A Year in Review – Insights from Love Catalina

Catalina Island Tourism Authority Shares a Look Back at Challenges and Successes in 2020

AVALON, CALIF. (Dec. 31, 2020) – Following an unprecedented year, Love Catalina, the official Tourism Authority for Catalina Island, shares challenges, insights and obstacles overcome in 2020.

In January, the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau set out to re-invent the organization, with a plan to rename and rebrand to Love Catalina in spring 2020. The new name and brand were meant to better reflect the organization’s mission to promote and share love for the small island located off the coast of southern California.

When the pandemic hit in early spring, everything was put on hold. Following one of the toughest years in the tourism and hospitality industries, the organization continuously pivoted to meet the needs of travelers and locals throughout the uncertainty. These efforts included:

  • “No Man Is An Island” – Following the island’s closure to leisure travelers in March, Love Catalina quickly worked to create a video campaign. Produced in a matter of days, and utilizing beautiful footage captured by IEX, the video gave an honest look at the state of travel, while reiterating the importance of human connections to survive and thrive. The video campaign was shared with regional and national media outlets, getting pickup in NBC Los Angeles, CBS Los Angeles, and has more than 11K views on YouTube. 
  • Rebrand Launch – When travel restrictions began lifting in June, the team officially launched the rebrand to Love Catalina. In conjunction with the announcement, Love Catalina President and CEO Jim Luttjohann shared a personal “Love Letter” as homage to the island, its residents and visitors, while also sharing a hopeful message for the future of travel. This earned national and regional coverage in outlets such as Forbes.com, PeterGreenberg.com, and more.
  • New Website – To reflect the rebrand, a new website was also launched in June. In response to the constantly changing COVID-19 restrictions, the organization created a “What’s Open” landing page, updated in real-time with the status of travel, along with operating updates from businesses on the island. This page has proved a tremendous resource for future travelers, along with media.
  • Third Night Free Promotion – In late summer, when we were ready to promote travel back to the island, the Love Catalina team worked closely with local hotels to craft a mid-week offer to help travelers extend their stay. The offer was one of the top performing promotions for local hotels and helped generate 11,459 clicks to partner’s booking engine.
  • Outdoor Dining – In response to indoor dining restrictions put forth by the State, outdoor dining permits were swiftly put in place by the City of Avalon and business owners, which allowed many restaurants to continue operating and set up tables directly on the beach. The Love Catalina team leveraged this by promoting theses unique dining experiences through traditional media relations (i.e. “Best Places for Outdoor Dining in SoCal”) and amplifying via social media, successfully receiving recognition in top outlets such as Eater Los Angeles, Rediscover America, Visit California and more.

While overall visitation and was down from 2019, Catalina Island saw numbers start to increase in late summer and early fall. In October, for example, Catalina beat destinations in its competitive set, and saw 67,808 visits (slightly down from 78,170 in 2019). While it has undoubtedly been a challenging year, these statistics are a hopeful reminder that Catalina Island is a destination poised for recovery once travel restrictions are lifted.

For more information about Love Catalina Island, please visit www.lovecatalina.com.

About Love Catalina Island:

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_).