January 2017

SOCIAL MEDIA RECAP 2016

It was a social 2016 for Visit Santa Barbara, with fan growth totaling over 310K engaged users across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. VSB strategized to post less and produce high-quality, timely content to energize the social community and inspire new visitors. Examples of content produced include a Thanksgiving Facebook post in which VSB “shared our thanks” with the community, the newly created Santa Barbara Bubble Trail and “365 days of tacos” along Santa Barbara’s Taco Trail. The shift in strategy proved successful with over 2.5 million impressions and a 233 percent year over year growth in engagement rates. Additional highlights introduced in 2016 include membership opportunities for co-op placements, Facebook Live Streaming, Instagram Stories and a new editorial style.

CRUISE SHIPS BOOST SANTA BARBARA ECONOMY

Grand Princess Cruise Ship

VSB released key findings from its 2016 Cruise Ship Economic Impact Study at its annual 2017 Travel Outlook event Jan. 20.  The survey, conducted by Destination Analysts, shows that cruise ship business contributed an estimated $3.9 million to the local economy, up 61 percent from 2013, when the last survey was conducted. The increase was due largely to the increase in cruise ship numbers (from 21 in 2013 to 29 in 2016). Cruise ships brought 80,831 passengers to Santa Barbara in 2016. The survey also found that 56.4 percent of Santa Barbara cruise ship passengers were first-time visitors with 48.7 percent likely to return within one to two years, supporting the idea that cruise passengers can be converted into overnight repeat visitors. To view the complete study, click here.

2017 “OFFICIAL DRINK OF SANTA BARBARA” WINNER IS “GINSPIRATION POINT”

Ginspiration Point by Alcazar Tapas Bar Photo Credit: Silas Fallstitch

Over 150 people were in attendance at VSB’s first inaugural cocktail contest where the “Official Drink of Santa Barbara” winner “Ginspiration Point” was declared by a panel of judges. Created by Alvaro Rojas, owner of Alcazar Tapas Bar, “Ginspiration Point” pays homage to Inspiration Point hiking trail in Santa Barbara’s foothills. The refreshing, citrus-forward cocktail is dominated by locally sourced ingredients, including Cutler’s Artisan Spirits Gin. In addition to having the exclusive rights to sell the “2017 Official Drink of Santa Barbara,” Alcazar Tapas Bar received prizes including a suite of promotional exposure through VSB’s official destination marketing channels, as well as a certificate from City of Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider. For full details of the contest, including the top five finalists, click here.

TRAVEL + LEISURE – VOTE SANTA BARBARA “THE WORLD’S BEST”

Voting for Travel + Leisure’s 2017 “World’s Best” Awards is currently open. Let’s continue to help Santa Barbara rise to the top of the list! Santa Barbara has been nominated for “best city” and several area hotels for “best hotels.” If you have not already voted, please do and encourage your clients, colleagues and collaborators to click here to vote by March 6.