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Late last month we launched a new report in our Skift Trends Reports service, Food Tourism Strategies to Drive Destination Spending.
The report was the product of research, surveys, and multiple interviews, including Visit California’s CEO, who told Skift about the state’s investment in video to tell its food tourism story. Get the full report here to stay ahead of this trend.
One of the channel’s most popular original series to date, California Dream Eater combines all of the modern trends prevalent in food tourism video marketing today: chatty conversation over local and creative cuisine, user-generated content and programming, two-way social media engagement, off-the-beaten-path destinations, and a sense of discovery about the local culture.
Dream Eater host Chase Ramsey drives around California to explore quirky and compelling culinary experiences, and equally quirky and compelling people. The biggest hook to engage viewers revolves around how the actual location shoots are suggested by viewers following the @CaliforniaDreamEater Instagram account and/or #DreamEats Instagram hashtag.
Ramsay shoots multiple videos in each destination which are then posted across Visit California’s entire digital ecosystem to promote some of California’s most unique food and beverage experiences.
Supplementing its food tourism marketing efforts, Visit California hosts the Always In Season video series, highlighting California-grown produce and the chefs who use specialty crops to create unique dishes. The content is produced in partnership with Food & Wine magazine to promote the state government’s CA Grown initiative that’s designed to “connect people with farmers.”
California is also the host location for Bravo’s Top Chef television series this year.
Skift interviewed Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, for some additional context around the state’s food tourism content strategy.
Skift: How is food tourism marketing evolving specifically in 2016?
Caroline Beteta: Travelers are increasingly allowing their passions to fuel their vacation choices, and with the rise in foodie culture, more and more people consider culinary experiences a key driver in choosing a travel destination. With California’s farm-fresh food and high-profile chefs, it’s a culinary paradise. In fact, in 2015 more than 50 million travelers included fine dining, wine tasting, or visiting a craft brewery among their activities in the state, according to Tourism Economics.
Skift: What is the marketing strategy behind Dream365TV?
Beteta: Dream365TV originated from the idea that chasing dreams is a year-round pursuit in California. The featured original series such as California Dream Eater exemplify California’s fun-loving and free-spirited vibe, and it inspires visitors to come experience the state for themselves.
Skift: To what do you attribute the success overall of California Dream Eater?
Beteta: California Dream Eater is an extraordinary platform to showcase some of California’s most sought-after culinary creations. Because the program is crowdsourced, we’re getting an authentic look at what food lovers around the globe want to sample.
We get an amazing response from nearly every video and photo posted, but one standout post was the Mac ’n’ Cheetos from the Attic on Broadway in Long Beach. Both the video and the Instagram post showing the dish were incredibly well received. One Instagram commenter said: “I don’t want to be skinny anymore, I want this instead!”
Skift: California is the location for Bravo’s Top Chef series this year. What does that partnership deliver to Visit California?
Beteta: Visit California’s partnership with Top Chef allowed us to showcase California’s bounty on a national stage to an audience that already loves food. Putting the spotlight on our great culinary destinations helped highlight some well known foodie destinations, as well as some places that might not have been on everyone’s radar.
It was a tremendous opportunity to show the audience that California has an abundance of chefs, artisan producers and restaurateurs, even outside our major cities.