Yakima Valley Featured in National Geographic Book on Dog Travel

Dog Lovers coverNational Geographic Books has released The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel which includes dog friendly businesses, attractions and outdoor areas in 75 pet-friendly cities and regions across the United States and Canada. The Yakima Valley is one of six communities in the Pacific Northwest featured in the book.

 The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel was written by Kelly E. Carter, a New York Times best-selling author and pet travel expert for AOL’s Paw Nation and Elite Traveler. In each destination Carter highlights pet offerings including hotels, parks, pet shops and pet friendly businesses. Features of the book include walks to take with your dog, insider tips from local pet owners and sidebars detailing opportunities for people with a dog in tow.

Yakima Valley Tourism approached Carter in early 2013 as the book was being developed. In 2012 the tourism office had created WineDoggies.com, an award winning program developed to assist visitors traveling with their dogs to the Yakima Valley. “When we found out she was writing this book we knew the Yakima Valley was the right fit,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism. “We enjoyed working with Ms. Carter and are honored our community was included.”

WineDoggies.com provides pet-friendly businesses and must-see stops in the region. It also includes a ‘Doggie Bloggie’ hosted by a local canine, an interactive map of 50 plus dog-friendly businesses with open-pet policies and a section where dog-friendly businesses and guests can add pictures and stories of their dogs enjoying Washington’s wine country. In addition to featuring the Wine Doggies website, the book highlights numerous Yakima Valley walking and hiking trails, local pet services, dog friendly wineries and pet events.

The other Northwest cities included in the book are Seattle, Portland, Bend, Coeur d’Alene and Missoula. The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel can be found at local bookstores,  Amazon.com and National Geographic’s online bookstore.

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Yakima Valley Hosts Brand USA UK Tour

UK travel agents and their 'Sunbrellas' at Silver Lake Winery

UK travel agents and their ‘Sunbrellas’ at Silver Lake Winery

As a conclusion to National Travel and Tourism Week, last weekend the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau hosted nine United Kingdom travel agents, tourism staff from the Port of Seattle and media on a whirlwind tour of the Valley as part of  a MegaFam sponsored by Brand USA with the Port.

As part of their visit the travel agents visited wineries, saw the Canine and Wine fundraiser, took a hayride, toured the murals in Toppenish, had a wine makers dinner at Treveri Cellars, enjoyed brunch at Birchfield Manor and stayed at downtown hotels. The Yakima Valley was part of a Washington and Oregon multi-day tour entitled Pacific Playground. Here’s a blog entry about their time in the Valley.

The mega-familiarization tour included seven simultaneous itineraries incorporating some of the United States’ most iconic destinations. Each itinerary offerered an incredible experience from the western wilds of Utah and Colorado; the urban playgrounds of the East Coast; the rich culture of Texas; the laid back lifestyle of California; the creole flavors of the Deep South; the Pacific Playground journey and the Great Lakes region. MegaFam participants were selected among an elite group of travel agents from the UK and Ireland who booked trips to the USA from January 1 – April 5, 2013 via Brand USA’s partner airlines, British Airways and American Airlines, and ground transportation partner, Avis.
Brand USA is the nation’s first cooperative destination marketing organization. They focus on delivering programs that increase awareness and enhance the image of the United States among worldwide travelers and encourage travel to the United States. In addition to promoting the United States as a travel destination they work with the Federal government to communicate US entry and security processes that will help make the journey to and into the United States easier and more welcoming.

Building Wine Tourism in Yakima Valley Washington

Wine tourism is an important part of the tourism brand for the Yakima Valley.  The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (VCB) recently implemented a series of projects to build wine tourism for the Valley and beyond. Here are a few examples:

  • The Yakima Valley and Tri-Cities VCBs took over managing the Washington Wine Country regional branding organization.This organization brands and markets the region from Yakima to Walla Walla, where more than 90% of Washington’s wine grapes are grown
  • The Yakima Valley VCB took the lead to get the ‘case of wine flies free’ on Alaska Airlines program (Taste and Tote) expanded from Walla Walla. Now Alaska customers can check a case of wine free from the Yakima, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla airports.
  • In partnership with those communities and dozens of businesses we promoted the Taste and Tote program through table tents, in-flight and consumer magazines, travel and lifestyle media plus social media channels. The media exposure alone reached nearly nine million readers and yielded more than $54,000 in media value.
  • We also redesigned and promoted our VCB wine tourism micro-website. It includes an interactive wine map, events, winery listings, suggested tasting routes, AVA information, wine country history and more. It and other sites of the VCB were made mobile ready for smart phones.
  • We launched Winedoggies.com, a new website for visitors traveling with their dogs.  Highlights include a ‘doggie bloggie’ hosted by a local dog, an interactive map of around 50 dog-friendly businesses, Twitter account plus a section where guests can add pictures and stories of their dogs enjoying our region. The Western Association of CVBs awarded the bureau a Best Idea Award for the site in the 2012.
  •  Our multi-channel marketing campaigns had a strong wine and culinary focus. In the spring we ran a radio campaign on Seattle radio stations. It reminded folks on the ‘wet side’ of the state that the sun does shine and that there are many reasons to visit our wine country. It was a finalist for the national Radio Mercury Awards. To hear the radio spot click http://budurl.com/FindSpring
  •  In November 2012 we launched Sip, Ski and Savor, a winter campaign that included wine related events and other activities. A focus of the campaign was a weekend getaway contest. Since the program launched, we’ve seen a 25% increase in web visitors, 1,500 requests for information, and 2,000 new Facebook fans.
  • We had a busy year working with the media to place features on the Valley. Many of these had a focus on wine related events and attractions. Stories were placed in National Geographic Traveler, San Francisco Chronicle, Bend Bulletin, Wine Enthusiast, Seattle Magazine, Sip Northwest and many other outlets. Our efforts resulted in 95 travel media articles with an advertising value exceeding $1.56 million in value. For samples check our Yakima Valley in the News section of our website.
  • Underlying our marketing and advertising was a coordinated social media strategy across a variety of platforms.

The end result has been a greater awareness of the Yakima Valley and Washington Wine Country as a wine and culinary destination and more visitors.

Yakima Valley Washington 2012 Tourism Report

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (VCB) reports 2012 was a successful year for the organization in attracting and serving visitors.

In 2012 the Yakima Valley and the Tri-Cities VCBs assumed ownership and management of the Washington Wine Country marketing organization. In addition, the Yakima Valley VCB took the leadership role to expand the Alaska Airlines Taste and Tote program throughout the region. This program gives visitors three incentives to visit:  It allows visitors to check a case of wine free from Yakima, Pasco, or Walla Walla airports on Alaska Airlines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car waives rental car drop-off fees at these airports and visitors presenting an Alaska Airlines boarding pass at participating wineries receive waived tasting fees.

The Yakima Convention Center hosted 125,127 visitors during 494 event days in 2012 and brought in nearly $9 million to the local economy. Earned revenue hit an all-time high of just under $800,000.

Sports events continue to expand and grow, providing economic benefits and exposure for the Yakima Valley.  The Yakima Valley Sports Commission estimates the economic impact of sports tourism in the Yakima Valley was $33 million in 2012 (up 15% from 2011) and the number of sporting events held was 416 (up 8% from 2011). In addition, the Sports Commission launched Pirate Plunder Adventure Race, which welcomed 878 runners in its inaugural year.

The VCB’s website visityakimavalley.org had a total of 252,340 page views, a 19% increase over 2011 and a 52% increase over 2010.  The VCB launched a number of new marketing projects, including WineDoggies.com, a website dedicated to visitors who travel with their dogs. In September that program won a ab award from the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.

Through VCB public relations efforts, 95 travel media placements and articles appeared about Yakima Valley with an advertising value exceeding $1.56 million.  The Yakima Valley Visitor Information center served 14,492 visitors and responded to more than 8,654 information requests via email and phone (up 31%).

A copy of their 2012 Annual Report can be found at http://budurl.com/12AnRep

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the Yakima Valley. Its mission is to stimulate economic development by marketing the Yakima Valley for conventions, groups and leisure travel.

Visitors Bureau Secures Media For Yakima Valley

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau has been busy working with journalists and writers to place features on the Yakima Valley. Here are the latest results from those efforts:

In the Bend Bulletin, John Anderson shares the many agri-tourism attractions and events in the Yakima Valley. Read the article here.

Senior editor Nikki Gloudeman of Smart Meetings magazine wrote in her blog about recent awards at the Western Association of CVB’s Annual Convention, of which our Wine Doggies website received a Best Idea recognition. She finished that entry with the line: “One thing’s for sure: I now really want to get a dog and bring him to the Yakima Valley.”

The Valley was the feature story in the fall issue City Dog magazine, sharing all the dog friendly attractions found in the region. This resulted from a detailed tour our ‘spokesdog’ and staff gave their staff earlier this summer. City Dog has a circulation of 25,000 throughout the Northwest and Northern California. Check this PDF for all the tail wagging details.

Here’s a feature  placed in the Everett Herald with six reasons to visit the Valley this fall.

The Dog Wonderful website did a piece earlier this month resulting from an appointment we had at US Travel Association’s International Pow Wow last May.

Keep up with (and share!) all the positive media we are generating for the region by visiting our Yakima Valley in the News section on our website or by following our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter).

Wine Doggies Website Wins Award

Sara Toliver of the Ogden/Weber CVB and a WACVB Board Member presents award to John Cooper of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau

Winedoggies.com,  a program developed by the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau to assist visitors traveling with their dogs, won an award last week at an industry convention and trade show.

Sponsored by the Western Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (WACVB), the annual Best Idea Program showcases innovative projects and creative marketing strategies submitted by WACVB members. This year’s Best Idea Program awards were presented during the 2012 WACVB Annual Conference September 20th in Eugene, Oregon.

According to the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau, Winedoggies.com is designed to assist travelers and their dogs with their visit to the Yakima Valley, providing a resource for pet-friendly businesses and must-see stops in the region. The website includes a ‘Doggie Bloggie’ hosted by a local canine, an interactive map of 54 dog-friendly businesses with open-pet policies, plus a section where dog-friendly businesses and guests can add pictures and stories of their dogs enjoying Washington wine country. The site launched in February 2012.

Awards also went to the Laguna Beach (CA) Visitors & Conference Bureau;  Monterey County (CA) Convention & Visitors Bureau and Park City (UT) Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus is a regional professional association serving more than 135 destination marketing organizations in the western United States and the western provinces of Canada.

Wanted: Yakima Valley Dogs

Dexter looks out on the Cowiche Canyon Trail near Yakima

In March, the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau launched a website for visitors traveling with their dogs. Winedoggies.com features the many dog friendly attractions and services available in the Yakima Valley.  Highlights include a ‘doggie bloggie’ hosted by a local canine, an interactive map of dog-friendly businesses with pet policies, plus a section where guests can add pictures and stories of their dogs enjoying Washington wine country.

The Bureau is looking for submissions about local dogs and their favorite places to play in the Yakima Valley.  “This website was developed for visitors to the Valley traveling with their dogs,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “What better way to show all the great places to take your dog than to feature local dogs and their owners having fun?” Of course non-Yakima Valley dogs having fun while visiting the Valley are also welcome to submit a write up!

Submissions should be sent via e-mail to Kirsten@visityakima.com. They should provide a brief background about the dog(s) and include places the dog likes to visit in the Yakima Valley. A high resolution image of the dog(s) should also be attached. As an incentive, one entrant will be randomly chosen to receive a Yakima Valley Gift Basket on August 24th. Examples of dog stories can be found at the Your Doggie Stories tab.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine Features Two Mountain Winery

Patt and Matt Rawn of Zillah with their dogs

Sometimes good things come to those that wait.

Nearly a year ago we hosted prominent journalist and author Lisa Rogak to a tour of the Valley. Lisa is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books on a variety of topics, from writers and their cats (The Cat on my Shoulder) to sabbaticals (Time Off From Work) to cemeteries in New England (Stones and Bones).  This week we were pleased to learn that Two Mountain Winery of Zillah  was included in her dog friendly wineries  feature in the online version of Wine Enthusiast magazine. She also informed us more stories are in the works.

This is one example of the many stories and features that have resulted from our efforts to bring journalists and travel writers to the Valley. Want to see more examples? Click this section of our online Media Room.

And if you’re headed to Washington wine country with your pups, be sure to visit our website winedoggies.com for resources on dog friendly places and activities!

New Website for Dog Travel Launched

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau has launched a new website for visitors traveling with their dogs.  Winedoggies.com  features the many dog friendly attractions and services available in the Yakima Valley.  Highlights include a ‘doggie bloggie’ hosted by a local canine, an interactive map of dog-friendly businesses with open pet policies, plus a section where guests can add pictures and stories of their dogs enjoying Washington wine country.

“We created this site to accommodate the growing number of visitors traveling with their dogs,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “Although the site is called Wine Doggies, it’s much more than stories about winery dogs.  The site is designed to assist travelers and their dogs with their visit to wine country, giving them a tour guide for pet friendly shops and must-see stops in the Yakima Valley.”

As pet ownership grows, so does the trend of traveling with man’s best friend.  Large cities such as Seattle and San Francisco have more dogs per capita than children,[i]  and more than 49 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers consider their pet to be part of the family.[ii]  In a survey taken of more than 6,000 pet owners, most reported traveling at least once a year with their pets. [iii]

The Yakima Valley boasts dog-inclusive activities ranging from the Canine & Wine Walk on May 12, 2012, where pups walk their owners through selected wineries to raise money for the Yakima Valley Pet Rescue, to dog-friendly boating on nearby lakes.  For information on other canine related attractions in the Yakima Valley, follow Wine Doggies on Twitter at @winedoggies or visit www.winedoggies.com.

[i] Source: “Amazing Dog Facts and Trivia,” by Ryan O’Meara (Chartwell Books, Inc.)

[ii] Source: US Travel Association, 2009

[iii] PetRelocation.com