Best Idea Program Achievement Award winners at the 2016 DMA West Education Summit

Destination management organizations celebrated their best ideas of the year during the annual Destination Marketing Association of the West (DMA West) Education Summit, held Sept. 21-23 in Mesa, Arizona. Out of more than 145 destinations in the western United States and western provinces of Canada represented by the association, four organizations were recognized for outstanding marketing campaigns and innovative projects with high impact, uniqueness and creativity.  During the Best Idea Program showcases, Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau, Travel Lane County, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism and Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau were awarded for their achievements.

Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau, Arizona

The 90th Anniversary of Route 66 – 66 Kicks on Route 66

The Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with its stakeholders and partners, created and implemented year-long strategic marketing activity supporting the most historic and celebrated road in America–Route 66, the Mother Road–in preparation of its 90th anniversary.

Route 66 runs through Flagstaff and continues to serve as the town’s major corridor. Capitalizing on the adventure seeker and historian, the program’s objective was to provide a time-sensitive need to travel and authentic reason to visit Flagstaff.

Sixty-six partners offered visitors kicks on or near Route 66 including adventurous once-in-a-lifetime and hands-on experiences such as renting a Harley and touring Route 66, to novelty eating and drinking a Route 66 mocha or Mother Road draft beer, to being in a place in time with accommodations on the Mother Road. Each 66 Kicks partner displayed a window cling year-round to promote the campaign and to signify their establishment as a featured location.

Travel Lane County, Oregon

The Go Campaign

The goal was to create a campaign that would inspire visits to Eugene, Cascades and Coast region from nearby markets with an emphasis on Portland, Oregon’s largest population center. In order to stand out from the crowd, Travel Lane County staff identified four travel motivators strong enough to pull people more than 160 miles from Portland for an overnight stay: dune buggy rides on the Oregon Coast; cycling in the Mountain Bike Capital of the Northwest; hiking uncrowded trails to magnificent waterfalls; and riding the popular Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway.

Each motivator stands on its own as a destination visit and has its own set of ad assets and webpage. The campaign is held together with a consistent look and tone. The primary call to action leads a potential visitor to a single landing page at The landing page shows a tile for each of the four motivators for ease of messaging, but also to inspire people to consider additional activities.

For some of the digital ads, it links directly from the motivational commercial to the relevant webpage. The campaign launched with a broad range of placements to help increase brand awareness, including bus and train ads; Comcast cable commercials with a digital buy; digital radio spots played through Pandora; digital ads placed through Facebook; digital Pay-Per-Click targeted by demographic and behavioral attributes for each motivator; and stories told on the campaign webpages.

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, California

Partnership with Witchery to Promote Santa Monica as the Ultimate Escape Destination

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism engaged in an opportunity to partner with Witchery, one of Australia’s leading fashion labels, lifestyle brands and retailers within Australia and New Zealand. The focus of this project was to promote Santa Monica as a stylish and aspirational travel destination to reach Australian and New Zealand consumers—one of Santa Monica’s top international feeder markets—through the use of an integrated consumer and trade marketing campaign that ran within a three-week period during summer 2015.

Through this campaign, the destination management organization also aimed to emphasize its key message points of Santa Monica as the beachfront of Los Angeles and that it is the ideal base for a vacation to the area. Witchery is one of Australia’s leading fashion labels with 180 retail stores across Australia and New Zealand and more than one million highly engaged loyalty subscribers.

To highlight Santa Monica as a top travel destination to Witchery consumers, the clothing brand hosted a three-week competition on, where online visitors entered for a chance to win the ultimate escape to “Summer’s Hottest Destination” —Santa Monica. This competition was part of an overarching campaign that consisted of a multi-layered approach to ensure that the partnership was leveraged to its fullest potential.

Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau, California

Celebrity Dogs of Instagram Familiarization (FAM) Trip

In the world of Instagram influencers, the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau sought to stand out from the crowd by hosting influencers of the four-legged type. Visit Ventura invited six dogs for a familiarization (FAM) trip targeting furry friends who have become Instagram celebrities. Together, the dogs have more than 300,000 followers.

They came to Ventura and enjoyed lunch from The Parlor’s special PAWlor doggie menu, an ice cream stop at Coastal Cone, a ride on Ventura’s Downtown Harbor Trolley, a downtown stroll along Main Street, play time on the beach and a cockTAIL hour at The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood.

While asked for only two Instagram posts per dog, the group posted 26 photos from their time in Ventura, tagging Visit Ventura and the local businesses that hosted them and praising Ventura as the most pet-friendly destination they knew. Together, the posts earned more than 40,000 likes on Instagram, and Visit Ventura earned exposure to thousands of new followers. The Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau team also acquired 84 new pet-friendly images to add to their image library. The FAM was a great way to promote Ventura as a fun, pet-friendly destination.

During the conference, elected officers and directors were announced for the 2016-17 program year. Julie Saupe, president and CEO of Visit Anchorage, Alaska officially took office as board president of DMA West. Other officers included president-elect Kim Bennet, president and CEO of Visit Vancouver, Washington; Marc Garcia, president and CEO of Visit Mesa, Arizona; and Sarah Toliver, president and CEO of Visit Ogden, Utah, who is the past president of the association.

The following board directors were elected to two-year terms:

Brent DeRaad, president and CEO of Visit Tucson in Arizona

Bonnie Quill, executive director of Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau in Palmer, Alaska

The following board directors were appointed to one-year director terms to complete unexpired terms:

Terry Selk, executive director of Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau in California

Barbara Steinfeld, president of Visit Tri-Valley in Pleasanton, California

Board members continuing their terms as directors include:

Debbie Braun, president and CEO of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association in Colorado

Danielle Cowan, executive director of Mt. Hood Territory/Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs in Oregon

Anand Patel, president and CEO, Fairfield Conference & Visitors Bureau in California