With more than three dozen familiarization tours for travel trade and a multitude of press trips involving hundreds of media, Visit California spread the California Dream stateside and in all 13 of its international markets.
In FY16/17, Visit California hosted 37 familiarization tours across all 13 key global markets, including China, U.K., Australia, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, India, France, Italy and Scandinavia.
Through these efforts, Visit California was able to highlight the diversity in every region throughout the state, educate more 540 key travel trade, and strengthen relationships with airline and tour operator partners.
Familiarization tours – or “FAMs” as they are known in the business – are highly valuable. The firsthand knowledge gained through the authentic California experiences results in stronger partnerships, increased product development and boosted product sales around the world.
All of these programs supported Visit California’s overall global travel trade strategies and targeted the three segments of key trade travel agents; product managers and tour operators; and trade executives. Although each program shared similarities along with the collective end goal of increasing bookings to California, each had a unique origin and objective that reflect their respective market strategies and local nuances.
These programs varied from annual SuperFAMs with key airline partners (some lasting nearly a decade); California Advisory Board (CAB) FAMs; FAMs supporting new airlift into California; Brand USA partner FAMs; and FAMs in collaboration with tour-operator partners, airlines and receptive operators.
Noteworthy FAMs included:
Similarly, efforts to engage with both domestic and international media remained foundational to Visit California’s global strategy.
In FY16/17, press trips involving more than 300 media canvassed 66 locations across the state, generating authentic editorial placements that showcased the vast wealth of experiences found in California. Each trip, whether individual or group, included a customized itinerary supported by industry partners statewide.
To ensure quality and timely coverage – from top-notch visuals to use with placements to real-time updates on social feeds – many media trips were bolstered with smartphone technology, Wi-Fi hotspots and professional photographers.
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