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ConVis Enlists MeringCarson Ad Agency for New Campaign

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau has named MeringCarson its new advertising agency of record.

With offices in Oceanside and Sacramento, the firm was selected for its extensive knowledge of the travel and tourism industry, the bureau announced April 21.

MeringCarson’s client roster includes the state Division of Tourism and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. It will develop and execute a marketing campaign valued at roughly $5.5 million. But that sum could increase as collections from the Tourism Marketing District, a 2 percent self-assessment on the city’s hotels that went into effect in January, are funneled to the bureau.

This is the first time in more than 10 years that ConVis has done an agency review. Di Zinno Thompson had the bureau’s account for eight years prior to merging with NYCA Inc. of Encinitas in May 2005 when that company assumed the responsibility.

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NYCA did not participate in the bid process launched in January, said ConVis spokesman Sal Giametta.

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What’s Hot:

Open less than a year, the 249-room, $300 million The Grand Del Mar made the Conde Nast Traveller magazine’s 2008 “Hot List” in its May edition.

The luxury resort, which opened in May 2007 in the North County about 25 miles from downtown, earned praise as a “Top New Hotel” and “Top New Spa.”

According to the magazine, the hotel mixes traditional and modern elements, paying “homage to old-world design and New Age lifestyles, blending hand-stenciled ceilings and herbal reflexology, gold leaf balusters and flat-screen TVs that double as electronic abstract paintings.”

Its Renaissance-inspired spa was listed among 76 “Hot Spas” worldwide. “Inspired by Addison Mizner’s opulent Florida villas, the building suggests the Gilded Age,” the magazine stated. “The treatment menu in the 21,000-square-foot space, however, which employs specially made products with eucalyptus, sage and mineral-rich muds , is refreshingly New World.”

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Movable Feast:

San Diego County will be treated to a second course of Restaurant Week, June 22-27. Food lovers may dine out at as many of the 130 participating eateries as they wish for $30 or $40 per person (tax, beverage and gratuity are not included). There are no tickets or passes required, however, advance reservations are strongly recommended and may be made by calling participating restaurants directly or by visiting www.SanDiegoRestaurantWeek.com.

“We are proud that San Diego Restaurant Week, originally launched in 2005, has become the poster child for restaurant weeks across the nation,” said Ingrid Croce, cookbook author and owner of Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar. Croce is the event chairwoman.


Send tourism and hospitality news to Connie Lewis via e-mail: clewis@sdbj.com.

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