California tourism is going the way of Yelp and Trip Advisor and has launched user-generated content through a program called California Fives www.CaliforniaFives.com.
“Whether we’re traveling down the road or across the country, we all want recommendations for where to stay, eat, and play,” said president and CEO Caroline Beteta of the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) and the national chair of the US Travel Association. “The best recommendations come from those in the know – local residents and visitors who have experienced the best of California firsthand can help us plan the best possible getaway.”
What makes California Fives different from other online communities is that topics are grouped in fives and are California-specific. Themes can be as broad as California’s five best beaches or as narrow as the five preferred wines in Sonoma County. Visitors to the site also have the opportunity to rank someone else’s California Fives or provide their own twist on a subject.
The overall goal of California Fives, an extension of the www.VisitCalifornia.com web site’s popular Inside Scoop campaign, is to create an online community of ambassadors willing to connect and promote their opinions and insider information about California. California Fives also aims to increase incremental travel through the state – generating repeat visits by giving primary market consumers who are already familiar with California new reasons to immerse themselves deeper in the state, while inspiring new visitors in national markets to engage in the California brand and product.
California Fives is being promoted in print and online advertising campaigns in the US and Canada, as well as through social media. Phase two of this marketing initiative includes launching in key international markets where CTTC has marketing offices, including the UK, which represents the number one overseas visitors to California.
Also making its debut on the CTTC’s web site is an enhanced interactive program called My Trip. Located at the top of every web page, My Trip gives travelers the opportunity to create and save a tailored list of the places and things they might want to experience during their visit in a “travel suitcase.” With just a few clicks, consumers can save their preferred accommodations, special events, inside scoops, must sees, or ideas for multi-day trip itineraries. Users can also share their “suitcase” by email, while continuing to add to this personalized wish list from any computer. They can also download the My Trip list to their desktop and print it to take with them on their trip.
The CTTC is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to the CTTC, travel and tourism expenditures total US$97.6 billion annually in California, support jobs for 924,000 Californians, and generate US$5.8 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about the CTTC and for a free California Visitor’s Guide, as well as California Road Trips 2009, go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.