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  • Walla Walla travel industry launches ‘Peace of Mind Pledge’

    May 15, 2020

    The questions about travel have already started rolling into Eritage Resort from potential visitors. “People want to know when we can start to book reservations,” said Terra Luthi, who manages the luxury wine country destination. In preparation she plans to join a movement out of destination marketing organization Visit Walla Walla called the “Peace of Mind Pledge.”
     
    Announced this morning, the campaign is intended as a demonstration by local businesses of their commitment to the health and safety of guests. The pledge is voluntary and rolls out well before economic reopening phases that authorize nonessential travel. But Luthi, also a board member for Visit Walla Walla, said tourism and hospitality operators “want to keep Walla Walla top of mind while giving local businesses a platform to demonstrate their commitment to reassuring travelers that Walla Walla is a safe and healthy community eager to welcome them.”
     
    The initiative, bolstered by support from the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce and Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, asks lodging properties, restaurants, wineries and breweries, tour operators, activity providers and other businesses, to demonstrate their commitment to meet — and possible exceed — best practices as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic closures.
     
    Those include many of the practices that will already be issued by local, state and federal operations as well as trade organizations relevant to each business. They also include acceptance of the additional cost to businesses that will come as a result of prioritizing health and safety, implementing health and safety policies and protocols specific to individual businesses and employees, and increase transparency in the process.
     
    More than a dozen businesses have already committed after the offer was extended Thursday.
     
    Justin Yax, partner and public relations principal for Visit Walla Walla-contracted firm DVA Advertising & Public Relations, said health and safety concerns will likely be one of the biggest hurdle destinations will face with return of leisure and group travel.
     
    Organizations like Visit Walla Walla “have the ability – and the credibility – to assume a leadership position with regard to traveler reassurance, and according to research are second only to ‘friends or relatives’ when it comes to who travelers trust to provide them with the information they need to travel safely right now,” Yax said.
     
    “In the case of Visit Walla Walla, the Peace of Mind Pledge brings together partners from all corners of the Valley’s tourism industry, unites them around a critical need, and delivers it from a position of trust and authority that helps mitigate down one of the biggest barriers to travel right now.”
     
    Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phased approach to reopening, broad nonessential travel could begin to return late June at the earliest.
     
    Travel research firm Destination Analysts, which has published findings of its Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Report every week since March 13, reports more than 70% of American travelers are excited to return to travel when they feel it is safe, the Peace of Mind Pledge announcement said.
     
    “There’s no question that consumers will be making their travel decisions in the coming months based in part on the safety of a destination, whether real or perceived,” Yax said. “Eventually I believe programs like this will become the rule rather than the exception, but right now Visit Walla Walla is one of the few destinations I am aware of that is doing so. That says a lot about the community, and the individuals and businesses who rely so heavily on tourism.”
     
    Walla Walla is well-positioned for recovery in that it’s home to wide-open spaces and driving distance from major markets where weekend getaways are more likely to be part of initial travel plans for visitors than longer vacations.
    “This is what our travelers are going to want,” Luthi said. “We want people to stop wishing and start traveling.”
     
    For more information on the program, visit wallawalla.org/peace.
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  • COVID-19: A Resource for Destination Marketing

    As the COVID-19 virus situation changes daily, we are all increasingly aware of its current and potential impacts on global and domestic travel. The travel industry, including destinations, airlines, hotels, attractions, and more are anxiously monitoring the situation to determine how to address and respond to consumer safety and concerns.

    While the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the domestic travel industry remain uncertain, it is clear that due in large part to constant media coverage, speculation, and misinformation spread across multiple channels particularly social media, have fueled a sense of worry and fear among the traveling public.

    The U.S. Travel Association currently lists COVID-19 as a low risk situation, and has not issued any travel restrictions, advisories, or warnings in the U.S. That being said, most major media outlets are recommending delaying or canceling any non-essential travel. In response to heightened fears in a dynamic and quickly evolving situation, DVA recommends that DMOs take some simple yet important steps to help travelers stay informed, educated, and active.

    It is also worth noting that while many travelers have and will continue to alter or cancel their travel plans, we believe there are a few silver linings to be found:

    • Travelers with plans to visit larger metropolitan cities may forego those plans in favor of visits to less crowded, more wide open destinations.
    • Travelers with existing air travel plans may shift their focus to destinations within driving distance, and may be more likely to drive greater distances than they might otherwise.

    With this in mind, DVA has provided the following resources, recommendations, and materials to help you navigate the short- and long-term uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and its impacts on leisure, business, and group travel.

    WHAT TO DO

    1. Make sure you, your team, and your stakeholders stay updated and informed. The World Health Organization is a great resource to help cut through the media clutter.
    2. Let travelers know that you are still open for business, though consider keeping advertising spend relatively flat for the next few weeks as the situation evolves.
    3. Be a vocal advocate for safe and responsible travel. As part of responsible messaging, we recommend you address the travel concerns within your region. Presently, Oregon is considered low risk. Dedicated content addressing this on your website will help contain fears of traveling.
      • Should you choose to post information on your website, we would also recommend a Facebook post to support this information. You can ‘pin’ this post to the top of your page.
      • If messaging is placed on your site, be sure to include contact information, so travelers can seek more information about the situation in your region.
    4. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, be sure your team is nimble in messaging and able to address the situation as it evolves and impacts are felt in your region.
    5. Consider shifting your messaging to drive markets, rather than flight markets.
    6. Address this situation with your constituents. If travelers are canceling their plans to your region, it is not because they are going somewhere else, but rather they are being cautious about the unknown impacts this could have on themselves and their families. While we recognize many local hotels and businesses cannot take a similar stance on cancellations as many major US airlines, some degree of understanding will pay itself forward in the times ahead.

    WHAT NOT TO DO

    1. As media coverage continues to fuel consumer anxiety, now is the time to avoid pouring fuel on your marketing fire. We don’t recommend significant increases in spend until there is a little more clarity around containment.
    2. Be aware of your holistic messaging efforts. Campaigns, posts or other communications should be considered for relevance in the face of the current climate. We do not want to appear tone deaf, indifferent, or ignorant of the situation at hand.
    3. While the topic is uncomfortable, we don’t recommend ignoring the situation. Providing clear, transparent information, providing resources, and communicating a message of safe and responsible travel will show your commitment to the health and safety of your visitors and their families.

    IMPORTANT RESOURCES

    World Health Organization – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

    World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advice

    Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

    Travel Oregon – COVID-19 Travel Information

    U.S. Travel Association – Emergency Preparedness & Response: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    AAA Travel – COVID-19 Information for Travelers

    Travel + Leisure – Everything you need to know if you’re traveling during the Coronavirus outbreak

    CNN Travel – Travel advice for Coronavirus: everything you need to know

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  • Results, Accountability, and the Demise of Vanity Metrics

    After receiving a record number of proposal submissions from potential presenters, DMA West, a regional membership organization comprised of more than 145 DMOs, chose DVA to serve as a featured presenter at their 2019 Tech Summit. Their annual Tech Summit, held March 20-22 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, focuses on digital and technology strategies for destination marketers and is one of their most widely attended events of the year.

    “Results, Accountability, and the Demise of Vanity Metrics” was the topic of DVA senior digital strategist Will Gryna’s presentation. As clients search for new and better ways to monetize results and metrics, and demonstrate real ROI to members and stakeholders, traditional “vanity” metrics such as site traffic continue to decline in importance. 

    Gryna touched on a number of topics relevant to metrics and reporting, including:

    1. Unique tracking challenges DMOs face
    2. The cost of incomplete tracking
    3. What complete tracking looks like
    4. Business outcomes of complete tracking
    5. Capturing best audiences
    6. Reporting on the most meaningful KPIs

    You can view the full presentation here.

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  • Julie Krooswyk joins DVA

    Julie Krooswyk has joined DVA Advertising & Public Relations as traffic manager and account coordinator. In these roles, she will be responsible for managing internal and external agency/client deadlines, managing client relationships and expectations, and ensuring that materials are produced on time and on budget.

    Prior to joining DVA, Krooswyk served as an account manager at Every Idea Marketing in Bend, as a marketing traffic and project manager for Kindercare Education in Portland, and as traffic manager at Haugaard Creative Group in Chicago.

    “Julie’s background in traffic and account management align perfectly with the skills needed to succeed in this critical agency role,” said Mary Angelo, agency partner and director of client services at DVA. “In the time that she has been here, Julie has already helped streamline processes and procedures, and proven to be the ideal person for this position.”

    Krooswyk graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, with an emphasis in public relations.

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  • DVA BOLSTERS AGENCY WITH ADDITION OF CREATIVE AND DIGITAL TALENT

    Ryan Crotty and Will Gryna bring national experience to region’s largest ad agency

    (BEND, Ore.) — DVA Advertising & Public Relations, a full-service marketing agency specializing in the travel & tourism, golf, financial services, and healthcare industries, has hired Ryan Crotty and Will Gryna as senior art director and senior digital strategist, respectively. The hires bring DVA’s staff to 13, making it the largest Oregon advertising agency east of the Cascade Range.

    A 20-year veteran in the graphic design field, Crotty most recently served five years as senior art director at Mandala, another Bend-based advertising agency. Prior to that, Crotty held creative director, art director, and graphic designer positions at agencies and corporations in Bend, Rhode Island, and New York City, in addition to his own freelance design business. In his role as DVA’s senior art director, Crotty’s responsibilities will include conceptual campaign development, graphic design, and art direction for all agency clients.

    Gryna most recently served as a partner manager at Facebook’s Chicago office, where he advised and counseled large advertising agencies on how to best invest their clients’ marketing dollars across the Facebook and Instagram platforms. Prior to Facebook, Gryna held digital consultant roles with Sprinklr and Rise Interactive in Chicago. At DVA, Gryna’s responsibilities will include developing and managing digital advertising strategies, performance monitoring, and campaign optimization for all agency clients.

    “Individually, Ryan and Will each bring specific skills, experience, and leadership that strengthen DVA as an agency and make us a more valuable partner to our clients,” said Mary Angelo, partner and client services director at DVA. “Together, they bolster our capabilities in the creative and digital disciplines, provide immediate and long-term impact to clients, and continue to build our position us as strategic leaders in the industry.”

    About DVA Advertising & Public Relations

    Founded in 1990, DVA is a full-service, 13-person agency based in Bend, Ore., that services clients throughout the West. Some of DVA’s current clients include Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bend Memorial Clinic, BestCare Treatment Services, Chambers Bay Golf Course, Doubleback Winery, Filson, SELCO Community Credit Union, Visit Bend, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, and Visit Walla Walla. For more information call 541-389-2411, email hello@dvaadv.com, or visit www.dvaadv.com.

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  • How Your Brain Interprets Logos

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  • Lessons Bend Breweries can Learn from the Chicago Beer Industry

    By Natalie Ulum

    In a city that is already home to roughly 200 breweries, competition for tap handles and shelf space is fierce. Chicago’s Goose Island breweries were acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 2011, putting the Windy City in a national spotlight, and giving local brewers hope that they could also be recognized across the United States one day. But Rebecca Skoch of AdWeek found that it hasn’t stopped more hopeful entrepreneurial brewers from entering the increasingly saturated market.

    If you live in Bend, this probably sounds familiar.

    Bend boasts roughly one brewery for every 4,500 people and has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 5 Beer Capitals in the U.S., a truly impressive statistic for such a relatively small city. Local favorite 10 Barrel Brewing was acquired by Anheuser-Busch just 3 years after Goose Island. In addition to breweries, there are also wineries, cideries, and distilleries that call Central Oregon home and also compete in the local craft beverage market.
    Because of the similar market climates in Chicago and Bend, local brewers can look to the Windy City for ideas that could bring them success here on the west coast. Skoch highlighted two strategies breweries in Chicago have utilized to stand out among the competition: taprooms and food.

    Taprooms
    Opening a taproom or brewpub is a great way to reach a local audience and build loyalty that will open up retail and tap space for a brewery and expand future distribution opportunities. Chicago entrepreneurs have also found that opening a taproom has been a financially stable first step to expanding their business because the brewery profits directly from its success.

    Food
    Chicago brewers are thinking outside typical brewery food. They have a new way of approaching the taproom experience that makes the food just as important as the beer. Some brewers have made their fare more elegant, while others have differentiated themselves by crafting beers that pair with their food, or a food that is already popular.

    Skoch also interviewed the beverage director at Heisler Hospitality in Chicago, Michael McAvena, who summarized the keys to success in a crowded brewery market, saying:

    “To start now and grow, based solely on Chicago-only beer sales, breweries really have to get things right. They have to brew great beer, they have to have a good business plan, they have to have good financial backing, their cost has to be right, their brand has to look good, and they have good sales people on the street… If they’re staying locally focused and keep checking those other boxes… they’ll have an opportunity to compete and succeed.”

    Investing in professional marketing and public relations services from an agency like Bend’s DVA will help an entrepreneur take their brewery to the next level and check all those boxes. It can improve the quality of beer a brewery produces by allowing brewery owners to focus on their craft and aid in attracting enthusiastic employees. DVA offers many services that can help a brewery “check the boxes” McAvena said will allow a brewery grow and thrive a jam-packed market, and their experience has shown two especially impactful ones are branding and marketing.

    Branding
    McAvena stated that an attractive brand is key to the success of a brewery in Chicago. DVA has an exceptional design team that can craft a brand concept that captures what makes a brewery unique and has lasting quality. Developing a branding strategy also takes branding to another level. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to make that business everything to everyone, and lose their individuality in the process. DVA experts know how to leverage those precious few qualities that truly differentiate a brewery from all the others, and make a plan for how a business owner can consciously support that uniqueness every single day. One great example of excellent branding strategy comes from Cruz Blanca, a Chicago brewery that was ranked the #4 best brewery in the United States. They differentiate themselves from other breweries in Chicago by gathering inspiration from the explosion of cultural diversity in 1860’s Mexico City, pairing new interpretations of classic Austrian, German, and French beers with smoky Mexican tacos.

    Marketing
    A good business plan is perhaps the most important key McAvena outlined, but it can be more difficult than he makes it sound. DVA offers strategic planning services which helps a brewery owner strengthen their business plan by identifying strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, and create a plan that optimizes them to achieve an entrepreneur’s goals. It also communicates the focus and goals of the brewery to employees and empowers them to be “good sales people on the street.” DVA can then take a good business plan to the next level by using marketing strategies that strengthen it. They create marketing campaigns that stand out and become recognizable in the Bend community, such as the St. Charles Cancer Center’s “Treating the Big C” campaign, because they approach marketing in a way that is not only creative, but is also strategically targeted to achieve actual business goals.

    Chicago brewers have found many ways to gain a competitive advantage in the beer market there, from differentiating themselves by the food they serve to instilling a more stable financial structure. But if local brewers can learn anything from looking at Chicago, it is that although the brewery market in Bend is crowded, there is still room for more hopeful brewers or small breweries to succeed if they can communicate their unique voice to customers and get the right mix of business strategies.

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  • Millennials? Nope. It’s Gen X who can’t put their phones down

    NY Times – We all know the stereotype: silly millennials, tethered to their phones, unable to accomplish the simplest tasks without scrolling their Instagram feeds, snapping their friends and/or tweeting inanely. But a Nielsen report released last week shows that Americans from 18 to 34 are less obsessed with social media than some of their older peers are.

    Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group. More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on the networks: an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week.

    Sean Casey, the president of Nielsen’s social division, said the finding initially surprised him because “the going thought is that social is vastly owned by the younger generation. It’s kind of synonymous, when you think of millennials, you think of social. At a time when we wanted to be connected, it came out right when we were at the top of our media consumption,” he said. “It’s become second nature to our generation.”

    The finding underscores how ubiquitous the smartphone has become. The report, released on Jan. 17, found that in the United States, 97 percent of people 18 to 34, and 94 percent of people 35 to 49, had access to smartphones. Seventy-seven percent of those 50 and older used smartphones, the report found.

    The 29-page report was based on data from 9,000 smartphone users and 1,300 tablet users across the country from July through September. The data was not self-reported. The report also broke out which social networks were most popular on smartphones, finding that Facebook still dominated on mobile, with about 178.2 million unique users in September. It was followed by Instagram, with 91.5 million unique users; Twitter, with 82.2 million unique users; and Pinterest, with 69.6 million users.

    Snapchat, a favorite of younger users, was sixth on the list, behind the professional networking site LinkedIn.

    Finally, the report looked at second-screen activity on social media, measuring how many times Facebook and Twitter users employed those sites to post about programs they were watching or to interact with others’ posts.

    Again, in this category, it was Generation X that could not look away from its devices: On an average day, the report found, 42 percent of those interacting with television on Facebook were from 35 to 49; only 40 percent were millennials.

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