This month we took the Calaveras experience on the road to Visit California’s offices in Sacramento for a one-hour presentation followed by an informal lunch with their team. My partners for this endeavor were Heather Ginn of Cave & Mine Adventures, Sara Reed of the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance and Ron Dwelley of the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee.
To give some background – each month, Visit California, the official state tourism marketing organization, gives Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) like the Calaveras Visitors Bureau, the opportunity to come and present to their staff in person. This program is called “Third Thursdays” and is an outstanding opportunity to showcase regions that may be less familiar to their staff than bigger players in the state, like San Francisco or LA. Here’s how Visit California describes the program:
Our monthly training program, called “Third Thursdays,” invites DMOs to Visit California’s Sacramento headquarters to share their region’s most compelling attractions. This fun, interactive forum allows DMOs an opportunity to give key consumer, trade and media influencers more tools to promote their regions and builds strong relationships for future parnterships.
Feedback from the 45 or so Visit California employees who attended was extremely positive. We put together a folder of information for each person and brought some quintessentially Calaveras giveaways – rubber chickens from Twisted Oak Winery (prompting several in the room to Google the Rubber Chicken National Forest), chocolates from Petroglyphe Gallery, free overnight stay for 2 from Hotel Leger, free walk tour for 2 from Moaning Cavern and free wine tasting from select Calaveras wineries. In addition, we poured wine (2 whites and 2 reds) for the group to enjoy during Sara’s part of the presentation. After all, how can you possibly describe the quality of Calaveras wines without giving a taste?
And as an exciting finale, we produced three happy California bullfrogs as ambassadors for the Calaveras Frog Jump while Ron gave an overview of the history of the event, and our program of care for the frogs, AKA the Frog Spa. As usual, the frogs were a huge hit prompting Visit California staff to post instagram photos and tweets of the event.
So what was the takeaway from this event? Firstly, we renewed our connections with key Visit California staff and gave them an entertaining overview of Calaveras County that they’re unlikely to forget. Secondly, we provided enough comprehensive information to enable Visit California to recommend us to their industry partners and thirdly, we inspired them to visit in person thanks to the essential contribution of a free hotel stay at Hotel Leger.
Here at the Calaveras Visitors Center, we often hear from our visitors that Calaveras County makes an outstanding impression. And that’s not just because of our wide variety of tourism attributes, but also because of the truly outstanding friendliness and customer service that is consistently experienced. So, when we get them here, we know they’ll be delighted. And that is down to you, our member businesses, which is why it is always such a pleasure to promote Calaveras County.