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Majestic Mountain Loop wins Best Idea Award


September 23, 2013                                                   CONTACT: Teresa Stephenson (916) 443-9012
                                                                                                info@wacvb.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Western CVBs Take Top Honors Among Peers Best Idea Program Achievement Awards


Four convention and visitors bureaus received achievement awards in a recent competition with their

colleagues from the West. Sponsored by the Western Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus

(WACVB), the annual Best Idea Program showcases innovative projects and creative marketing

strategies as submitted by WACVB members.


This year’s Best Idea Program awards were presented during the 2013 WACVB Annual Conference,

September 18-20, in Los Angeles.


Following receipt of the entry forms, a Board-appointed Task Force reviewed the submissions and

selected several ideas for presentation. Representatives presented their best ideas during the 

conference.


WACVB congratulates the following member bureaus for receiving outstanding achievement awards for

their organizations in the 2013 WACVB Best Idea Program.


• Albuquerque (NM) Convention & Visitors Bureau Project Title: Breaking Bad Tourism


The popular AMC television series Breaking Bad is set and filmed in Albuquerque. Film tourism has

continued to grow as an attraction for destinations across the country. The Albuquerque CVB was

cautious to make any connection throughout the early seasons of Breaking Bad because of the dark

subject matter of the show. The show’s popularity has spawned national and international interest

in the show setting—Albuquerque. The challenge of film tourism is that there must be a solid

visitor experience in the destination for the CVB to be able to promote it to travelers. The ABQ

Trolley Co., a local city tour company, launched a BaD Tour themed around locations from the show

in 2012 and the industry took off. ACVB was able to help promote this tour along with other

Breaking Bad-themed products and experiences that were being developed by enterprising local

businesses. The basic strategy was to create a central portal to find out about Albuquerque’s

Breaking Bad film tourism offerings. The bureau supported the tourism offerings by highlighting all

of the positive things being said about Albuquerque by cast/producer interviews into one place on

the ACVB website. This page also contained the growing list of products and tours related to

Breaking Bad around Albuquerque, which were optimized through SEO. The CVB worked with its PR

agency to develop a pitch related to film tourism and specifically Breaking Bad and to invite

journalists to come to Albuquerque to experience it firsthand. The CVB created

www.ItsATrip.org/BreakingBad. It highlights products and tours related to Breaking Bad in

Albuquerque, quotes related to the show being filmed in Albuquerque and media mentions related to

Breaking Bad tourism. Despite being concerned with the notion of “Breaking Bad tourism,” Sony

Television granted permission for ACVB to include a Breaking Bad image and story in the 2013

Albuquerque Visitors Guide as one of the top 10 reasons to visit this year. The ACVB and its PR

agency developed a media pitch to attract attention for the destination based on the film theme.

The Bureau hosted journalists on individual and group media visits. The ACVB printed 200 t-shirts

that were distributed during the premiere of the second half of Season 5 in August 2013. The

t-shirts read:


“Albuquerque + Breaking Bad. We’ve bonded.” They are now selling the t-shirts for wholesale and

retail purchase. The t-shirt included a hash tag and ACVB’s twitter handle. The hash tag #BrBaABQ

and a webpage at www.BrBaABQ.com highlighted all of the connections between the city and the show.


•    Aspen (CO) Chamber Resort Association Project Title: Defy Ordinary


In late 2010, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association staff members were charged with launching a

rebranding campaign for Aspen. While Aspen is well known, many people have preconceived notions of

what a vacation to Aspen would entail. The goal was to show the true soul of the town, the people

and places that make it the community that it is, and differentiate ourselves from other

mountain-town destinations. The resort association staff interviewed more than 30 locals for an

hour each and got to  the core of what Aspen meant to them. In 2011, the Aspen Defy Ordinary

campaign was launched. The brand film conveys the essence of this campaign:

http://www.aspenchamber.org/defy-ordinary/. The next steps were to integrate the brand throughout

the resort. First, the website homepage received a facelift by incorporating the branding as well

as upgrading the page to include a huge hero image. Also on the website, Defy Ordinary itineraries

were created to inspire travelers when they were planning their vacations:

http://www.aspenchamber.org/defy-ordinary/itineraries/; and interviewed local personalities to get

their top five summer and winter recommendations: http://www.aspenchamber.org/defy- 

ordinary/get-local/. Digital and print advertising was designed to convey the Defy Ordinary brand

promise and the destination’s social media presence was expanded to Defy Ordinary in the social

space as well. The four in-town visitor centers also received a redesign to align with the brand.

Updates include new imagery, information displays and onsite iPads. For summer 2013, a time-lapse

video titled “Summer in Aspen: Day to Night Defy Ordinary Time Lapse” was launched to show the breadth of

offerings in Aspen https://vimeo.com/65772934. The staff plans to continue to evolve campaigns with

the Defy Ordinary premise; future ideas include an overhaul of the Guest Service program, a Defy

Ordinary Wedding Sweepstakes giveaway, an International component, and strategic partnerships with

national or international brands.


•    Visit Mendocino County (CA) Project Title: Director of Barketing


Visit Mendocino County (VMC) contracted for a Director of Barketing from 2010 to 2013. Hairy

Putter, a canine terrier, joined the team to assist in the promotion and development of

pet-friendly travel throughout Mendocino County. Hairy hosts his own blog, reviewing wineries,

restaurants, hotels, attractions, beaches, etc. in the eyes of a canine to highlight the

“pet-friendliness” of the destination.


The blog was used throughout the website and social media channels. An annual brochure was produced

highlighting those businesses that were not just “pet-tolerant,” but “pet-friendly.” Hairy joined

the VMC team at specific events both inside and outside the County. He was a “VIP guest” at travel

shows including “Bark in the Park” and the “Bay Area Travel Show.” He was the star of the event and drew

thousands of people to the VMC booth to meet the destination’s “celebrity.”


See blog and website at www.hairysblog.com and www.visitmendocino.com/pets.


When the recession hit in 2008, VMC looked intently at areas of destination marketing where the

organization could be most effective. Looking at current research at the time, they came to

understand that pet-friendly travel was the only travel segment with any growth. As a result, they

partnered with Hairy Putter to develop him as their “Canine Ambassador” and, ultimately, our

“Director of Barketing.” This new role was successful in developing VMC’s partnerships with many

new businesses throughout the county— specifically wineries, attractions and restaurants. By

showcasing how many businesses, as well as the different types of businesses, were pet friendly,

Mendocino County became known as a premier destination for people traveling with pets. Dog Fancy

Magazine voted Fort Bragg, California, as the fifth most-pet-friendly city in the U.S. VMC paid

Hairy Putter a retainer of $100/month for the rights of his blog, cooking show and overall brand.

With VMC’s overall goal of extending stays and, ultimately, spend by visitors throughout the

county, more than 60,000 visitors used the pet-friendly brochure and/or Hairy’s blog and potential

visitors in helping them plan longer stays.


•    Yosemite Sierra (CA) Visitors Bureau Project Title: Majestic Mountain Loop


For the “Visit 3 of California's National Parks in 3 Days - Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite

National Parks” project, the bureau staff is educating visitors about the proximity of these parks

by creating suggested itineraries (top five stops) to guide the visitor through the three parks

with added information on extending their stay to see hidden treasures in the regions. This is also

the perfect trip for visitors with limited time to see everything. The project is a partnership

between the Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau and the Fresno

Yosemite International Airport; additionally Delaware North Companies – Wuksachi Lodge has come in

as a partner, and the National Park Service. The project launched in January 2013 with a press

conference at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, including follow-up stories with several

news stations and news talk shows. The story was picked up by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines,

National Parks Council, Visit California, the San Francisco Chronicle and others. Via Magazine is

planning an upcoming feature as well. The hotels, tour companies, rental cars, airport and CVBs are

working together to promote this unique product. A Passport Program was launched with bumper

stickers available to visitors who complete the loop. The visitors center provides maps and

information about the loop program. There is also a Majestic Mountain Loop (MML) Facebook page and

campaign.


The Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus is a regional professional association

serving more than 135 destination marketing organizations in the western United States and the

western provinces of Canada.


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