This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

IDAHO Goes to ESTO

Each year hundreds of destination professionals flock to the U.S. Travel Association’s prestigious conference—ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations). ESTO is a unique event in that the entire conference is exclusive for destination marketers, including signature media sponsors, city and state organizations. It is not open for industry sectors, and even agencies must be personally invited and accepted in order to attend. This creates a sales-free environment that is focused on industry trends, best practices and the sharing of great work. This year, Portland hosted the event with a record attendance of almost 850 people.

A highlight of the event is the U.S. Travel Awards Show held the last night of the conference honoring the nation’s best tourism marketing. There is typically a theme for the night. This year happened to be “hipster”, which was wildly popular and fitting for Portland. The show is broken out by Destiny Awards (for non-state destinations) and Mercury Awards (for state tourism offices). The U.S. Travel Association defines Mercury Awards as recognizing “members for excellent and creative accomplishment in state destination marketing and promotion,” and there are a variety of awards for categories like broadcast, print, website, co-op marketing, overall campaign, etc.

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We are excited to announce that our client, Idaho Tourism, took home the honor of Best Visitor Guide for their 2014 Travel Guide. We believe the beautiful cover showcasing mountain-biking at Schweitzer Mountain Resort  by Woods Wheatcroft played a part in this win, along with the easy to navigate layout and beautiful photography throughout. There is a whole team behind this 120-page book. Special shout outs to our Art Director, Cale Cathey, and the whole Division of Tourism crew and our local photography partners including Regal 360. It takes a team and we were honored to bring the growler home to Idaho. Of course, we had to hipsterize it…

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