SALT LAKE CITY, November 2011 - At its annual conference held mid-October, the Western Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (WACVB) presented Visit Salt Lake with one of four Best Idea Program Achievement Awards for Visit Salt Lake's "SLC Summer Crew Campaign," a summer-long social media-based program featuring 22 'crew members,' or brand ambassadors. The WACVB award is presented annually to destination marketing organizations which execute innovative projects and creative marketing strategies.

Visit Salt Lake's "SLC Summer Crew Campaign" utilized enthusiastic and passionate locals to promote summer activities in and around Salt Lake, selecting individuals based on their influence on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, and on their reach in the blogosphere (Klout score). The Crew Members were tasked with completing 12 weekly 'challenges' in and around Salt Lake during the summer months, all of which involved taking and posting photos to Facebook and Twitter, and/or checking into various locations via Foursquare.

"It's fantastic to be recognized by our peers for being innovative, thinking outside of the box, particularly in terms of our social media programs," commented Scott Beck, president & CEO of Visit Slat Lake. "We strive to think of and implement creative strategies to drive engagement with our Facebook fans and Twitter followers, and to direct traffic to our YouTube and Flickr channels. These new Social Media channels are critical tools for us; they allow us to not only inform our varied and sizeable audiences of all that Salt Lake has to offer, but we can also listen to what is being said about Salt Lake. This two-way communication with our visitors is vital, and is truly creating trusted brand ambassadors in a whole new way."

Over the course of the program ─ June 1-August 30 ─ Visit Salt Lake's Facebook "Likes," or fans, grew from 37,437 to 55,286, many of which can be directly attributed to the social media activity and engagement of the crew members. (Additional factors include targeted advertising and engaging Facebook and Twitter posts.) In just 10 months (Jan. 3-Nov. 16, 2011), the fanbase for Visit Salt Lake's Facebook page has increased from 3,607 to 78,340, and continues to rapidly grow. On Twitter, Visit Salt Lake promotes all aspects of the capital city to 9,041 very dedicated and engaged followers, up from 1,798 since Jan. 3, 2011, placing it at the top of the list of Utah tourism entities for numbers of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

Other destination marketing organizations to receive a WACVB 2011 Best Idea Program Achievement Award were the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit Oakland and San Francisco Travel Association.

Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. Visit Salt Lake's mission is to improve the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors while being a leader in environmental responsibility. Salt Lake is a unique fusion of metropolitan city and quaint mountain town; the towering Wasatch Mountains that embrace Salt Lake offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of downtown.