Archive for the ‘Travel tips’ Category

Ten Travel and Tourism Trends for 2015

November 25, 2014

Sharing a column our CEO wrote today:

Thanksgiving is here.  It’s just a matter of time before we usher in a new year.  So what does 2015 hold for travel and tourism? Here are ten trends that I believe will influence travel and tourism next year.

  1. Unplugged travel: Lonely Planet recently released a number of predictions on the future of travel.  They believe the pressures of modern life will cause growth in ‘unplugged travel’. People will seek places that deliberately have no emails or mobile device access,  so that ‘guests can immerse themselves in their destination and truly forget about work and everyday life.’
  2. Crowded Planes: The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) forecasts that 6.6 billion passengers will fly worldwide by 2032, growing an average of 4.4% annually from 2014 onward. Bottom line: Crowded planes, especially on popular routes.
  3. Growth in Culinary Travel: It’s been a trend for awhile but research validates that food and beverage activities do influence travel decisions. Mandala Research surveyed Americans in 2013 and found that three quarters of all leisure travelers (131 million people) can be classified as culinary travelers, having participated in culinary activities within the past three years.  Expect more interest in culinary travel and new products to tap into this travel trend, like the New Mexico Breakfast Burrito Byway or the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail.
  4. Sleeping will cost you more: Hotel rates and occupancy levels will be higher due to demand and a stronger economy, especially in large cities and at upscale hotels. Experts advise doing your homework to find deals and booking early. Another option is to gamble on last minute deals through online lodging websites.
  5. Go Local: The rapid rise of the ‘sharing economy’ through venues like Airbnb.com, EatWith.com, Uber and other grass roots based travel providers will proliferate in the coming year(s).
  6. Meetings Coming On Strong: The meetings and convention industry will experience continued growth in 2015. According to American Express Meetings & Events 2015 Global Meetings Forecast, meetings will play a critical role in growing the tourism economy next year.
  7. Going mobile: Almost 25% of all travel bookings in the US will be done via smartphones in 2015. Mobile friendly travel apps and the growth in virtually everything being done on mobile devices have given rise to this trend. It’s not going to slow down either.
  8. Blurred Lines: Top of the Lonely Planet list of trends is that travel will become ‘fully integrated into our lives as opposed to a special event.’ This is encouraging as travel enriches in ways that no other activity can. Travelers are blending their interests when traveling. Trips that focus on the environment, sports, or spa/health will see growth in 2015.
  9. More bang for the buck: Leisure travelers want value and quality. This doesn’t always mean rock bottom pricing, but other aspects such as unique location,  quality service, new amenities and convenience are important.
  10. Sustainability. Sustainability in travel has been around for years, but consumers are driving companies and destinations to embrace more earth friendly practices. Hotels are not only reducing water and chemical use but also employing other sustainable practices including LED lighting and in-room recycling programs. Restaurants are sourcing local ingredients and products. Rental car companies offer more hybrid vehicles.

So those are my top ten travel trends to watch in 2015. Wherever you travel, enjoy the journey and cherish the memories.

John Cooper

Yakima Valley Featured in National Geographic Book on Dog Travel

April 7, 2014

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.

Website Dedicated to Local Yakima Valley Products Launched

November 21, 2013

yvMadeScreenShotHomeThe Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (VCB) has launched a new program just in time for holiday shopping. Yakima Valley Made is a website that provides the public a directory of more than 100 Yakima Valley based farm products, hand crafted consumer goods and local food or beverage products. “With the rise of so many hand crafted artisan goods we saw a need to develop a central source for those products,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of the VCB. “The site is a work in progress as vendors and locally crafted products are identified and added to the website.”

A number of the products listed on the website are available at the Yakima Valley Visitors Information Center at 101 N. Fair Avenue in Yakima. To view the site visit www.yakimavalleymade.com. Yakima Valley businesses producing locally grown or made items sold directly to consumers that want to be on the website should contact Laura Rodriquez at laura@visityakima.com

Funding for the project came through a grant from HUD Office of University Partnership at Heritage University with technical assistance provided by Yakima County Development Association/New Vision.

Yakima Valley Washington Launches Travel Campaign

March 25, 2013

Barrett4-20-12aTo boost Spring travel to Washington’s Yakima Valley, the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (YVVCB) launched a marketing campaign today to attract leisure travelers. “We get many visitors to the Valley each spring for sports tournaments and conventions,” stated John Cooper President & CEO. “This project is aimed to lure visitors here for wine touring, outdoor recreation, food and cultural events.”

The YVVCB has created a “Find Spring” campaign website that includes a range of spring events and attractions. It also has purchased advertisements in regional media and built online campaigns to attract visitors and increase web traffic.  Examples include participating in a Seattle Metropolitan’s email campaign sent to their 21,000 subscribers, a getaway drawing on ScenicWA.com that is sent to their 35,000 subscribers, exposure on Sunset.com and an email campaign to the YVVCB’s 8,500 online subscribers.

A major feature of the project is a sixty second radio commercial airing on Seattle radio stations that comically pokes fun at the rain in the Puget Sound and that the Yakima Valley is a sunny get-away. The spot will air 540 times through mid-May and will be supported with on-air promotional giveaways. Radio stations include Star 101.5, KOMO News, ESPN and KIRO radio.

Discover the Yakima Valley “Find Spring” website by clicking here. 

Yakima Valley Winter Travel Campaign Launches

November 28, 2012

Sip, Ski and Savor: Winter in the Yakima Valley.

That’s the title of a new winter tourism campaign by the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. Supported by print and online advertising, the focus of the campaign is to encourage winter travel to the Valley.  As the website states, “the cooler season brings fun-filled weekends of snow recreation, art and cultural performances, and wine tasting in the cozy Yakima Valley winery tasting rooms. Small town charm brings lighted parades, winter festivals and community celebrations.”

Included in the website are links to a variety of events, cultural celebrations, wineries the White Pass Ski Area and outdoor adventure. There’s also an online lodging reservation system so travelers can book their hotel. In addition, an interactive map breaks down winter events by communities in the Yakima Valley.

“Our goal with this campaign is to show visitors that even though it’s cold outside, there’s still lots to do in the Yakima Valley,” said John Cooper, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau.

View the website here.

Yelp Social Media Workshop

October 22, 2012

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau is hosting a workshop for businesses and organizations on using the social media website Yelp. The session is 11:00 a.m. November 1, 2012 at The Seasons Performance Hall, 101 N. Naches in Yakima.

Morgan Remmers and Darnell Holloway from Yelp’s corporate office in San Francisco will teach business owners how to use their Yelp listing to market themselves. They will also discuss best practices for using Yelp’s free review response tools.

Yelp is a popular business review and social media site. According to Yelp, every second a consumer generates directions or calls a local business from their mobile app. Yelp had an average of 78 million monthly unique visitors in the second quarter of this year. Yelp users have written more than 30 million local reviews for businesses, attractions and events.

The session is designed in an informative rather than interactive format. Attendees are welcome to bring their smartphone, iPad and/or laptop but they are not required for the session.

Cost for the workshop is $10 for Yakima Valley VCB members and $20 for non-members. A light lunch is included. Registration is available online at YakimaYelpWorkshop.bpt.me, by phone (509) 575-3010 or  email Reesha@VisitYakima.com.

Visitors Bureau Secures Media For Yakima Valley

September 28, 2012

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

September 25, 2012

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.


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