A Year in Review Insights from Love Catalina Island

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Courtesy of Love Catalina Island/Catalina Island Tourism Authority

Love Catalina, the official Tourism Authority for Catalina Island, recently shared the year-end highlights and campaign successes from 2021, including significant increases in visitation that demonstrate a return to comparable pre-pandemic counts in the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

“We’re incredibly proud of the work that has been done over the past year to reassure travelers that Catalina is a safe and desirable destination in Southern California,” said Love Catalina Island CEO and President Jim Luttjohann.

“While so many of us are still feeling the impacts of COVID-19, we have continued to pivot as an organization and community to not only meet but exceed the expectations of travelers. Working closely with local businesses, we have been able to reach new and expanded audiences, and offer essential resources to make the planning process as smooth and efficient as possible,” Luttjohann said.

More than 800,000 travelers visited Catalina in 2021, marking a 55 percent increase in visitation over the previous year, and just 20 percent below pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

Along the road to recovery, several marketing tactics were executed, including strategic public relations and paid media programs to reach new and returning visitors in key markets such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange and Ventura Counties. Tactics included coordinating media visits with influential editors, reporters and bloggers for in-depth feature stories about the island; targeted paid social media campaigns to reach active users; radio promotions and giveaways; and more. Leveraging Visit California opportunities raised awareness in national and regional media. Top media referrals to the LoveCatalina.com website from included articles in ABC 7 Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Times and TravelAwaits which featured information about the island’s reopening in early 2021, driving an increased interest in people searching for and planning vacations to chooses the island as a result of the stories.

Key highlights from Love Catalina marketing and public relations efforts in 2021 include:

• Visitation

813,051 total visitors.

• Highest peak in visitation in July 2021 (123,901 visitors; comparable to 146,219 during the same time in 2019).

Paid Media:

Over 10 million impressions

Over 46,000 Landing Page Views

Over 6,300 Booking Inquiries

186,661 clicks from LoveCatalina.com to directly book hotels and vacation rentals; this is up 66 percent versus 2020 numbers.

• Media relations:

329 earned media placements

Total readership of more than 30 billion.

13 individual media visits including writers at AFAR, Fodor’s Travel Guide, PureWow, San Diego Magazine, and more.

Destination highlights in top-tier media publications, including Travel + Leisure, USA TODAY, Iconic Life, TravelAwaits, KTLA, The Los Angeles Times, Southern California News Group, and more.

Top media referrals to the LoveCatalina.com website were online articles in ABC 7, Los Angeles Times and TravelAwaits highlighting island reopening.

• Digital Visitors Guide

Digital Guide downloads were up by 178 percent compared to 2020.

Award winning Digital Guide was recognized by the 30th Annual North American Travel Journalists Association Awards Competition competing against destination marketing organizations form around the country.

Love Catalina will continue to keep the community apprised on visitation trends and insights within the everchanging travel landscape. The 2022 spring campaign will be shared with members at a Marketing Committee meeting slated for Thursday March 17, 2022. For more information about Love Catalina Island, please visit www.lovecatalina.com.

Love Catalina serves as the official Tourism Authority for Catalina Island. Originally founded in 1949, the nonprofit is comprised of approximately 230 member organizations, working closely with city officials, local businesses and the community at large to attract visitors and support the local economy.

Love Catalina Island is governed by an elected board of directors and is funded in part through the collection of Transient Occupancy Taxes. For more information, please visit www.lovecatalina.com. Travelers can also join the conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lovecatalinaisland) Instagram (@LoveCatalinaIsland) and Twitter (@LoveCatalina).