California’s size and diversity makes it the perfect destination for returning as well as first-time visitors. In this edition of Take 5, Julie Georgas, Managing Director – Visit California, Canada, helps travel advisors plan the perfect 7-day California roadtrip for their clients, talks travel trends, and more.
1. How would you suggest travel agents sell California, and where can they access tools / resources to help them sell?
“I think the beauty of California is that we don’t fit into one box. In fact, we go beyond the status quo when it comes to vacationing in the Golden State. When it comes to selling the diverse and captivating destinations of California, advisors have an array of options to cater to various preferences and interests.
“Whether it is families seeking a fun-filled sunny vacation, luxury enthusiasts looking for opulent experiences, art and culture aficionados, or adventure seekers yearning for thrilling escapades, California has something for everyone. Knowing what kind of vacation their clients are looking for is key, and they will certainly find it for them in California.
“We have plenty of resources for Canadian travel advisors! Here’s how they can effectively learn and sell California to these different segments:
- California STAR Program – This program deep dives into the 12 regions of California and all they have to offer for their clients. From there, they can explore various niche markets like health and wellness, family fun and adventure travel. Get started today in less than 45 minutes!
- California Industry Page – This website is designed to educate and inspire travel advisors with pre-built itineraries, destination guides, press releases and story ideas. There’s no shortage of information on this site!
“By understanding the unique appeal of California for families, luxury seekers, arts and culture enthusiasts, and adventure lovers, advisors can effectively market the state’s diverse offerings and help clients create lasting memories.”
2. What are some new offerings in the destination that you’re most excited about?
“Here are links to more details about three of our biggest new offerings …
- Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza, opening 2023
- SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Hollywood, which opened in February 2023
- Appellation Healdsburg Hotel in Sonoma County
3. Los Angeles is gearing up to host IPW 2024. Is Visit California excited?
“This is California’s 11th time hosting IPW, and we are thrilled, to say the least! Los Angeles is known for its diversity, arts and culture, iconic food scene and of course, Hollywood and we are excited to welcome the world to California to experience this great destination.”.
4. We saw a lot of travel trends emerge as a result of the pandemic. What’s one trend that you’ve seen really take off in California that you want travel agents to know about?
“Many new travel trends have emerged from the pandemic, such as blended or ‘bleisure’ travel (hybrid work/leisure trips), road-trips and experiential outdoor adventure travel. California is an ideal travel destination for all three, and we’re actively promoting ways to experience these travel trends.
“With the ability to work remotely for a lot of Canadians, we are excited to show that California is the ideal place for both work and leisure – the weather is great all year round filled with outdoor co-working spaces, and there’s the perfect work/life balance in California which means scheduled meetings in the morning and catching waves in the afternoon.
“We have endless roadtrip itineraries that provide lots of inspiration for advisors! Everything from brewery tours, culinary getaways, and National Parks; it’s a great one-stop shop.”
5. The state of California is so big and so diverse. Is it possible to see it all if someone had just one week to spare? What would you suggest?
“While it may not be possible to see all of California in one week, you can certainly see a lot!
“My suggestion would be to plan a roadtrip. You can have a desert experience through Joshua Tree and Palm Springs, a trip back in time through the quaint towns of Gold Country or a coastal getaway checking out all the local surf spots. There’s incredible food and wine at every turn with areas rich in culture.
“If visitors have only one week to explore California, it’s important to strike a balance between experiencing its many attractions and making the most of their limited time.
“Here’s a suggested itinerary that covers a mix of iconic landmarks, natural beauty, and cultural highlights …
Day 1-2: Los Angeles – On Day 1, start with iconic spots like Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, and the Griffith Observatory for panoramic city views. On day 2, spend the day at Universal Studios or head down to Anaheim for a day at Disneyland, and experience world-class entertainment.
Day 3: Travel up the Central Coast. Drive up the iconic Pacific Coast Highway stopping in incredible places like Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey. Enjoy beautiful beaches, exquisite wine tastings, breathtaking sunsets, and wildlife right out your window.
Day 4-5: San Francisco Bay Area – Head north to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Explore Fisherman’s Wharf, take a cruise to Alcatraz Island, and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. Be sure to check out North America’s largest Chinatown, explore the vibrant neighborhoods, and enjoy the views from Twin Peaks.
Day 6: Wine Country – Head north to Napa Valley and Sonoma County for a day of wine tasting and gourmet dining. Explore the vineyards and enjoy the picturesque countryside.
Day 7: Visit the High Sierra. Drive to Yosemite National Park for a day of outdoor adventure. Hike to Yosemite Falls, marvel at Half Dome, and take in the stunning landscapes.
“This itinerary example offers a mix of urban exploration, coastal drives, cultural experiences, wine country indulgence, and a taste of California’s natural wonders.”