thousands of other tourism- related stakeholders, CTTC provides the following communications vehicles so that rural regional partners can stay apprised of opportunities on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis: Insights Online (www.cttcinsights.com) Insights, CTTC’s monthly stakeholder newsletter, has a section devoted to the promotion of rural California, and contains thorough coverage of past program results and upcoming program opportunities. Insights also has a California Welcome Center section, cultural heritage information, grant and funding opportunities, and resources. B2B site (http://tourism.visitcalifornia.com) • Marketing Program Planner: Up-to-date information on all upcoming CTTC programs, including deadlines, registration prices, and program details. All of these programs include opportunities for rural destinations and/or rural regional marketing group participation – many for free or for a nominal fee. • Content Submission Tool: Partners can submit content for PR or Web needs. Given the depth and breadth of content available for exposure by rural California, CTTC relies on its partners to input rural regional information. • Research: Rural partners can find much of the information they need to develop their marketing plans, budgets, and justify their existence to their funding partners and stakeholders. • Marketing Plans: Rural Strategic Marketing Plan, 5-year Strategic Marketing Plan and the latest annual Work Plan. • Meeting Materials: You’ll find full reports on our latest activities in each set of Commission meeting materials. • Presentations: Uploaded after each CTTC speaking engagement, including CTTC’s quarterly Commission meetings. • Press Materials: Includes the latest issues of “What’s New” and the latest press releases. Leveraging CTTC Funds CTTC has approved guidelines for staff to use in allocating cooperative marketing funds, which state that CTTC funds now are leveraged 3:1. The rural tourism program does not meet these basic criteria of a 3:1 match. By developing contract criteria for the regional marketing groups, CTTC aims to drive planning and programming, which would ultimately stimulate additional participation and memberships into the regional marketing groups. To best leverage its global $50 million marketing plan to benefit stakeholders across the state, CTTC needs reasonable involvement from its partners. Each and every CTTC program and staffer has embraced the rural tourism product. We are in the first quarter of the second year of the Rural Tourism Strategic Plan, and continue to work toward the goals stated above. Additionally, of the 28 Commissioners currently serving, 12 are from rural regions, and three are rental car companies who have a vested interest in convincing people to drive into rural California. Rural Tourism Video Development Proposal In a follow-up meeting with Commissioner Anderson and discussion with Chair Chapman, it was suggested that CTTC develop a video about what rural tourism in California is. California’s rural tourism is very well defined in our Visitor’s Guide, Web sites, TV spots, print ads, etc. A better option to showcase the importance of rural tourism, thereby increasing public funding for rural California communities and counties, would be to develop a video to garner support and recognition for the need to fund tourism promotion at local, county and regional levels. CTTC created a similar video during the 2007 Referendum with facts, figures, and testimonials on why tourism matters at the local, county and regional levels. With this promotional video supporting the need for their vital industries, rural regional associations and partners will be able to garner support from their stakeholders to continue and even expand their financial commitment. They can also use this to reach out to new groups (arts, wine and food, attractions, etc.), expanding partnerships and networks to further promote rural tourism. Attachment A California Tourism Rural Regional Cooperative Partnership Agreement BACKGROUND INFORMATION The California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) is a non-profit organization, with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with our state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. The rural tourism program has been operating for over 15 years. Through various promotions and program names, including The Californians, and Discover the Californias, CTTC has assisted with the branding and increased awareness of the eight established California Rural Tourism Regions throughout the state. The purpose of the CTTC Rural Regional Cooperative Partnership Agreement is to have regional marketing groups, consisting of CVBs and travel industry stakeholders, work together to extend the destination awareness to the domestic and international markets. Program elements such as: collateral, Web site, advertising, trade shows and other various marketing and cooperative programs are some possible usages for these CTTC Rural Regional Cooperative Partnership funds. In the past 12 years, CTTC has grown and significantly expanded its cooperative programs with the addition of programs such as travel trade shows, media missions, Shop California, Culture California, California Golf and many others. With the elevation of the Rural Marketing Program throughout the Strategic Plan, original and enhanced marketing programs have been developed which anchor and synergize the rural program with the CTTC advertising and marketing programs. In 2007, the CTTC developed a comprehensive five-year Strategic Marketing Plan and Annual Work Plan to guide the organization in meeting its mission: “To promote California as one of the world’s premier travel destinations in order to increase travel- related revenues and tourism employment in California.” The five-year Strategic Marketing Plan was created to help CTTC manage an annual budget of $50 million from 2007 to 2013. The five core strategies of the plan include the following: • Protect and maintain volume in domestic primary markets • Reach new visitors in national opportunity markets • Expand marketing and seasonal coverage to drive year-round visitation • Deepen efforts in primary international markets • Develop technology platform to extend reach and impact Rural tourism has been identified as one of the key programs to support domestic marketing efforts—the first strategy. CTTC identified the following Rural Tourism Program objectives in the Strategic Marketing Plan: • To extend awareness of the eight rural tourism marketing regions • To act as a catalyst to partnership development between stakeholders and regional marketing groups • To facilitate development of fully integrated regional marketing plans with a cohesive approach to incorporate California regional brand into cooperative marketing tactics, public relations opportunities and trade messaging Participants in the Rural Tourism Program must meet the following criteria: Criteria #1: Brand Alignment Programs must align with current brand pillars/initiatives and/or support specific assessed tourism industry segments not already supported by CTTC. Programs must meet industry objectives, expanding reach and influence among leisure travelers domestically and/or internationally. Criteria #2: Integrated Communications Programs must be multimedia (to include print, online, travel trade, PR, direct mail, etc.). Messaging should reflect the CA brand. Criteria #3: Scope • Must be region wide • Must have tiered offerings so that it is viable for all levels of participation • Partnerships can include DMOs assessed and non-assessed businesses This agreement should be viewed as a Cooperative Marketing Partnership Agreement with sponsorship requirements that must be fulfilled in order to obtain specific amounts of funding. Rural issues to be included in the Rural Tourism Program: 1. A complete list of the Board of Directors, including names, addresses, e-mails and Web sites, provided annual to the CTTC. 2. A designated “Communications Officer,” whose role will be to communicate to all regional tourism stakeholders, including the President of the regional association and the designate. 3. Regional organization shall develop, plan and hold in cooperation with the California Cultural and Heritage Tourism Corps (CCHTC) at least one “Region- wide Cultural and Heritage Tourism Forum” inviting all interested parties to participate (see the CCHTC Memorandum of Understanding). In conjunction with this Forum, contractor shall develop a five-year (or more) plan to protect, develop, interpret and promote the CCHTC assets of the region. Contact with local higher learning institution to assist in this effort is recommended. Date, time, location of annual regional tourism forum should be identified as early as possible and should include podium time for CTTC and/or CCHTC. 4. Schedule in advance - date, time and location of all regional meetings and agenda items. Regional organization shall allow for 15 minutes at each meeting for CTTC program updates (by staff or program contractor) at least quarterly to keep membership apprised of statewide programs and opportunities. Example of items we may want to discuss at your regional meeting: Assessment Operations Publications & Web Site International Programs & Opportunities Online booking Engine Media Relations Programs & Opportunities Marketing Programs Meeting minutes shall be forwarded on to Jonelle Tannahill, Tourism Development Manager, and the CTTC Marketing Rep for the region. 5. Regional organization shall provide CTTC with contact information for all tourism stakeholders (members or not) in the region, including but not limited to: • CVBs, CoCs, Arts Commissions, Heritage Societies, etc. • Caltrans District Directors • Regional Transportation Planning Agencies administering Transportation Enhancement Funds • Caltrans Scenic Byways Coordinator • Caltrans Community Affairs Coordinator • State Parks District Directors and Cultural Affairs Liaisons • National Parks Liaisons • State Legislators • County Supervisors • City Managers 6. All collateral developed by the Regional Organization shall denote that the region is sponsored by the CTTC with the following blurb: “In partnership with the California Travel and Tourism Commission and the [Rural Regional Association Name].” 7. All Regional Organization Web sites shall include a logo and link from their respective Web site to the www.visitcalifornia.com Web site. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for linking directions and logo. 8. At the request of CTTC Regional Organization shall assist with new content for refreshing the www.visitcalifornia.com Web site on a no more than a quarterly basis with a 75 word description and photo of the top 10 “Must Sees” of the region to include the name, address, phone number and Web site link for the attraction. Regional organization shall also submit, on a quarterly basis, the top 10 events for the quarter along with a 25 word description, dates/times, phone number, Web site link, etc. Directions will be submitted through e-mail. 9. Region shall facilitate a cooperative marketing effort to participate in a display ad in the Official California Visitor’s Guide or one or more of the following: 1) California Road Trips Guide; 2) Fall Print Insert Program; or 3) California Winter Sports Program. 10. Region shall facilitate a cooperative effort to participate in at least one in-state consumer travel show i.e. Orange County Register Show; Los Angeles Times Show, Sunset Celebration Weekend, or in one of the International Sportsman’s Expos. 11. A region must elect to participate as a partner in the CTTC program for international travel trade or public relations program in Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, or Japan, or in one of the following international shows. Participation will satisfy the complete international marketing requirement. See Marketing Program for complete list • U.S. Travel International Pow Wow • World Travel Market in London • ITB in Berlin • JATA in Japan • CTTC’s Australia Trade and Media Mission • UK/Germany Media Mission 12. Region shall facilitate a cooperative effort to participate in at least one CTTC media event, i.e. See Marketing Program for complete list • Los Angeles • San Francisco • New York 13. Region shall facilitate cooperative efforts to leverage specific activity based cooperative efforts as appropriate. See Marketing Program for complete list. 14. Region shall submit an brief one page annual report on the region’s collaborative marketing efforts, including any available return-on-investment calculations.
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