Copy
View this email in your browser
PHOTO HIGHLIGHT
Finding solitude in Robbers Roost country – where time slows down and nature reveals a new look in the winter. Watch the video and gain insight of canyoneering Utah's wild places.

DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE

Our mission at the Utah Office of Tourism is to elevate life in Utah through responsible tourism stewardship.

This newly minted mission statement previews what you will find in our now finalized Red Emerald Strategic Plan.

It updates earlier mission statements to put our responsibility to both visitors and the communities that welcome them front and center. It’s well known by now that our economic contribution is substantial, but it’s only sustainable if we do it right.

We have been on the path to carefully manage and distribute our growth since 2016. Our updated Red Emerald Strategic Plan, completed this month, provides powerful new objectives and metrics to right size the tourism economy. We cannot achieve success going forward the same way we achieved success to this point.

Our promotions continue to pivot from mass to precision marketing. This attracts the customers who will travel off the beaten path and off-season, stay longer and spend more. We are not measuring the number of visitors, but the quality of the experience for visitors and hosting communities.

Destination stewardship and destination development are two new pillars of our work that didn’t exist four years ago. Updates at our Friday, Feb. 14 board meeting highlighted marketing changes to encourage responsible visitation. It’s the beginning of a stewardship initiative called Forever Mighty that will roll out over the next several months.
 
We didn’t define this new path alone.

Thanks to the hundreds of people who participated in summits around the state, 359 stakeholders who responded to a survey and 52 public and private sector leaders who were interviewed, not to mention 35 million social media posts over the last three years where people expressed their views about being in Utah. And we need your continued engagement going forward. We want to know about your community’s sustainable practices and assets. See the Sustainable Tourism Industry column below.


—Vicki Varela, Managing Director

TOURISM DAY ON THE HILL
BE SURE TO REGISTER FOR TOURISM DAY ON THE HILL ON MARCH 4.
REGISTER FOR EVENT
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM INDUSTRY
CALL FOR SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL RESOURCES
As part of our efforts to promote the Red Emerald Initiative, UOT wants to celebrate tourism attractions, businesses, and amenities that embody a responsible and sustainable tourism industry. We are looking for local heroes that demonstrate a strong commitment to best practices and show both colleagues and visitors the best of what Utah has to offer.

Please help us to identify the top three assets in your area that exemplify one or more of the following attributes:

  • Champions local products and businesses (uses local suppliers, uses Utah products or other locally sourced goods)
  • Woman or minority-owned or operated
  • Largely pays wages that meet or exceed the local average income (find your local information here) 
  • Demonstrates support for local affordable housing, whether employee housing or otherwise
  • Minimizes disturbances to the natural ecosystem and supports restoration or protection efforts
  • Provides experiential products that relate to local culture, history or environment

Assets can be public or private and come from any sector in the industry. Some examples might include:

  • A female or minority-owned gear rental shop
  • A museum that offers an immersive field school experience
  • A hotel that provides workforce housing beyond local requirements
  • A guide or outfitter that trains employees and guests on how to properly interact with local wildlife and archaeological treasures

Submit your top three assets (one per entry) using this link.

If you have any questions, please contact destination development specialist Flint Timmins at fdtimmins@utah.gov or research marketing assistant Emma Checketts at emmachecketts@utah.gov. 

TEAM UPDATES
PUBLIC RELATIONS
2020 Travel Trends We’re Watching by Anna Loughridge

What are travelers looking for in 2020? Sustainable travel will remain a top priority: energy positive hotels, zero waste dining and philantourism. Travelers want to buy local and give back. 
 
What’s cooking in your kitchen? Tasty culinary experiences are now considered essential to any trip. Travelers want transparency and authenticity on a menu. The trend of swapping carb-heavy components for vegetables is set to continue in 2020 along with a demand for vegan-friendly restaurants. 
 
As air travel prices continue to rise, we can expect the increase of the road-tripper-traveler from drive markets.
 
Other trends that continue to skyrocket in popularity are astrotoursim and wellness retreats. Vacations are becoming more about seizing stellar opportunities to explore the universe and taking more time for self-care and relaxation.

Ever heard of a me-cation? Travelers are exploring separate from their partners and looking for experiences that take their independent interests one step further.

SOCIAL MEDIA
UOT to Produce IGTV Series by Melissa Kinney

The UOT content team is currently developing a 10–12-episode pilot series to distribute on @VisitUtah's IGTV with a target premiere in March 2020.
 
Each episode will feature brand ambassadors as on-screen hosts highlighting a variety of topics with their local perspective. Some topics will include ski, winter in Southern Utah, Utah's women suffrage history, West Desert land art and much more. Each episode will be produced in 3–5 minutes in a vlogging format with the shooting and editing led by a 2-person, Utah-based production crew. Filming will occur sporadically mid-February through mid-April.
 
As final plans for the episodes and location plans are confirmed, our team will reach out to relevant partners with more information. Feel free to contact Melissa Kinney (Social Media Manager) at mkinney@utah.gov with questions in the meantime.

DOMESTIC MARKETING
2020 3-Season Highlights Regional Travel by Becky Keeney

The UOT is building from the momentum of last year’s 3-season campaign effort to shift away from mass to precision marketing along with the refinement of targeted audiences.
 
The UOT developed these audiences — family, explorer, achiever, repeat — from insights by a research partner and qualitative interviews and the insights proved successful.

Ad-aware guests:

  • Booked more activities on their trips (3.8 to 6.3).
  • Stayed longer — 28% stayed for 5+ nights compared to only 19% of unaware.
  • Spent more ($1,155 to $1,650).

Overall, advertising led to more active trips, longer and better trips, greater visitor satisfaction, more social media advocacy and a stronger likelihood to return. These strategic shifts led to greater advertising impact, influencing approximately $2.2 billion in visitor spending. 
 
In addition to further refining the office's audiences, we refreshed ads with new footage and developed five new 15-second spots that specifically communicate the region encompassing each of Utah’s Mighty 5® national parks.
 
An additional media buy will retarget travelers who have already booked trips to Utah to engage them more deeply in their destination while helping them be prepared for a safer, more responsible visit. This campaign is an early effort within the UOT’s Forever Mighty stewardship initiative.
 
The 3-season campaign launched digitally on February 17 and TV follows early in March.

CREATIVE
Connecting with New Audiences by Rosie Serago

While the 3-season campaign commands a lot of attention, the UOT executes smaller, precision-targeted micro-campaigns to test or optimize for new audiences.
 
In addition to micro-campaigns targeting urban and off-season Southern Utah travelers, the office has also turned its attention to the 19 trillion-dollar opportunity of female travelers.
 
Using a blend of inspirational and educational content and a social conversation anchored in #SheTravelsUtah, this campaign seeks to build brand associations and shift brand perceptions while encouraging more women to travel to Utah, particularly by increasing consideration among female achiever and explorer travelers.
 
Utah is unique for its women's history but also for its abundance of wild, open lands.The things many women travelers hope to get from a trip — adventure, self-discovery, relaxation, solitude, cultural learning, friendship — are all things that Utah can offer.
 
Meanwhile, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment and the 150th anniversary of the first-ever vote by a woman in the United States — a vote which took place in Salt Lake City, giving Utah an authentic entry point into nation-wide suffrage conversations. 

RESEARCH/DATA
UOT Launches Image Perception Study by Denise Jordan

In 2005 UOT engaged in an image study to establish a baseline measure of Utah’s image as a place for a leisure trip. In 2013, UOT built on that foundation, again engaging in a study to measure perception changes over time, as well as to determine the (then) current state image relative to key competitors. Since 2013, UOT’s winter and 3-season marketing campaigns have gained national and international attention, state visitation has increased, and ad effectiveness research reflects increased Utah asset visitation and awareness. 
 
UOT has finalized a contract and is in the process of finalizing a new image study to gauge improvements and/or opportunities for development relative to competitors given visitor (and potential visitor) perceptions of Utah. We look forward to sharing the results with our partners!
 
Interesting observations from the past:

  • In 2005, ~27% of those surveyed associated Delicate Arch with Utah
  • In 2013, national audience awareness of the state slogan “Life Elevated” lagged behind awareness of spot advertising geographies exposed to Utah advertising, leaving room to increase Life Elevated awareness
  • In 2013, more than 50% surveyed believed Dead Horse Point was in Arizona. 

It will be interesting to see updated results on perceptions of Utah as a travel destination and Utah asset awareness levels.

NEWS & NOTEWORTHY
Moab joins GSTC
Moab Area Travel Council has joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a destination member. Read more.

U.S. Travel Association’s State of the Travel Industry
U.S. Travel Associations President and CEO, Roger Dow, delivered a State of the Travel Industry at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Feb. 5th. See his remarks.

Polaris T.R.A.I.L.S Grant
This cash grant provides up to $10,000 for trail development and maintenance, responsible ATV riding, trail access, and safety efforts. Closes March 1, 2020. More about the application.

Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative Grant
This cash grant can be used to support local trails, aid conservation efforts, provide sustainable access to public lands, and educate the public on proper recreation practices. Closes March 31, 2020. More about the initiative.

VisaVue Cafeteria Partnership Continues in 2020
UOT is happy to continue offering its partners discounted access to the VisaVue product. We are finalizing details and will be in touch very shortly with information on how to participate. If you have any questions please email Denise Jordan at denisejordan@utah.gov.

Workshop: Uncovering the Secrets of the Most Successful Business Profiles on Google
This is an in-person workshop sponsored by UOT taking place on March 3, 2020 from 12:30–2:30 p.m. and again at 3:00–5:00 p.m. Miles Partnership will provide tactical training and how-to documents covering tips and best practices for getting the most out of opportunities within Google My Business. Topics covered will include:
  • Claiming and managing your account
  • Obtaining and responding to reviews
  • Tips for improving your photography
  • Removing photos from your listing
  • Getting the most from posts
  • And much more...
Miles will provide assistance to businesses who have not claimed/verified the Google business profile or listings. If your business isn’t verified, or you’ve lost access to your business listing, come get assistance. You will need the login to the Google account for your business. If you do not have an account yet, click here. To register for the 12:30–2:30 p.m. session, click here. To register for the 3:00–5:00 p.m. session, click here.
UPCOMING EVENTS
March 4, 2020
Tourism Day on the Hill
Salt Lake City, UT

March 2327, 2020
Go West Summit
Portland, OR

March 29–April 4, 2020
Mountain Travel Symposium
Squaw Valley, CA - North Lake Tahoe


April 10, 2020
UOT Board Meeting
Beaver, UT
RECEIVE VISIT UTAH'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
SIGN UP FOR OUR CONSUMER NEWSLETTER
FOLLOW THE UTAH OFFICE OF TOURISM
Copyright © 2020 Utah Office of Tourism, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.