San Diego Tourism Authority

Case Study

San Diego’s pioneering tourism marketing district (TMD) program had been so successful over its five-year life that the renewal effort called for a 40 year program. As San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) anticipated the passage of the new TMD (and the accompanying reliable revenue stream), its leadership knew that a well-conceived strategic plan would equip the organization to better utilize the marketing dollars and strengthen its programs aimed at positioning the city as a global travel destination. But the SDTA knew it had to find a balance. The Authority serves a variety of stakeholders both in the city and in surrounding areas. And not every one of these stakeholders shared the same opinion on how the SDTA should execute its mission.

SDTA engaged Coraggio to direct the creation of a three-year strategic plan. The project gave the bureau the opportunity to reaffirm (or, in some cases, re-cast) its values, to shape its culture to ensure it could meet varied stakeholder demands, and to equip its staff to think more strategically in executing in individual and team roles.

During our four-month engagement with the SDTA, Coraggio conducted one-on-one interviews as well as small-group discussions with stakeholders throughout the San Diego region, including hoteliers, restaurateurs, attractions, business and civic leaders, local travel industry, and SDTA board members. We then guided the bureau through its strategic planning process. We designed a process to involve the full participation of all 50+ SDTA staff. Our objective was to ensure a high level of inclusion and transparency from start to finish in order to create a shared sense of ownership in the plan once it was completed.

We are proud to say that SDTA’s strategic planning efforts  paid off. In fact, the strategic plan received unanimous approval of the Board –not an easy accomplishment given the diversity of opinions and vested interests that currently exist in San Diego.

“ We were fortunate to hire Coraggio. Our key stakeholders were positively engaged and challenged to rethink and re-envision the organization’s strategic direction. Coraggio helped us to develop a compelling Strategic Plan and easy-to-visualize road map. Their experience, insights and tools helped us to move through the process in record time. ”

— Joe Terzi, President & CEO