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We are excited to have Kerri Verbeke Kapich joining us at #DTTTGlobal from San Diego Tourism, sharing learnings and insights about content creation, localising content and the Chinese market. Here's a preview of what you can expect.

Please introduce yourself, your role and your organization – how long have you worked here, and what do you like doing when you're not being a DMO expert?

I am Kerri Verbeke Kapich, Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA).  I have been with the SDTA since 1997, overseeing marketing, community outreach and revenue development.  Beyond the DMO world, I enjoy travelling, getting outdoors, arts/culture, reading and spending time with family.  Also, I’m a big Comic-Con fan and have been attending since I was a teenager.

In this current climate, what is the biggest challenge for San Diego Tourism Authority?

San Diego Tourism is now competing on a global stage which is difficult when you are a lesser-known destination.  Tourism is our region’s second largest traded economy so staying relevant and attracting visitors is important to our region’s economic health.  Communities, including San Diego, are trying to invest more in product, experiences and infrastructure that meets the needs of the tourism industry as well as the residents.  And with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas as our neighbours, it is essential for San Diego to invest in marketing programs that drive destination demand.

In light of your previous question, what is the most significant content opportunity for San Diego Tourism Authority?

The SDTA has an “Always-on” content strategy to ensure that many stories are being shared about our destination.  San Diego is California’s beach city with diverse amenities and an enviable lifestyle.  Our greatest opportunity is the sheer number of stories that we can tell about San Diego.  Content is developed around the brand pillars of Outdoor Recreation, Family Attractions, Culinary, Entertainment, Nightlife, Arts, Culture and History.  Content is created by a multitude of providers, from local ambassadors to SDTA staff to social influencers to media partners.

Here are some examples of our highly popular content series, Guides to the Good Stuff and One Bright Idea:

San Diego’s Guides to the Good Stuff

San Diego: One Bright Idea

How is San Diego Tourism Authority engaging with consumers on their social media platforms?  Do you have a favourite or more popular one and what are you doing to engage the not-so-popular ones?

SDTA is present across all the main social media platforms with our own channels and we advertise through media partners across theirs (i.e., Trip Advisor).  Our social media agency monitors our feeds and San Diego coverage, engaging to answer questions and thank consumers for feedback.  For our owned channels, our VisitSanDiego Facebook and Instagram accounts are the most popular.  The SDTA team has spent considerable time building these accounts.  Two years ago, we decided to overhaul our Instagram account to be harder working and more representative of the destination.  Focus group research told us travellers wanted to see more of the destination.  We now engage with local photographers and ask for consumers to post to favourite themes such as “sunsets” and “beaches”.  This past year we grew followers by 55%.  Next, we are focused on building up our Pinterest program and we just launched our WeChat Social Account in China.

How has this influenced your goal of 'localizing' content? It would be great to hear about some of your challenges and opportunities with the likes of the Chinese market.

In 2017 we held focus groups in Los Angeles, our largest target market and one that is only a few hours away from our destination.  Los Angeles travellers told us that they wanted us to speak specifically to their needs.  They told us to be detailed about what’s new in San Diego and to ask them frequently to come and visit.  They are our neighbours and asked that we treat them like family.  This insight led us to develop content that spoke specifically to them.

The idea of “localizing” is nothing new.  The challenge is how to go about it when there are limited resources.  As an organization, we have sought to add team members that are bi-literal/bi-cultural for international market development.  For priority markets, we have in-country representation firms that assist with strategy and content development.  As much as we can, we localize content and tap into social channels for that market.  In China, we have our own dedicated social channels for WeChat, Weibo and Youku that are managed by Hylink (our digital agency in China) and supervised by our Asia-Pacific Development Manager (speaks Japanese, Mandarin and English).

As an organization, what is your content strategy? If you could summarize your strategy, what do you think is the most important thing to focus on?

Our content strategy is “Always-on”.   Paid advertising has shifted to an “Always-on” strategy with native content, ads and distribution across media platforms.  Our Owned program relies on a partnership with San Diego Magazine for support in content creation across web, social media, blogs and print publications.  Our Earned program works closely with KOLs and influencers to shape and share the San Diego story.  Our content team is extensive, across all marketing departments and partners, with editorial calendars, story development, amplification strategies, monitoring and analysis to guide the constant evolution of the work.

The name of your keynote is "Cut-Through Editorial, Ambassadors and Storytelling" – what does that mean for developing storylines in your content marketing? Also, how do you plan to distribute the content?

What excites you the most about our 2018 Global event in Helsinki?

I’m looking forward to learning from industry leaders and taking back new ideas to the team in San Diego.

Finally, as a bonus question if you could offer one piece of advice to a DMO struggling to tell their story, what 3 words would you use to motivate them?

Everyone loves stories

Don't miss Kerri Verbeke Kapich's talk from 15:45 - 16:15 on Thursday 29th November at #DTTTGlobal

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