Winners of the National Council of State Tourism Directors (NCSTD) 2015 Mercury awards were announced yesterday during U.S. Travel Association's annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference held this year with record attendance in Portland, Ore. The NCSTD honored Travel Oregon with two Mercury awards – Best Branding and Integrated Marketing Campaign and Best International Marketing in the country.
Mercury awards recognize excellence and creative accomplishment at the state level in tourism marketing and promotion, and for inspiring the continued development of exciting destination marketing and promotion programs.
"Earning these Mercury awards is a testament to the extraordinary teamwork and ingenuity of Travel Oregon's staff and our partners," said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. "Being honored by our peers is particularly rewarding, because it not only shows how these campaigns resonated with visitors and industry experts alike, but it also reflects the strong results they achieved. In 2014, the year these campaigns were launched, the economic impact travel and tourism brought to the state reached an all-time high, generating $10.3 billion and directly employing more than 101,000 Oregonians, with international travel up nearly 9 percent over 2013."
The 7 Wonders of Oregon campaign was honored as the Best Branding and Integrated Marketing Campaign. The campaign features seven iconic natural wonders of Oregon as the focus of destination travel: the Oregon Coast, Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, the Painted Hills, the Wallowas and Smith Rock. The most comprehensive marketing campaign Travel Oregon has ever produced, the 7 Wonders encourages Oregonians and visitors to experience all seven attractions in their lifetimes.
Introduced last spring, Travel Oregon's 7 Wonders campaign contributed to nearly 10 percent growth in statewide lodging revenue in 2014 over 2013, according to STR, Inc. and has led to economic impact in communities and regions throughout the state. Consumer requests for Visitor Guides and information for every tourism region of the state was up 28-49 percent over 2013, indicating that more potential travelers acted on their intentions to choose Oregon as their vacation destination in 2014.
Honored for the Best International Marketing Campaign, Travel Oregon, Visit California and Brand USA teamed up to promote "Jeni and Olly's West Coast Wine Adventure", a four-part television series on Travel Channel International. The series follows the famous Brits, Jeni and Olly, as they experience the world-class wine and locally-grown, artisan food of the American West Coast, all wrapped up in one epic road trip. The series was accompanied by a sweepstakes that recreated the pair's adventure through Oregon and California and included round-trip airfare and car service through the west coast's most iconic wine countries. With more than 38,000 entries, the sweepstakes was the most popular contest in Travel Channel International's history.
The series became one of the Travel Channel's top five most popular weekly programs in March, 2014. Episode one was the second highest viewed show the first day it was broadcast, and episode two was the third highest viewed show the first day it was broadcast.
Travel Oregon has been honored with 15 Mercury Awards since 2005. This year, the awards were judged by J. Walter Thompson (JWT), an internationally recognized marketing and communications firm. Judges offered a unique perspective because the agency was chosen to help develop Brand USA's national tourism promotion strategy.