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CALIFORNIA RURAL TOURISM RESEARCH Qualitative Study of Traveling Consumers— Summary of Research Findings

Research prepared for the California Travel & Tourism Commission by Destination Analysts, Inc.


Table of Contents SECTION 1 Research Overview

2

Objectives

2

Methodology

3

SECTION 2 Executive Summary

5

SECTION 3 Key Findings

9

Perceptions of California

9

Top of Mind California Destinations

10

Interest in Rural California

11

What Rural California Represents as a Travel Experience

11

Motivations for Rural Travel

13

Experiences of Interest in Rural California

14

Top of Mind Destinations in Rural California 15 Labels for Rural California

16

Marketing & Promoting Rural California to Travelers

17

Rural California in Current CTTC Marketing & Advertising 18

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Section

1 Research Overview This report summarizes the findings of a qualitative study of traveling consumers on California’s rural tourism assets. This research was conducted May 12th through 20th, 2011 by Destination Analysts, Inc. on behalf of the California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC). This study is part of a larger research project being undertaken by the CTTC to evaluate its rural marketing program, in order to maximize benefits to rural stakeholders and generate tourism to the state’s rural areas. Note: For the sake of simplicity, the word “rural” is used in this report as an umbrella term to describe areas of California outside its four major known metropolises (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Anaheim).

Objectives The goal of this research project was to evaluate California’s rural tourism product from the perspective of its consumers. The research was structured to build an understanding of: 

How travelers approach their trip planning in terms of their exploration of California

How travelers generally distinguish rural areas and how they refer to these areas

How travelers perceive California’s geographic composition and their perception of the state’s geographic divisions; what is the ideal regional breakout of the state for trip planning

Interest levels in traveling within rural California, what would inspire interest in rural travel, and what constitutes the most attractive experiences in rural California

What potential names for rural California and California regions derived from separate industry research offer the most potential to drive tourism

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The content structure and other means by which travelers want information presented to them about rural California; how well these are addressed by CTTC’s current rural marketing assets, such as its guides and maps.

Travelers’ perceptions of what is being communicated in CTTC advertising, specifically in terms of tourism products and experiences—and where these products and experiences are located

Methodology Because of the complexity and extensiveness of the study’s topic, a qualitative methodology—in-depth interviews of potential California travelers— was selected. Destination Analysts, with CTTC input, developed a discussion guide that addressed the research objectives. Destination Analysts then recruited twentyfour (24) travelers to each participate in a 60-minute in-depth interview conducted in Destination Analysts’ online video conference lab (shown right). The online lab allowed for interactive engagement with participants, including a white board exercise, use of the CTTC website to evaluate online content, and viewing of CTTC video and print advertisements. The interviews were moderated by Destination Analysts’ staff and interviewees participated from their home or office at a time of their convenience. The demographic and behavioral profile of those interviewed is detailed following. Respondent Profile The 24-person panel for this study was comprised of five Californians (residing around the state in both rural and urban areas), nine international residents (from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia), and ten domestic travelers (from top long and short-haul feeder markets, including Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Tampa, Chicago, New York and Washington DC). 3 Destination Analysts, Inc.


All participants had taken one or more leisure trips that included an overnight stay in the past year, have interest in California as a travel destination and are likely or certain to travel within California in the next two years (three years if non-U.S.). They regularly conduct traveling planning research—including on destinations, attractions, accommodations and general things to do—for their trips. In exhibiting attitudes such as seeking variety in life and being a buyer of the best, participants also represent the “Experience Collectors” target traveler segment from the CTTC’s Five Year Strategic Plan. Fifteen of the participants are female and nine are male. Seventeen are married or partnered and nine have children in their household. Twenty participants have bachelor’s or graduate degrees while the remaining four had at least some college education. All participants have an annual household income of at least $50,000 USD. A variety of ages between 25 and 64 years was represented, as were ethnicities including Asian/Pacific Islander, African-American and Latina.

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Section

2 Executive Summary 

As travelers take an experiential approach to travel planning—rather than a literal geographical one—focusing on and characterizing a regional destination by the unique experience(s) offered by its geography will be a successful means of positioning California’s rural areas to traveling consumers. One of the key motivating factors for considering a rural destination is an understanding of what is truly unique about the area—“what I can’t see or do anywhere else.”

California is seen as having particularly attractive rural experiences because of its diverse geography, and there is significant interest in visiting these areas of the state. Not only do travelers feel that California’s varied geography offers a spectrum of ruralassociated experiences, these experiences are often seen as (or expected to be) truly unique and/or world-class. Many of these experiences are also perceived to be reasonably accessible from one another.

Travelers are seeking profound emotional benefits from rural travel—such as peace and rejuvenation—and such messages should be communicated in marketing rural California.

As rural California represents an outdoors experience to travelers, this thematic approach to planning travel in California is especially appealing. Simply getting to spend time in nature surrounded by unique scenic beauty is a key benefit both perceived about and sought in rural California travel. Thus travelers understand “outdoor experiences” to include a wide range of activities, from picnicking in a bucolic field to hiking Half Dome. In contrast, urban California is seen as largely an indoors experience— with a plethora of external, synthetic stimuli such as a restaurant scene and art museums. As such, these types of activities may be best left for marketing urban destinations rather 5

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than rural. However, urban California also represents crowds and constraint. Rural California may be well served by focusing on those attributes and assets which are the antithesis of the negative associations with urban. 

Because of the similar engagement of the senses, wine and food are also particularly attractive thematic approaches to travel planning in California. The widespread awareness of California’s wine industry and overall agricultural strength positions the state well as a provider of wine country and authentic rural food experiences.

Accessibility is a critical factor—and can be a key motivator—when travelers consider rural Californian destinations. Distance and/or how long it will take to reach the destination is an immediate informational need. Travelers also want to be made to feel confident that the journey will be a safe and relatively stress-free one (i.e. drivable road conditions, not overly remote).

The typical California traveler will be motivated to visit rural destinations that offer the expected securities of urban—activity options, comfortable accommodations, paved roads, mobile reception, WiFi—while maintaining the benefits of rural travel—outdoors experiences focused, unique experiences, peaceful, scenic natural beauty. Wine country destinations and other “resort” rural destinations were praised for this balance.

There is generally an inverse relationship between travelers’ residential distance from California and their degree of interest in rural California and the length of time they desired to spend there. As one might expect, those who reside closer to California (shorthaul) are typically more familiar with—and thus more comfortable and interested in—the state’s rural assets. They also tend to visit California more frequently and are more likely to travel into the state by car, diminishing angst about trip time allocation or accessibility. These key factors make this group much more open to rural-dominated or rural-only California travel experiences. While those who reside further away (long-haul markets or abroad) certainly can be familiar with and have tremendous interest in rural California, they are inevitably much more strongly challenged by time, access, cost, and competition from urban destinations. Because those in longer haul markets are apt to require more convincing to allocate their time and travel budget to rural California, positioning these destinations as “must-see” and communicating key marketing information about access become even more crucial.

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Due to the greater association and familiarity with Northern California rural experiences and the strong draw of the iconic Southern California experiences (such as LA, beaches, theme parks) there is lesser awareness and familiarity with—and therefore lower overall degrees of interest in—the tourism assets and the experiences offered in the Central Valley, Deserts and Inland Empire. These areas would benefit from greater consumer consciousness and clarity about what they have to offer travelers.

An umbrella term that refers to all of rural California is not necessary from a consumer perspective, however, of the descriptive phrases to label rural California explored in the research “Off the Beaten Path” and “Hidden Gems” were the most universally appealing in terms of motivating a desire to learn more. Study participants were attracted to these phrases for their implication of adventure and excitement. Several also found “Inside California” intriguing for its duplicity of meaning and understanding. The CTTC may want to consider avoiding “Gateway”, “Town & Country” and “California Outback” in messaging.

Research participants made a point to emphasize that a rural destination needs to be marketed well immediately or their interest will dissipate. In addition to images (the more the better), the key information about a rural destination that travelers want presented right away include: what is unique to the area that they can’t experience elsewhere, how they can access the destination, and what scenic beauty is offered (which images can be used to demonstrate).

Search engine marketing is critical to connecting travelers with information about rural California and is how travelers would approach looking for information about rural California. The CTTC website is also important, particularly for those less familiar with California who said they would use the site to orient themselves to the state and begin deciding where to go and what to see.

The California Road Trips guide hits the key information travelers want about rural destinations: a brief but informative synopsis of why they should visit the area and the experiences offered, maps and travel distances/times, scenic images. Given how well the Road Trips guide was received and how important online content is for reaching travelers, CTTC may want to consider turning the Road Trips content into actual web pages (with links to more information) and not merely offering a digitized format of the

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printed guide (especially since there appeared to be a number of usability issues with navigating the digital guide). 

These current television spots ads inspire interest in rural California. Misconceptions was praised for cleverly showcasing how extensive California’s offerings are in terms of things to see and do, and the spot’s inclusion of both urban and rural was identified as a key contributor to this notion. The ad was generally perceived as being inclusionary of all traveler types. Friends in High Places was praised as a cheerful, upbeat reminder that California is more than beach and warm weather, and that there is a diversity of experiences to be had in the state. However, participants who do not participate in winter sports felt that the spot was not intended for them, and the message thus may not affect them as strongly. Interviewees perceived The Good Life as almost entirely focused on rural California. They felt this ad had a strong emphasis on wine country; interestingly, the food message was less of a takeaway. Some participants felt it was targeted to an older, affluent audience and therefore less inclusionary than Misconceptions.

The current print ads were perceived to be promoting rural (rather than urban) California. However, perhaps due to study participants not knowing the people featured in the ads, they felt unclear and less able to articulate the message they were intended to take away from these advertisements.

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Section

3 Key Findings An Experience-Based Approach A key finding of this research is that travelers take an experiential approach to travel planning in California—rather than a literal geographical one. Focusing on and characterizing a regional destination by the unique experience(s) offered by its geography will likely be a successful means of positioning California’s rural areas to traveling consumers. An umbrella term that refers to all of rural California is not necessary from a consumer perspective; travelers will be more focused on what benefits they will receive from visiting these areas.

Perceptions of California At the beginning of each interview, study participants were asked to share their perceptions about California, specifically regarding its major industries, transportation infrastructure, and geographical elements. This was done to explore if these perceptions offered any obstacles and/or benefits to promoting rural travel within the state. While tourism and entertainment are what this group most widely considered as California’s top industries (followed by technology), there is a high degree of awareness of agriculture’s place in the state’s economy. One participant even surmised that “the country, if not the world, probably wouldn’t be able to eat without California.” This understanding of California’s agricultural strength positions the state well as a provider of authentic rural and food experiences. When asked about California’s transportation infrastructure, participants rarely thought beyond highways and cars as the primary way to access the state. While there were mixed sentiments about California’s public transportation and airports, no concerns about access arose about the

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state’s road system, and participants appeared to expect there to be some road to take them wherever they wanted to go in California. This perception generally bodes well for rural California in which access is a critical factor in travelers’ consideration. However, the perceived and real lack of other transit options presents a challenge in marketing to those who do not or had planned not to drive (i.e. those that arrive by air but do not rent a car, international travelers who cannot or are uncomfortable driving). The top associations with California’s geography, by far, are beaches and mountains. Redwoods and forests, followed to a lesser degree by deserts, are also what travelers think of when picturing the state. Amongst many of those interviewed, there appeared to be a near reverence for the dichotomy of the state’s geographic elements. What became clear was that California’s diverse geography is an important driver of desire to visit the state.

Top of Mind California Destinations (Unaided) As a way to gauge existing notions about California’s geographic landmarks and how these align with the CTTC’s current regional structure, study participants were asked about what destinations come to mind when they think of California and if they divide the state by any geographic or other type of designation. While there were varying degrees of knowledge about California (see sample map exercises right), the majority of participants had an awareness of “a Northern and Southern California,” although there appeared to be generally more familiarity with Southern California overall (concentrated on Los Angeles).The next level of knowledge was an awareness of Central California and/or the Central Valley. Few beyond those who had extensive knowledge of California designated anywhere in the Eastern part of the state as a region. When asked to name California’s major cities and destinations, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Sacramento were the most commonly cited. Disneyland was a destination that was certainly top of mind, and several participants thought of wine/wine 10 Destination Analysts, Inc.


country (although many were unsure of where exactly this wine region(s) was located). Yosemite received some mentions, as well.

Interest in Rural California To initiate discussion about rural California as a travel destination, study participants were asked about their general interest in visiting areas outside of the state’s major cities. Even amongst those with lesser degrees of familiarity with California, strong interest in traveling to these areas was expressed. Not only do travelers feel that California’s varied geography offers a spectrum of rural-associated experiences, these experiences are often seen as (or expected to be) truly unique and/or world-class. On top of that, many of these experiences are perceived to be reasonably accessible from one another (“You can ski in the morning and take a walk on a beach in the afternoon”). Given the appropriate positioning and marketing, there is significant opportunity to develop or generate further tourism to California’s rural regions.

What Rural California Represents as a Travel Experience The research explored what “rural” California means to travelers. The most important elements of how travelers perceive rural areas are: 

An absence of traffic and

overwhelming crowds

Abundant outdoor recreational opportunities

Intimate bed and breakfast inns

Simple roads

A place where agriculture is the

Historic sites

primary industry

A safe environment

A scenic panorama of unique,

More affordable prices

natural beauty

A comforting ambiance

Friendly locals

Tasty locally-owned restaurants

 

Participants also articulated deeply satisfying emotional benefits offered by a rural California travel experience, including: 

Peace

Freedom

Relaxation

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Escape—from crowds, traffic,

Internal reflection

everyday annoyances and

Immersing oneself with nature’s

obligations 

Quiet

beauty 

Rejuvenation

Showcasing these much desired emotional benefits will be important in marketing California’s rural experiences. What Urban California Represents Urban California is seen as largely an indoors experience—with a plethora of external, synthetic stimuli—as opposed to rural California, which is largely an outdoors experience in which oneself and nature provide the primary sources of stimulation. In contrast to rural, urban California means: 

A dining scene and great restaurants

Vibrancy

Never without something exciting to see and do

Culture

First-rate arts exhibits, theater and shows

Nightlife

Sophisticated creature comforts

Shopping

Celebrities

However, urban California also means: 

Crowded

Constraint

Dirty

Noise

Traffic

Cement wall after cement wall

Rural California may be well served by focusing on those attributes and assets which are the antithesis of the negative associations with urban. Things like formal or trendy restaurants and sophisticated arts & cultural activities may be best left for marketing urban destinations. This could be clearly seen in research participants’ responses to the Central Valley description on VisitCalifornia.com’s Regions map, in which the area’s museums and symphony are touted. This elicited little interest from travelers, who felt this was a hard sell given the proximity of San Francisco (which is perceived to be a place where one can get the top-notch of these and other arts & cultural offerings).

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Challenges Although participants expressed significant interest in the experiences offered in rural California, objections were also expressed about travel to these areas. Perceived concerns about rural travel include having a lack of things to do (boredom), accessibility (travel time and distance, safe roads) and losing the technology to connect to everyday life. While study participants like that rural travel offers the environment to tune out emails and calls, too much isolation may be a turn-off. Thus, wine country destinations and other “resort” rural destinations were praised for offering the expected comforts of urban—such as interesting activities, paved roads, mobile reception, WiFi—with the benefits of rural. Because the experiences offered in rural California are not currently as familiar and thus less predictable, there is some anxiety around delving into the unknown. Amongst those on first-time trips or who cannot travel to California often, there is also a fear about missing out on what is offered in more famous destinations.

Motivations for Rural Travel The first response study participants had to the question about what would motivate them to consider traveling in a rural part of California was always some iteration of “what can I do there?” Expounding on their response, this is a request to be informed about what is truly unique about the area—“what I can’t see or do anywhere else.” In considering a rural destination/region, travelers will be inspired by learning about the unique aspects of its physical geography—what differentiates it from anywhere else in the state (or country or world)—and how this translates into distinctive experiences to be had there. In addition to unique experiences, accessibility is also a critical factor when travelers consider rural Californian destinations. Distance and/or how long it will take to reach the destination is an immediate informational need; especially for those on shorter trips looking to maximize their time usage or those who cannot visit California often. Travelers also want to be made to feel confident that the journey will be a safe and relatively stress-free one (i.e. drivable road conditions, not overly remote). Likely due to how the rural travel experience is idealized in travelers’ minds, scenic beauty is of particular importance to motivating visitation to these areas of California. And travelers will be especially occupied with what unique scenery they can surround themselves with during their visit.

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Motivation and Interest Differences by Market—The Distance Factor The in-depth interviews of those in the state’s short-haul, long-haul and international markets highlighted the inverse relationship between travelers’ residential distance from California and their degree of interest in rural California and the length of time they desired to spend there. As one might expect, those who reside closer to California (short-haul) are typically more familiar with—and thus more comfortable and interested in—the state’s rural assets. They also tend to visit California more frequently and are more likely to travel into the state by car, diminishing angst about trip time allocation or accessibility. These key factors make this group much more open to rural-dominated or rural-only California travel experiences. While those who reside further away (long-haul markets or abroad) certainly can be familiar with and have tremendous interest in rural California, they are inevitably much more strongly challenged by time, access, cost, and competition from urban destinations. Urban areas are typically where these visitors arrive into California (by air), the draws of these cities offer significant competition for time and attention. As aforementioned, those who cannot or do not travel to California often are much more conscious of “maximizing” their trip time, and contemplating rural experiences can introduce an anxiety about missing out on something in an urban/more well known environment. Access also becomes a much more critical issue (how long it takes to travel to a rural destination, the means of how to travel there), as well as introduces further costs (for example, renting a car or taking a tour bus). Because those in longer haul markets are apt to require more convincing to allocate their time and travel budget to rural California, positioning these destinations as “must-see” and communicating key marketing information about access become even more crucial. (It should be noted that those travelers coming to California solely to pursue a niche interest such as wine or winter sports will likely not have any objection to a rural only vacation, despite their residential distance from California). As further explained in the “Top of Mind Destinations in Rural California” section following, because of the awareness of and interest in the region’s urban attractions, it may be more challenging marketing rural destination add-ons to long-haul travelers visiting Southern California than those visiting Northern California, which appears to have a stronger association with—and thus expectation of—rural experiences.

Experiences of Interest in Rural California Study participants discussed what rural experiences would be most appealing and the themes around these. To further their thinking, a list of possible experience-based approaches to

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California were presented. “Outdoors” and “Wine/Food & Wine” clearly generated the most enthusiasm, as these were seen as those that most wholly “engage the senses.” Outdoors Being outdoors—getting to spend time in nature surrounded by unique scenic beauty—is a key benefit both perceived about and sought in rural California travel. It is critical to note that “Outdoor Experiences” has a diverse interpretation and a wide range of applications, from picnicking in a bucolic field to hiking Half Dome. Activities and experiences that require less specialized skill and are thus more egalitarian—such as a scenic walk, horseback rides, etc.—will, of course, have appeal across a broader segment of travelers (and, thus, were brought up as examples of outdoor activities of interest by more study participants). However, if an area is known for somewhat more niche activities such as fishing, surfing, skiing, etc., travelers will be motivated by information pertaining to these activities. Wine Country/Wine & Food There appears to be a significant level of awareness that California offers wine-related tourism experiences, and a number of travelers enthusiastic to consume them. Food (in combination with wine or on its own) was also popular amongst study participants as a way to approach travel planning and destination selection in California. While the research showed these two experiential approaches to be the most broadly appealing, again, what is unique to the destination/region will be what will inspire interest in the area.

Top of Mind Destinations in Rural California In terms of top of mind destinations/regions, there is a strong association with “rural California” being concentrated in the Northern part of the state. As such, travelers demonstrated more familiarity (and comfort) with this area as offering interesting rural travel experiences (i.e. scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, wine). Coastal California, particularly the area between San Francisco and Los Angeles (i.e. along Highway 1), was also top of mind as representing rural California.

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Because of the greater familiarity with Northern California rural experiences and the strong draw of the iconic Southern California experiences (such as LA, beaches, theme parks) there is lesser awareness and familiarity with—and therefore lower overall degrees of interest in—the tourism assets and the experiences offered in the Central Valley, Deserts and Inland Empire. These areas would most benefit from greater consumer consciousness and clarity about what they have to offer travelers.

Labels for Rural California The term “rural” frequently came up organically when study participants begin to discuss California outside of its urban centers, though the sentiment that this term was not universally applicable was often expressed. Nevertheless, study participants struggled to find alternative descriptors. Some labeled areas like Santa Barbara and Palm Springs as “resort destinations” or “semi-urban,” featuring both aspects of rural and urban. Often citing California’s diversity, study participants found it challenging to single out a word or phrase that optimally described California’s non-city areas. A number of ideas about how to label and thus position rural California emerged from separate research conducted of industry stakeholders. This study was used as an opportunity to test these in terms of their ability to inspiring interest in rural California amongst actual travelers. Of the descriptive phrases to label rural California explored in the research “Off the Beaten Path” and “Hidden Gems” were the most universally appealing in terms of motivating a desire to learn more. Study participants were attracted to these phrases for their implication of adventure and excitement. Several also found “Inside California” intriguing for its duplicity of meaning and understanding. Words and phrases the CTTC may want to consider avoiding include: Gateway—The findings from the research would caution use of the word “gateway” in messaging, as it does not appear to be a term that has any significant agreement on its meaning (even being a source of confusion). Interpretations of “gateway” varied from “a place that’s between rural and urban” to “a place that you just pass through on your to get to where you really want to go.” Some people thought it to be referencing the Golden Gate Bridge, others commercial ports and a few felt it referred to San Francisco and Los Angeles exclusively. Participants had to think about its meaning.

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Town and Country—There appear to a number of pre-existing associations with this term that would compete for understanding, including a car, a store, and a magazine. California Outback—While there were a number of respondents who found use of the word “outback” appealing to their interest in rural California experiences, there were several who didn’t. The most significant issue is that there is too strong of an association with Australia. As one respondent said “California is too unique and great to have to take on another country’s marketing slogan.” Outback also suggests “roughing it,” which is not applicable to many destinations in rural California nor is it an appealing concept to many would-be rural travelers.

Marketing & Promoting Rural California to Travelers It is clear from the research findings that search engine marketing is critical to connecting travelers to information about rural California, as search engines are the first resource they would approach looking for information about these areas. When asked how they would want to receive information about rural California and how they would go about finding it on their own, a universal response was going online to find websites that contained relevant information about what they were seeking to experience and using search engines to locate them. The CTTC website is also important, especially for those less familiar with California. Several study participants mentioned using the state website to orient themselves to the state and begin deciding where to go and what to see in California. Thus, there is opportunity for the CTTC to use VisitCalifornia.com to further promote rural California. A critical point that research participants emphasized was that a destination needs to be marketed well immediately or their interest will dissipate. Images—the more the better—are essential to selling travelers on a rural destination. Because the rural experience is centered on the outdoors, these images should focus on scenery and less directly on people. Again, the key information about a rural destination that travelers want presented right away include: what is unique to the area that they can’t experience elsewhere, how they can access the destination, and what scenic beauty is offered (which images can be used to demonstrate).

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Rural California in Current CTTC Marketing & Advertising California Road Trips Guide Study participants reviewed the California Road Trips guide as example of how information about rural areas could be presented. This format was widely praised for hitting the key information travelers wanted about destinations: a brief but informative synopsis of why they should visit the area and the experiences offered, travel distances/time, maps. Given how well the Road Trips was received and how important online content is for reaching travelers, CTTC may want to consider actually turning the Road Trips content into actual web pages (with links to more information) and not merely offering a digitized format of the printed guide (especially since there appeared to be a number of usability issues with navigating the digital guide). Current TV Spots To examine how rural travel was being understood as part of CTTC’s advertising messaging, study participants reviewed three of the CTTC’s recent video advertisements. Response to each individual spot is detailed below. While the primary purpose of this exercise was not to evaluate the creative itself, it should be noted that these ads were very well received and inspired desire to visit California. Misconceptions—This spot was praised for cleverly showcasing how extensive California’s offerings are in terms of things to see and do, and the spot’s inclusion of both urban and rural was identified as a key contributor to this notion. The ad was generally perceived as being inclusionary of all traveler types. Many respondents recalled having seen this ad independently. Friends in High Places—This spot was praised as a cheerful, upbeat reminder that California is more than beach and warm weather, and that there is a diversity of experiences to be had in the state. However, participants who do not participate in winter sports felt that the spot was not intended for them, and the message thus may not affect them as strongly.

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The Good Life—Interviewees perceived this spot as being almost entirely focused on rural California. They felt this ad had a strong emphasis on wine country; interestingly, the food message was less of a takeaway. Some participants felt it was targeted to an older, affluent audience and therefore less inclusionary than Misconceptions. Print Ads As with the TV spots, study participants reviewed the current print advertisement campaign as a means of examining how rural travel was being understood as part of CTTC’s advertising messaging. This series of advertisements was perceived to be promoting rural (rather than urban) California. However, perhaps due to study participants not knowing the people featured in the ads, they felt unclear and less able to articulate the message they were intended to take away from these advertisements.

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Rural Tourism Study