PBID to Create Online Tourism Infrastructure

  • 03/08/2019
  • Reporters Desk

By Benjamin Garcia, RLN Reporter

 Members of the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District (PBID) expect a tourism boom to come to San Pedro, but say that San Pedro does not have the tourism infrastructure to fully capitalize on it.

That is why the PBID is considering contracting with tech startup CrowdRiff to harvest user-generated content and create a tourism oriented website.

According to Monica Simpson, the PBID’s director of public relations and marketing, today’s five strongest drivers of tourism are:

  • Culinary attractions (e.g., farmer’s markets, food festivals, wineries and breweries)
  • Culture and entertainment (concerts, nightlife, museums)
  • Family-friendly activities (aquariums, beaches, parks, theme parks)
  • Luxury (resorts, spas , shopping)
  • Nature (beaches, parks, snow, recreational vehicles)

Simpson, who also sits on the board of San Pedro Historic Waterfront PBID, presented that information Feb. 20 at a meeting geared toward “rebranding the harbor” by creating a year-round marketing initiative.

The presentation, titled “Building Influence With Visuals,” revolved around a proposition to use CrowdRiff to collect social media posts by monitoring hashtags such as #DiscoverSanPedro. The service is used by over 500 tourism brands across the globe.

Simpson’s presentation was informed by her attendance at the Visit California 2019 Outlook Forum. As the lights dimmed for the overhead projector, she spoke on Visit California’s initiative to talk about assisting local tourism bureaus, chambers of commerce, and destination marketing organizations in order to expand on Visit California’s foundational plan to build the brand.

At the forum, Simpson saw a comparison between Monterey and San Pedro. Monterey faces “a massive problem” of over-tourism without infrastructure to disperse it;  San Pedro now finds itself in the process of creating infrastructure, because as Simpson put it, “San Pedro is on people’s radar.”

Each year, San Pedro receives between 3 and 5 million tourists. Those numbers are expected to increase as cruises become more accessible for millenials. Millennials, unlike past generations, prefer immersive tourism.

Simpson explained, “They don’t want to jump around and city-hop to 30 cities in one week. They want to stay, saturate and understand.”

She added that there is a rise of “conscience” and “purpose-driven travelers.” In other words, people are more aware of environmental, social and cultural issues related to destination.

A roadblock PBID is experiencing is up-to-date online branding. There is no tourism-facing website, San Pedro’s municipal websites look out-of-date and SanPedro.com belongs to a private entity.

Simpson said the remedy for this is unifying San Pedro’s message by collecting content on one of the domain names not in use. She quoted statistics that contend  85 percent of people find visual user-generated content more influential than branded media and 35 percent find it more memorable. Simpson said consumers believe it is more genuine. The basic cost for such a piece of tourism infrastructure is $5,000, which covers the core platform — intelligent social media uploading, owned and social photo recognition and “quality filtering” with smart curation to deliver web galleries and live photo walls. For $3,000 more, advanced digital service could also be used to acquire rights to user-generated photos from Instagram and Facebook to use across any marketing channel as well as integrating Google analytics to create smart galleries.

PBID plans to work with stakeholders in order to conceptualize the exact messaging of the tourism-facing website and it will look at other rebranding propositions to determine which are most effective and achievable.

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