Tourism Authority launches $1 million marketing plan to promote La Jolla

By Pat Sherman

The San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) has embarked on a three-pronged, $3 million international marketing plan for three San Diego “sub-regions,” including Mission Bay, Mission Valley and La Jolla.

SDTA public relations manager Robert Arends, who is marketing La Jolla as a world-class, luxury destination, announced plans during the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s (LJVMA) August meeting.

During the yearlong publicity blitz, which began July 1, Arends and his team will pitch the Village to travel writers throughout the U.S. and Canada. “We’ve got a huge database of every publication in the country — broadcast and print,” he said.

Arends is in Canada this week promoting La Jolla during a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta. “I have sit-downs with all of the editors/travel editors at publications (there),” he said.

In November, SDTA will host a “Luxury La Jolla Media Tour,” for which it will fly in six to nine print/broadcast travel writers for an all-expenses-paid tour of La Jolla.

“The writers have to be on assignment and guaranteed to generate a story, and La Jolla has to be the angle,” Arends said. “I’m going to come up with an itinerary that includes a lot of the major attractions, activities and then probably a few of the major hotels. For example, if I have them hosted at the La Valencia Hotel for the overnight stay, I’ll take them out to dinner, say, at Nine-Ten at the Grande Colonial. Then maybe I’ll take them to the Marine Room for lunch and a tour at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and lunch at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge.”

The four-day, morning-to-night itinerary includes a smattering of the best that La Jolla has to offer, including stops at cultural institutions such as the La Jolla Playhouse and Museum of Contemporary Art.

“We want to get them in the water, maybe do some kayaking and/or hiking at the Torrey Pines State Reserve … maybe go to a gallery for a wine reception,” he said.

The sub-market media plan was established largely at the request of hoteliers, Arends said.

Rita Moore, director of sales and marketing for La Valencia Hotel, said the strategic marketing plan is the SDTA’s largest initiative to-date, and benefits the entire Village business district.

“We requested their campaigns include extensive outreach to the luxury traveler, a visitor that will not only enjoy the beauty of the Village and its oceanscapes, but who will also populate our restaurants, bars and cafés, arts and culture institutions and local shops and businesses,” Moore said. “More tourism money means more money flowing into our local economy, more tax revenues flowing into our city coffers to help pay for the neighborhood improvements we all want, as well as dedicated funds to support our local icons, such as the La Jolla Playhouse.”

Working with Arends will be SDTA International Marketing Representative Joe Timko, “La Jolla’s voice to the European markets” and the strong, emerging Asian travel market, Moore noted.

Terry Underwood, general manager of the Grande Colonial, said the renewal of San Diego Tourism Marketing District funds last year allows resources to target the six sub-regions of San Diego. “Previously, all resources needed to be focused on the greater San Diego destination,” he said.

In addition, Underwood noted, the SDTA has formed a Hotel Advisory Committee for La Jolla consisting of hotel managers from the Village, UTC and the Torrey Pines area.

“Through our participation in this Advisory Committee, we can ensure that the Village gets its share of attention from the program,” he said.

The nonprofit San Diego Tourism Authority (formerly San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau) has been in operation since 1954.

In other LJVMA news

La Jolla Padres Day:

LJVMA and the San Diego Padres have teamed up to host La Jolla Day at Petco Park Sept. 24. Participating merchants will sell tickets to a game between the Padres and Colorado Rockies to raise money for the LJVMA’s effort to clean the streets of the Village. The group will receive $5 for every $28 ticket sold.

Meet-the-candidates mixer:

Sixteen candidates are vying to fill 10 open seats on the 15-member La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) board of directors.

The in-person, ballot election will be conducted during the group’s annual meeting, 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8 at the Cuvier Club, 7776 Eads Ave.

Voting is open to all merchants in the La Jolla Business Improvement District (BID) possessing a current business tax certificate (business license).

The LJVMA will host a social gathering, 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30 at We Olive, 1158 Prospect St. to introduce voters to the candidates.

— La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the Cuvier Club, 7776 Eads Ave.