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In a world of always-on content, information overload and the ever-changing digital consumer, how do you stand out from the competition and most importantly, reach your audience? Kevin Wright, Vice President of Global Marketing for Travel Oregon will be joining us at #DTTTCampus in June to talk about Reflecting on the Role of Content to Engage Visitors Differently We caught up with Kevin to find out a bit more about what we can expect. 

1. Please introduce yourself and your organisation.

I’m Kevin Wright, the Vice President of Global Marketing for Travel Oregon the tourism office for the state of Oregon. I began my career in Colorado where I served as the Marketing Director for Loveland Ski Area and Marketing Specialist for the Colorado Tourism Office.  I have a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Plymouth State College in New Hampshire and currently live in Portland, Oregon with my wife and two young children.

The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors' experiences by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The commission aims to improve Oregonians' quality of life by strengthening the economic impacts of the state's $12.3 billion tourism industry that employs more than 115,000 Oregonians. Visit traveloregon.com to learn more.

2. What do you consider key to making Travel Oregon an inspiring and attractive brand?

For us, it’s important to clearly identify the business “problem” we are trying to solve. For Travel Oregon it’s asking ourselves: How do we drive travel to every corner of the state to maximize statewide economic impact? This means going beyond the physical and obvious attributes of our destination to understand the deeper reasons travellers come to Oregon. Thus, our brand positioning is based on truth; our voice has personality and a quirky, self-effacing humour; it’s different than what’s already out there and is integrated seamlessly across all channels.

3. What are the main challenges facing Travel Oregon today?

A challenge for Travel Oregon, that we’ve been excited to take on, is transitioning from a Destination Marketing Organization to a Destination Management Organization. It’s about balancing the ability to successfully market the entire state, while also keeping top of mind that parts of Oregon experience higher visitor volume than others. We need to concentrate on developing new tourism product to market while also protecting the places that attract visitors. We also strive to give our partners the tools they need to inspire visitors to choose their destination. We recognize the power of marketing and its ability to educate our visitors on ways to visit popular places in a sustainable way or inspire them to travel to lesser-known areas, all with the end goal of enhancing the visitor experience and spreading the economic impact that comes with visitation.

4. And what are the main opportunities?

Oregon is well positioned from a product standpoint and has many of the experiences travellers seek: From rugged natural beauty to a burgeoning culinary scene, to rich culture and heritage experiences. The opportunity exists for Travel Oregon to align with the work of others. Whether it’s internal alignment between marketing and product development, or external alignment within the industry, there is power in pulling together networks who share similar visions.

5. What is Travel Oregon's main source of inspiration for engaging content?

The easy answer is that we get our inspiration from Oregon’s incredible scenic beauty. Which is true. But it’s so much more than that. It starts with being authentic to who we are as Oregonians. Oregon has long been known as a destination that lures dreamers and adventurers. Oregonians are also innovators—the state is the birthplace of Nike, a global brand that evolved from a guy selling waffle-soled running shoes out of the trunk of his car; it’s the home of the nation’s first bottle bill; first modern streetcar system; and a place that embraced the farm-to-table lifestyle before it was even fashionable. But it’s also a place indigenous people have called home for thousands of years - a place rich with culture, art and history.  This sense of place and an understanding of our history and shared values drives our approach to telling the story of Oregon. Our stories are conversational and convey simple truths about the places we love without making our audience feel like they’re being marketed to.  We tell stories about Oregon as a refuge for idealism: a place for endless adventure, a place where dreamers can make big things happen, where we’re serious about where food comes from and where a deep sense of stewardship ties Oregonians together.

6. What role does content play in your strategy?

Content is critical to the work we do. We’ve always specialized in telling stories about the places we love while creating nuanced, meaningful, “insider” content that is helpful to the reader. With our content, we aim to be the most trusted source for Oregon travel information and trip inspiration. An important tool we’ll use to accomplish this is the Visitor Lifecycle Management (VLM) Project. Through improved marketing technology, the VLM project will identify where travellers are in the Oregon trip-planning process and help guide them to the next step. We’ll then be able to personalize content based on where a visitor is in their trip-planning cycle (whether they are planning a trip, or we’re re-inspiring them to return). Having a better understanding of where consumers are in their journey, along with what they are interested in has incredible potential.

7. Does Travel Oregon do all content in-house?

Travel Oregon’s content and content platforms are managed by the Integrated Marketing Studio, which acts as an internal publisher housed within the Global Marketing team.

70% of our annual content is original and paid. We also recognize that there are many amazing storytellers in Oregon, so we also provide a platform for passionate locals to share their stories with 30% of annual content produced by bloggers/ambassadors.  In the past, we’ve partnered with the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism to nurture and experiment with young storytellers. We’re currently partnering with the Oregon Film Office to provide quarterly content grants to support local content creators who are producing high-quality, innovative multimedia content about Oregon that inspires travel to or around the state.

8. How does Travel Oregon best keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape and digital consumer?

It comes down to being vigilant about identifying emerging consumer trends and authentically relating to the consumer based on what we’re seeing. We also constantly push ourselves to be innovative and cutting-edge in the work we do. But we can’t rely solely on data and analytics, so, it is also understanding that we have to be daring and experiment with new platforms and run pilot projects with outcomes that may be unexpected.

9. Based on your experience, do you have any advice for other DMOs when developing a strong content strategy?

  • When building out a content program, think about how you can balance your messaging to inspire potential travellers, and at the same time support local businesses (and organizations) and communities.
  • Ask yourself: How can the work you do make the travel planning experience easier for travellers and how do you connect them to products and experiences in your destination?
  • How can you amplify and weave the stories your partners are telling about themselves into a cohesive destination story?
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to partner and support your local filmmakers and journalism schools.

10. What can attendees expect from your talk at #DTTTCampus?

Attendees will hear about Travel Oregon’s approach to brand development and how the Oregon tourism brand has evolved over time. I’ll also share how our team amplifies and integrates our advertising campaigns through inspiring content by working with a variety of different vendors and partners.

Discussion

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