Renewing our efforts
Spring in Sonoma County – I can’t imagine a more beautiful time courtesy of Mother Nature, and also a time that holds tremendous opportunity for enhancing the Life Opens Up brand. 

We’ve heard from you, our partners, that as a result of several factors the flooding, ongoing work that needs to be done to continue our recovery, and 2018’s anomaly in lodging property occupancy demographics some properties are challenged to get visitors through the door. 

We hear you. We continue to run the “always on” paid, earned, and owned media campaign introducing the brand, but we also are ramping up short-term promotional efforts meant to drive visitation now.

We’re using this season of renewal to reinvigorate our efforts to market Sonoma County during the spring shoulder season. Our goal is to “Own Spring.” This campaign, which runs through the end of May, invites potential visitors from key flight markets to enjoy all that Sonoma County has to offer this time of the year, including spectacular wildflowers, bud break in the vineyards, farmers markets brimming with local produce, and wonderful local events and attractions.

This all provides the perfect backdrop for the Life Opens Up brand ideology. We also are working to drive hotel bookings, enticing visitors with favorable rates (compared to peak season). The campaign includes online advertising, enhanced social media, and pitching Sonoma County as a must-visit-now destination.

One of the most important components of our campaign is driving traffic to your businesses. We can achieve that by highlighting any special offers you may be running. If you haven’t already, this is a perfect time to add an offer to the “Special Offers” page on SonomaCounty.com . This is at no cost to you. Find out how to submit your offers on the partners page .

As the campaign gets underway, we are working with our partners across the county to convey the appropriate cautionary messages while still marketing the reasons to visit the areas that aren't significantly impacted by flooding. We stand ready to assist with conveying your messages. 

- Claudia

Claudia Vecchio, president/chief executive officer
Sonoma County Tourism
Hospitality scholarships available
Residents of Sonoma, Napa, Monterey, San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties who plan to pursue a career in the hospitality industry can get educational scholarships of up to $5,000 from the Anthony Nicholas Narigi Hospitality Scholarship Fund. Up to five scholarships are awarded each year. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. For details and an application, go to anthonynarigimemorialfund.org.
SCT News
Promoting the new Denver flight
The daily flight between the Charles M Schulz - Sonoma County Airport (STS) and Denver International Airport (DEN) began March 8, and Sonoma County Tourism and our partners in the area were on hand to greet the inaugural flight with goodie bags and warm welcomes. Many thanks to Jon Stout and Gina Stocker at the airport for their great work around this effort.

To ensure the success of the flight, we need to promote it. SCT and partners will be in Denver April 10 and 11 to meet with clients and media, and to host an event celebrating this new flight. Please join us!

We are offering several business building opportunities. Please contact Jennifer Richards directly at jrichards@sonomacounty.com with any questions and to “register your interest” as space is limited.
 
Option 1: Signature Sonoma County Client Event, April 11
Attend the evening ‘Life Opens-Up' client event, giving you the opportunity to network with an industry audience of media, meeting planners, travel agents, and tour operators. Partner Benefits : Electronic contact list of all attendees, recognition during the event, shared table space for connecting with attendees, and an opportunity to give away a prize during the lucky draw. Registration Cost: $250.*
 
Option 2: Signature Sonoma County Client Event, April 11 – Call for ‘Artisans/Producers’
We’re inviting local producers to showcase their products from wine, beer, and spirits to cheese, meats, breads and beyond. If you make/bake/produce Sonoma County products and would like a platform to showcase your products, we’d love to provide space for your own interactive activation. Partner Benefits : Electronic contact list of all attendees, recognition during the event, separate table space for connecting with event attendees, and an opportunity to give away a prize during the lucky draw. Registration Cost: FREE.*
 
Option 3: Media Track, April 10 & 11
Wednesday April 10 – Join the media team for a full day of meetings and deskside journalist visits. Thursday April 11 – Free time during the day to schedule your own appointments, plus entry to the evening "Life Opens-Up" client event to maximize your networking opportunities. Partner Benefits: Electronic contact list of all event attendees, list of all organizations visited during the media calls, recognition during event, separate table space for connecting with event attendees, and an opportunity to give away a prize during the lucky draw. Registration Cost: $500.* Media Track is limited to four partners.
 
Option 4: Group Sales Track, April 10 & 11
Wednesday April 10 – Join the group sales team for a full day of meetings with meeting planners and corporate clients. Thursday April 11 – Free time during the day to schedule your own appointments, plus attendance at the evening "Life Opens-Up" client event to maximize your networking opportunities. Partner Benefits: Electronic contact list of all event attendees, list of all organizations visited during the sales calls, recognition during the event, separate table space for connecting with event attendees, and the opportunity to give away a prize during the lucky draw. Registration Cost: $500.* Group Sales Track is limited to four partners.
 
Option 5: Tourism Development Track, April 10 & 11
Wednesday April 10 – Join the tourism development team for a full day of meetings and trainings with travel agents and tour operators. Thursday April 11 – Free time during the day to schedule your own appointments, plus attendance at the evening "Life Opens-Up" client event to maximize your networking opportunities. Partner Benefits: Electronic contact list of all event attendees, list of all organizations visited during the sales calls, recognition during the event, separate table space for connecting with event attendees, and the opportunity to give away a prize during the lucky draw. Registration Cost: $500.*
Tourism Development Track is limited to 4 partners

* Sonoma County Tourism will pay for in-market transportation for those attending the sales and media calls and host a dinner for Sonoma County partners on Wednesday, April 10. Travel, including airfare, in-market airport transfers, meals, and hotel costs are the responsibility of each partner.
Investing in the community
Sonoma County Tourism, in collaboration with Sonoma County, has $100,000 available as part of the larger Community Investment Funds program, to help organizations countywide. Funding is available for projects that:

·       Enhance safety (e.g. lighted and/or marked crosswalks)
·       Clean up the environment (e.g. removing trash from beaches and waterways)
·       Promote hospitality professionalism
·       Improve way-finding signage (e.g. park locations and cultural sites).

The submission deadline is 5 p.m. May 3, and all funds will be distributed by June 30. The program guidelines and application form are available at https://www.sonomacounty.com/community-investment-funds-application.
Sonoma County and the Media
Congratulations to Emily Kaufman ...

For the second year in a row, Emily Kaufman has been honored with Visit California's “Eureka Award” for Best Broadcast Coverage of the state of California. Emily does regional TV spots and online podcasts as "The Travel Mom" and works closely with Sonoma County Tourism. She won the award for her broadcast titled "3 Grownup getaways for fall from The Travel Mom." It included Sonoma County and highlighted Armstrong Redwoods, horseback riding, kayaking, Charles M Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, wine tasting, walking tours, hot air ballooning, and what Emily termed "the spectacular coastline." The piece was broadcast on WUSA (viewership 30,583, UMV: 21,182), KTLA (viewership 70,716, UMV: 445,006), KTVK (viewership 40,743), and WFLD (viewership 35,651).
Sonoma County in the news ...
Sonoma County Tourism's work with the media is ongoing, getting the word out about our destination. Here's a sampling of some of the recent stories promoting Sonoma County.
By Gretchen Kelly
Forbes
(UMV: 29,788,885)
SCT hosted Forbes contributor Kelly on a press trip in December 2018, resulting in three separate articles published in January.
By Sunny Montefiore
Men’s Journal (UMV: 3,466,849)
Dedicated pitching efforts and a deskside meeting with Men’s Journal contributor Perri Blumberg resulted in Sonoma County making this list, including Simraceway Performance Driving Center, Sonoma Canopy Tours, Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, and Russian River Autocamp.
Matador Network 
(UMV: 3,825,684)
Resulting from SCT’s brand campaign, these three itineraries feature Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma Plaza, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Benziger Family Winery, Achadina Cheese Co., Safari West, Green Music Center, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, The Barlow, SingleThread, Railroad Square, AutoCamp Russian River, Farmhouse Inn, Thomas George Estates, Sonoma Canopy Tours, The Sea Ranch, and Sonoma Coast State Park.
By Brent Crane
Penta (UMV: 3,159,793)
The result of SCT hosting freelance writer Crane on a December 2018 press trip, this article features Farmhouse Inn, Timber Cove Resort, Boon Hotel + Spa, El Barrio, SingleThread, Valette, Journeyman Meat Co., River’s End Restaurant & Inn, Della Fattoria, Belden Barns, Horse & Plose, Spirit Works Distillery, The Barlow, MacPhail Wines, Osmosis Day Spa, Fort Ross, Laguna de Santa Rosa Wetlands, and Jack London State Historic Park.
What's New in Sonoma County? Journalists want to know

SCT sends out a monthly press release to thousands of journalists each month that announces what's new in the region. The individual announcements are also posted online at www.sonomacounty.com/whats-new. I f you have something new happening at your business, please submit that information. And feel free to share What's New items on your own social media or with potential visitors and clients.
Research
The chart above shows occupancy and average daily rate (ADR) year-to-date were up in December 2018 compared to 2017. However, a month-to-month comparison shows that occupancy was down 16.4 percent and ADR dropped 1.1 percent, because fire evacuees and “second” responders were staying in hotels. This shows a return to pre-2017 levels.
In January 2018, Sonoma County was still grappling with the aftermath of the fires and the results were still artificially high. Going back to 2017, these results show a return to previous “normal” levels.
For Tourism Update, SCT tracks the year-to-date statistics.  Please see our statistics page for regularly updated information: www.sonomacounty.com/statistics .
Industry news
National Travel & Tourism Week
May 5-11, 2019
Celebrate the many ways travel enriches our lives, strengthens the economy, and connects us during National Travel and Tourism Week. Each day of the week, the U.S. Travel Association will highlight a different example of why travel matters to America. Learn more.
EIC unveils four sustainability principles
The Events Industry Council (EIC) recently released four new sustainability principles that incorporate all 17 United Nations  Sustainable Development Goals  and define what a fully sustainable event is for the first time. The initiative, aimed at encouraging and helping planners and organizations implement sustainable practices, entailed months of collaboration among leading industry voices.

Finland offers ‘Rent a Finn’ happiness tour guides
Finland is at it again. The country is hoping to attract more visitors this year by launching another unique tourism campaign: Rent a Finn. They want to “save the world from stress” by pairing travelers with Finnish happiness guides and providing a free trip to Finland. The goal? Learn about true happiness and get immersed in Finnish traditions and culture.

Academics fight Edinburgh’s proposed convention bureau budget cuts
More than 75 of Edinburgh’s most respected academics and researchers have united in condemning proposed budget cuts to Marketing Edinburgh. Leaders from across fields including medical sciences, pediatrics, ecology, and data sciences, are concerned that the cuts would not only damage the city’s future as a superior conference and meeting destination, but the ‘world-leading academic ecosystem’ Edinburgh is renowned for.

Luxury Italian brands create travel experiences
Given Italy’s reputation as a style trendsetter, it’s instructive to look at how the country’s major fashion houses and luxury purveyors are starting to develop exclusive travel experiences to promote la dolce vita. The aim of two of the most buzzworthy projects is to connect high-end travelers to the heart of the Italian lifestyle, and with excellence in craftsmanship, creativity, and design.
 Changing visa name to bring more foreign visitors to U.S.
The United State’s Visa Waiver Program allows travelers from  38 countries to visit the U.S. without visas. But tourism officials worry that security concerns may keep lawmakers from expanding the program to add more countries. So the U.S. Travel Association is pushing a new tougher-sounding name: the Security Travel Partnership.

AutoCamp raises $115 million for nationwide expansion
Polished to a mirror sheen and reeking of nostalgia, the Airstream camper has enjoyed a  renaissance  in recent years. San Francisco-based AutoCamp, with three current locations in California including its Russian River site in Guerneville, recently raised $115 million to build a nationwide network of hotels fashioned from the trailers.

Joyfully improving the guest experience
The hospitality industry is full of standard operating procedures, checklists, and processes that can sap joy and creativity. Instead, the process of improving things end-to-end can be a highly creative endeavor and not just a list for rote memorization and blind adherence.

More hotels adding air purifiers, filters to guest rooms
Forget free wine hours and on-demand workout videos. An increasing number of hotels around the world are now providing guests the option to book rooms with filtration and purification systems that minimize threats of air pollution and offer cleaner air.

New York City cracking down on CBD-laced food and drink
Cannabis foods have indeed landed on the chopping block in New York City. The Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday that restaurants, bars, and other venues under its purview cannot sell edibles laced with cannabidiol (CBD) — noting in a statement that it’s not “safe as a food additive” according to federal guidance. So far, officials have asked five restaurants to end CBD food and drink and sales.
 
Martha Stewart advising on cannabis products
She is better known for a love of copper pots than pot brownies. And the only cherry pie she seems to indulge in has a crust and is baked in the oven. But Martha Stewart, who built an empire as the doyenne of domesticity, has teamed up with a Canadian cannabis company to create and promote a new line of hemp-based CBD products.