Four convention and visitors bureaus received achievement awards in a recent competition with their colleagues throughout the Western United States and . Sponsored by the Western Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (WVisit Albuquerque), the annual Best Idea Program showcases innovative projects and creative marketing strategies as submitted by WVisit Albuquerque members.

This year’s Best Idea Program awards were presented during the 2008 WVisit Albuquerque Annual Meeting, October 8-11, in Tucson, Arizona.

Following receipt of the entry forms, a Board-appointed Task Force reviewed the submissions and selected several ideas for presentation. Representatives from four bureaus presented their best ideas during the conference.

WVisit Albuquerque congratulates the following member bureaus for receiving outstanding achievement awards for their organizations in the 2008 Best Idea Program.

•      Albuquerque (NM) Convention and Visitors Bureaus

        Project: Summer 2008 Affordable Campaign

was named by AAA as the second most affordable travel destination (based on food and lodging costs). Playing off the affordable ranking and with the heightened media awareness about high gas prices and expensive plane travel, the Visit Albuquerque ran a targeted campaign to encourage people in nearby markets to visit this summer. The campaign included radio and online advertising, a sweepstakes program, on-air promotional contests and use of the bureau’s e-newsletter. The timeliness of the message, in conjunction with the news media coverage of the economy and gas prices, resonated with the target audience.

•      (CA) Conference and Visitors Bureaus

                Project: Walking in the Footsteps of Celebrities Walking Tour

In creating the walking tour map, the bureau’s goal was to create an interactive guide enabling visitors to transport themselves into star status by experiencing establishments frequented by celebrities. The bureau wanted to continue to position as a walkable city, leverage the connection the city has with celebrities while maintaining the privacy of individuals, and drive visitors into local businesses. The walking tour highlights hot restaurants and other establishments while sharing celebrity insights. The walking tour allows travelers to mirror famous celebs and experience the glitz and glam of their favorite stars. Launched spring 2008, the walking tour was the perfect summer leisure activity, as businesses highlighted on the tour reported a noticeable surge in clientele.

•      North (CA) Convention and Visitors Bureau

Project: Chef’s Corner

To increase awareness of local dining opportunities and award-winning chefs, the bureau began a promotion called the Chef’s Corner. The bureau’s consumer e-newsletter now has a permanent column called the Chef’s Corner. The promotion highlights a signature dish from a local award-winning chef, who uses the recipe in his restaurant. The promotion also works at building loyalty among customers by including helpful lifestyle tips. The bureau highlights a new chef and recipe in each e-newsletter. The bureau believes a lifestyle approach to its e-newsletters will increase the CVB’s relevancy as a reliable source for visitor information and tips. It will also increase the long-term sustainability of the bureau’s opt-in consumers.

•      Convention and Visitors Bureau

        Project: Annual Meeting Video Using Animoto Videos

The Tri-Valley CVB was looking for a new, visually compelling way to present the bureau’s accomplishments at its Annual Meeting. The Web site——allowed bureau staff to upload photos, logos and text slides (in JPEG of GIF file formats), select or upload music, and then edit the material together in a visually appealing video. Using the program, one can remix the video to create new versions with new effects and transitions, all while analyzing your selected music and editing your images to match. Tri-Valley presented a high resolution version, and embedded a low resolution version on its Web site. Posting the video to social networking sites is also easily accomplished. A modest investment allows the bureau to create an unlimited number of videos, of any duration.                                                       

The Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus is a regional professional association serving more than 140 member bureaus in the Western United States and the Western provinces of