Early in the pandemic WVVA started participating on the Regional Solutions Economic Recovery Team, where the most up to date information was being reported from the governor’s office. It was also a place to represent the voice of tourism and the impact of closures and other struggles industry partners were battling in the changing landscape of COVID-19.
WVVA increased the cadence of Industry e-newsletters to message timely COVID-19 changes from quarterly to as needed. WVVA also held weekly “Virtual Office Hours” in which the RDMO would report up-to-date information as well as answer individual questions from operators or collect questions to seek answers within WVVA’s network.
WVVA formed a COVID-19 communications team that met weekly to efficiently share clear messaging on pandemic-related updates. In addition to this meeting, the project Basecamp was utilized to share out timely information. Governor’s office press releases, operational guidelines, funding resources and data associated with visitor industry businesses. Participants in the meetings and Basecamp included the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), Willamette Valley Wineries Association, Travel Oregon, all DMO partners, private businesses, and land managers.
Marketing/Consumer Facing Support
During the initial phases of COVID-19, WVVA was focused on the steps of reopening the state and ensuring visitors, consumers, and front-line employees felt safe. WVVA created the Responsible Reopening campaign, a pledge that local businesses made to confirm that they were adhering to local state ordinances around COVID-19 safety protocols. The program currently has 225 local businesses that have taken the pledge. WVVA created regional itineraries around the businesses participating. Itineraries were shared through social media, Willamette Valley’s website, and PR outreach. The RDMO saw stellar engagement on Facebook and continued support through many other industries for the initiative including ORLA, Willamette Valley Wineries Association, OSU Extension, and others.