Readers will meet the winners in upcoming issues of The Travel Vertical and they’ll all be recognized in person during the 22nd Annual eTourism Summit on Sept. 20–22, 2021 in Las Vegas.
What’s an Emerging Tourism Star? Savvy individuals (of any age!) in destination marketing and attractions that are new to the eTourism Community of digital travel and tourism professionals or have risen to the challenges of a role.
- Winners will be directly connected with a travel and tourism leader as a mentor
- Winners receive a scholarship to attend eTourism Summit
- Winners will be on a panel conversation moderated by MMGY
- One winner will fill the eTS Emerging Tourism Star Advisory Board Seat (an annual appointment)
Q: How did you first get introduced to your role as Digital Marketing Manager at Visit Oakland?
A: I used to partner with Visit Oakland when I was doing marketing for Amtrak. We promoted Oakland events, activities, and attractions to Amtrak riders to boost ridership and overnight stays. I remember thinking at the time that their jobs seemed so cool! I knew I wanted to enter the tourism industry and luckily, the Digital Marketing Manager position became available. I went for it and here I am!
Q: What was that like, starting the job just two months before shelter-at-home orders were imposed?
A: I definitely think my experience in the tourism industry started out differently than most because I couldn’t promote travel for almost a year. I had to switch gears almost immediately and focus on solely promoting small businesses, which I love doing, and creating inspirational content to keep Oakland top of mind for future travelers. Therefore, I was very busy during that time, finding the balance of being strategic and nimble to the constant change of shelter-in-place orders.
Q: How did you manage to increase social media following and website traffic while everything was virtual only throughout 2020?
A: What’s worked really well for me in terms of creating and curating content for Visit Oakland’s digital channels is that I understand our audiences and what they like to consume. I took the time to review the analytics, identified trends, and shared more of that content. I paid attention to what was happening in Oakland and the world, and maintained an authentic, honest message. I think that resonated with current and new followers and that was how I managed to increase our following on social and traffic to the website.
Q: What are three things you’d like a first-time visitor to Oakland to know about the destination?
- Oakland is rooted in community. When people visit, take the opportunity to chat with folks, the business owners and the artists, if you can. They have a lot to share if you’re interested in learning.
- Oakland has an amazing culinary and art scene, nightlife, gorgeous regional parks, and top attractions that make it an amazing place for anyone to visit.
- You absolutely must visit Lake Merritt during your first trip here. You can walk, ride on the gondolas, eat at Lake Chalet or at one of the amazing food trucks just at the lake’s edge. There are markets, music, dancing, roller-blading, and people just enjoying the atmosphere.
Q: What are a few of the digital marketing plans from Visit Oakland for 2022?
A: We will be launching our long-awaited brand campaign that will roll into 2022, showcasing Oakland from the viewpoint of the locals. There are also plans to expand our social media offerings and create more video content, which I’m really excited about.
Q: Are you looking forward to your first eTourism Summit in September?
A: This will be the first industry event I will attend in-person, so I’m really looking forward to networking and meeting my colleagues. I’m excited to learn from their experiences, bring home new ideas, and have fun overall.