U.S. Travel names Visit the Santa Ynez Valley’s “The Place To Be” advertising campaign top digital campaign in the country


(SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif.) — Visit the Santa Ynez Valley’s “The Place To Be” advertising campaign has been recognized by the U.S. Travel Association as the nation’s top digital tourism campaign, receiving a Destinations Council Destiny Award in the Digital Campaign category at the annual ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations) Conference on Tuesday, Aug. 17 in Los Angeles.

Visit the Santa Ynez Valley was selected as one of three finalists from among all entries in the category, and prevailed over Visit Savannah and San Francisco Travel to take home top honors as the nation’s best digital campaign focused on tourism.

“The Santa Ynez Valley wouldn’t be ‘the place to be’ without the people who live and work here, and who support the tourism industry and visitor experience in every way imaginable,” said Shelby Sim, President & CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “They provide daily inspiration from which award-winning campaigns like this can emerge, which makes this award as much for our community as a whole as it is for Visit the Santa Ynez Valley specifically.”

The campaign was conceived and executed between Visit the Santa Ynez Valley and DVA Advertising & Public Relations, a full-service destination marketing agency based in Bend, Ore. that has served as the agency of record for the organization since 2013. Creative assets that were developed in support of the campaign included paid and organic digital and social advertising, video content, and campaign-specific website landing pages. The Place To Be campaign ran from Nov. 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021.

Entries were judged based on creative and innovative use of multiple digital marketing channels, including (but not limited to) website, digital ads, email marketing, social media, etc., as well as the results each campaign achieved through web analytics, paid impressions, click-through rates, social media growth, and more.

“I think what set ‘The Place To Be’ apart from the competition was not only the creativity and the subjective nature of the campaign itself, but also the critical results it achieved,” said Danielle Laudon Ruse, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley’s Vice President of Marketing. “To see clicks to our lodging partners up as much as 200 percent or more year-over-year, particularly at a time when travel was still very much in recovery mode, is a true testament to the power of the message and its ability to resonate with our target audience.”

To view a copy of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley’s entry and creative samples, please visit the finalist gallery page HERE. For more information on the Santa Ynez Valley, please visit www.visitsyv.com.

About the Santa Ynez Valley:

Barely two hours from Los Angeles and a scenic four-hour drive from San Francisco, the Santa Ynez Valley is home to six distinct towns each with its own culture, vibe, and menu of experiences. Blanketed with fruitful farms and vineyards, the California Central Coast wine region’s temperate weather allows for year-round activities of all sorts, spread throughout the historical communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang. Destination dining and world-class wines await, accompanied by lodging at every level, all painted into atmospheric backdrops that colorfully mesh Old World and Old West. Visit more than 100 wineries, feast on chef-driven cuisine, and enjoy festive events and design details from Victorian-era to mid-century to modern Danish. For more information, including a listing of wedding venues, restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, and events, go to VisitSYV.com.

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