100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Inspiring Travel to Oregon

Author: Guest Mo Sherifdeen
Posted: January 27, 2014
Blog Topics Covered:

There’s a lot of pride in being an Oregonian.  Oregon was that mythical destination at the end of the trail that lured thousands to take a perilous 2000-mile journey to seek out gold, fertile valleys and rivers teeming with salmon. 

After statehood, Oregonians decided that the entire coastline should be free and open to the public and that cities and forest should live in harmony.  We introduced the nation’s first bottle bill, nation's first modern streetcar system and embraced the farm-to-table lifestyle before it was fashionable.

Today, we’re known as a place at the end of the trail where great beer, wine, delicious food, art, amazing nature and friendly people come together in one place. 

This sense of place and an understanding of our history and shared values drive our approach to telling the story of Oregon.     

Click for larger imageWhy We Tell Stories (Publishing Objective):  Whether they already live here, come from a neighboring state or across an ocean – our job is to inspire folks to come to Oregon, experience it like a local and take a little bit of that Oregon spirit back home with them.  In a crowded publishing  world, our efforts are rooted in the belief and editorial objective of being the most trusted source for travel inspiration and trip information.  

Cultivating trust means you just don’t inspire folks to ride one of Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways, but also providing them all the practical information to complete the journey, including ride maps and things to see and do along the way. Finally, trust also means actively curating the experience for folks traveling to  a specific destination or traveling the state through the lens of a special interest (such as hiking) , including giving specific recommendations from locals, trip ideas and trail locations.

Click for larger imageThe Stories We Tell: Through our marketing and publishing efforts we tell stories with that unique Oregon voice: the self-effacing humor and quirky, a little bit off-the-beaten-path approach to life that is Oregon.  Our stories are conversational and try to convey simple truths about the places we love without trying to make the reader/viewer feel like they’re being marketed to. Our bloggers write first-person narratives to share their experience with the people and place of Oregon.

We tell stories about Oregon as a refuge for idealism; a place for endless adventure, as a place where dreamers can make big things happen, where we’re serious about where food comes from and where they have vision and a deep sense of stewardship that ties Oregonians together.  

Our Storytellers (Content Partnerships):  And while we tell our own stories (70% of annual content is original and paid) we also appreciate that there are many amazing storytellers in Oregon and our most valuable role is to serve as a connector for other storytellers.    We provide a platform for passionate locals to share their stories (30% of annual content is blogger/ambassador content) and also have strategic content partnerships with other publishers such as 1859 Magazine and Portland Monthly Magazine

Finally, because visitation from Oregon and Washington comprises almost 80% of the domestic leisure travel to Oregon, a broadcast content partnership with KGW-TV allows us to focus our TV reach within the population centers of those two travel driver states: Portland and Seattle. The KGW partnership also allows us to provide exposure in two other target markets: Boise and San Francisco.

These partnerships and independent voices not only complement our own publishing efforts but allow potential visitors to experience Oregon through the eyes of real people who live, work and play here.

The Places Where We Tell Stories (Content Distribution):  Folks who come to Travel Oregon’s channel s fit one of two categories: they’re either considering Oregon as a vacation destination or are actively planning a trip to Oregon (with 40% of planners visiting within 6 months).  As a result, our publishing efforts are designed to capture their attention at every stage of the trip planning process through a multi-channel approach.  This multi-platform publishing strategy is detailed in the diagram below.

And since we don’t have a 100% market-share on all of Oregon’s visitors, we’re enthusiastic about sharing and distributing our content far and wide beyond our borders.  Inspired by NPR’s adaptive content model and Australia Tourism Data Warehouse, we built platforms capable of distributing both editorial stories and granular planning content such as trails, events and travel deals.  As a result, we’re now delivering content to third party publishers such as Google’s Field Trip app, Roadtrippers, and Travel Astoria and the Jupiter Hotel; we also power some of the planning content for the Oregon Coast, Washington County , Eastern Oregon and Oregon’s Adventure Coast.                                                                                                

We are proud of our role as a content publisher and feel strongly that DMOs cannot and should not relinquish their role as the as the preeminent and trusted source for information.  In today’s media market, information is ubiquitous but context and trust are not.  I believe that tourism offices are uniquely positioned to serve as destination connectors (or curators) if they’re willing to leave the “traffic-at-all-costs” mentality behind and focus on producing and curating the highest quality, most trusted content about their destination.

Mo Sherifdeen, Director, Global Integrated Marketing
Mo oversees global digital brand and publishing strategy for Travel Oregon and is constantly dreaming up new ways to tell the Oregon story.
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