In Anaheim, a cold brewski is best enjoyed anywhere within earshot of Disneyland fireworks. Or at least that’s what motivates Greg and Barbara Gerovac, owners of the Anaheim Brewery, to keep their handcrafted brews local. The Gerovacs introduced Anaheim to their flagship beers in 2010 after a seven-year jaunt of active duty in Germany, and the century-long dry spell that occurred after Prohibition closed the original Anaheim Brewery’s taps. Just like its predecessor, the new watering hole has quickly become a favorite neighborhood hangout frequented by locals and tourists alike.
“Living in Germany, nearly every small town had its own brewery,” Greg remarks. “They didn’t try to reach out and market to the rest of the country—they really just served the community that they were in.”
This community-minded mentality, says Elaine Cali, VP of media/community relations for the Anaheim/Orange County CVB, made the Gerovacs a perfect fit for the CVB’s newly launched “Faces of Tourism” campaign. The campaign features the stories of frontline local tourism/hospitality industry workers through a series of YouTube videos. For their part, the Gerovacs explain how their love for fresh, local beer came to be and how it continues to impact the community—from the brewery’s role in the revitalization of Anaheim’s Packing District to the 30-foot-long vintage wooden table that marks the gathering spot for locals and tourists in the on-site Tasting Room.
“Germany gave us such a wonderful view on the world,” Barbara says. “There are different ways of living and different ways of doing everything. I feel like we brought that sense of interest and curiosity back with us to the U.S.”
It’s ripple effects like these that epitomize what Cali hopes will be the main takeaway of the campaign: Tourism isn’t just about a place, but about the people that make it a success. If in doubt, she suggests asking any of the nearly 160,000 people in Orange County who have a viable touchpoint in the tourism industry just how it has impacted their lives. Last year, the area reaped a $940 million profit in convention spending.
“Knowing where you’ve been sometimes makes it easier to see where you’re headed,” Cali adds. “Industry veterans can give perspective to visitors by sharing information and tips that newcomers to the tourism industry may not be aware of when talking about our destination.”
The initial focus of the “Faces of Tourism” campaign was to grow local and visitor engagement. But with nearly 2,000 YouTube views and growing, the videos are now slated to become part of the CVB’s monthly Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) training classes, a title that Cali also holds.
Helping to propel the message forward is a vigorous marketing campaign and enhanced website, soon to include a give-back section for planners that not only provides a list of possible organizations to work with and who benefits, but also showcases what others have done and how they made an impact with just a few hours of their time. Tourism, Cali says, can have all the great places to see and experience, but it’s the human connections that create lasting memories.
“There is a quote from Maya Angelou that sums up why tourism is a success or failure in the eyes of many travelers:
‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’”