Press | January 20th 2015

Visit California Relaunches Consumer Website

Visit California released an announcement today detailing the new visitcalifornia.com, designed by Code and Theory:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Visit California is making its website more inspiring and visually engaging with a complete redesign of its 13 sites in nine languages. The new, fully responsive VisitCalifornia.com leverages the latest in website design, best practices from today’s cutting edge consumer brands and high-quality visual assets to inspire visitors to bring the organization’s “Dream Big” brand marketing platform to life in the digital space. The redesign repositions Visit California’s consumer website to better align with the organization’s overall marketing efforts and ultimately drive travel to the Golden State.

Designed in collaboration with creative agency Code and Theory, the new site aims to serve as an inspiring introduction to California. Content was built from the ground up in collaboration with long time content partner, Sunset, and showcases the diversity and abundance found throughout the regions of the state.

“A curated gallery of California’s abundance of experiences, the new VisitCalifornia.com offers compelling content that better embodies our dreamer lifestyle,” said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO of Visit California. “The site includes big, bold images that bring the California experience to life, showing consumers the abundance of what the GoldenState has to offer.”

This renewed strategy focuses on the unique value a statewide tourism organization provides, providing context for what a visitor can experience throughout the state and creating excitement for a California vacation. Once that excitement is created, consumers are directed to best in class third-party sites to complete the planning and booking process.

“Accessing medias is the center piece of the travel planning process and potential visitors are utilizing a host of websites for everything from trip inspiration to planning and ultimately to booking and sharing their trip,” said Lynn Carpenter, Vice President of Marketing at Visit California. “Visit California is carving out a unique space to tell the California brand story, inspire consumers and capitalize on the investments of world class brands like Google, TripAdvisor and Weather.com.”

“Partnering with Visit California to better translate their story and message to the digital space was an incredible challenge,” saidMichael Martin, Managing Partner of Code and Theory’s San Francisco office. “Beautiful, high-quality, original editorial content is one of the most authentic ways to engage first-time visitors and drive repeat visits. Not only will users be able to visually explore content in a more streamlined and intuitive way, but the VisitCalifornia team will be able to publish content easily and flexibly in order to best serve their customers and industry partners. It was a pleasure collaborating with the talented team at Visit California to bring this shared vision to life.”

This is Visit California’s first major website strategy shift in nearly ten years, and the investment solidifies the organization’s focus on establishing a strong digital base for the California brand. While online travel agents (OTAs)dominate the pre-booking research landscape, recent research by Hall &Partners for Visit California found that destination websites were the second most used source for researching leisure travel in the United States.

The U.S. and Canada versions of the site launch first, with the other 12 global sites following in Q1 of 2015.

Highlights of the new VisitCalifornia.com include:

Mobile/Responsive Design

The website was built to be fully responsive to ensure the best possible browsing experience for today’s increasingly mobile consumer.Mobile platforms are becoming the primary engagement platform for travelers, according to the 2014DMAI DestinationNEXT report.

Renewed Strategy

The site will refocus Visit California’s digital identity and will not try to tell the entire story, but instead provide relevant information to move consumers to a decision and then pass them to partners, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Disneyland Parks and Resorts andUniversal Studio Hollywood, for deeper content and eventual booking.

More Flexible Structure

An easy to navigate back end infrastructure will allow for more up-to-date relevance, such as seasonal content or spotlights on newly-announced offerings.

Utility Features

The new site will work to provide utility to the consumer, providing important information – like current and average seasonal temperatures, high level maps for geographic context and easy access to more complex mapping technology.

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About Visit California

Visit California (formerly known as the CaliforniaTravel & Tourism Commission) is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures totaled $110 billion in 2013 in California, supporting jobs for 965,800Californians and generating $7.1 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California OfficialState Visitor’s Guide, go to www.visitcalifornia.com.For story ideas, media information, downloadable images and more, go to media.visitcalifornia.com.

About Code and Theory

Code and Theory is an award-winning creative agency that creates products, content and campaigns across physical and digital worlds. Founded in New York in late 2001, Code and Theory is one of the largest remaining independently-owned creative agencies, with more than 255 people working across offices in New York, San Francisco, London, and Manila. The agency creates across the entire ecosystem – from physical and digital product creation to digital marketing and storytelling. Our past and current clients include Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Comcast, Vogue, the BURGER KING®brand, Guardian News and Media, Bloomberg, Mashable, the Los Angeles Times, Visit California and many others. For more information, follow Code and Theory on Twitter and Facebook, or visit codeandtheory.com.

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