Visit Oakland Annual Report January 2020 – December 2020

Letter from the CEO

Never before has Oakland faced the collective challenges presented in 2020. As 2021 begins, our priorities have changed in so many ways. Getting a haircut (without having to know a secret knock) or sharing a slice of pizza and a beer with friends on a patio sometimes feel like distant memories, but also a light at the end of the tunnel that is now within our grasp.

As 2021 progresses, I believe our perspectives will change once more to accept that while we have not returned to “normal,” many aspects of our lives and our livelihoods will have returned to a degree of parity.

We at Visit Oakland –and Oakland’s resilient hospitality industry at large -anticipate that our hard work will begin to pay dividends again in 2021. While we all experienced 60, 70, even 80% reductions in revenue, guests, sales and travelers, we see those numbers continuing to improve as we move into the new year with news of a vaccine and a new presidential administration taking the helm.

Oakland’s economy needs a helping hand, a boost, a steady guide to move forward through 2021, and Visit Oakland is well up to the task.

In 2020, Visit Oakland launched a number of creative campaigns to best support Oakland’s challenged economy:

  • At the onset of Shelter-In-Place ordinances, the team launched “Oakland From Home,” bringing together local businesses taking their sales platforms to the web.
  • While in-person meetings were the first segment to suffer, Visit Oakland maintained relevance with meeting planners by launching virtual trade shows and nurturing relationships integral to a return to business as usual.
  • To raise awareness of the 300+ restaurants doing take-out, we launched a Late Summer Edition to Oakland Restaurant Week.
  • Our Spend Stay Love campaign embraced our BIPOC communities by supporting all of our small businesses in every neighborhood in Oakland, resulting in a new marketing partnership with the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce as well as a resounding endorsement from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
  • To keep Oakland top-of-mind with travelers, we partnered with Visit California and San Francisco Travel on their “Calling All Californians” campaign. We queried that if travelers were “Going Somewhere?”, they should consider Oakland and engage our destination through new, physically distanced content to explore our outdoor dining, outdoor spaces and COVID-compliant hotels.
  • To reinforce the importance of protecting Oakland’s communities, our Community Travel Pledge set out a guide of expectations to see us through COVID challenges until we are able to come out the other side.

As we reflect on the challenges and success of the last year, we also do have many wonderful things to look forward to... Bringing team members back to work, re-opening our restaurants and bars with indoor dining, visitors wandering our neighborhoods looking for what makes Oakland, Oakland. I for one can’t wait to stand in line at Oakland International Airport to get my luggage or pay for my parking.

I hope that you will enjoy a look back at 2020 and our many accomplishments in the face of unprecedented challenges. I look forward to working with all of you to forge a new path in 2021.

Mark Everton President & CEO at Visit Oakland


Digital Marketing / Owned

Social Media

Top 3 Posts

Top Themes

  • Scenic views
  • Architecture/city views
  • Social justice

Email Newsletter

Visitor Guide


Oakland Restaurant Week

January 2020

  • 103 Restaurant Participants
  • 886 ORW reservations made through OpenTable
  • 7/7 sold out events

Black History Month

February 2020

  • 10.9k website sessions
  • 19.3% web traffic increase from LA audience (target)
  • 222 correlated hotel searches through BookDirect

Oakland From Home

April 2020 – July 2020

  • 3,722 pageviews
  • Average 4:10 minutes on site

Oakland Restaurant Week Late Summer Edition

September 2020

  • 345 restaurant participants
  • 6,318 referrals from website restaurant listings
  • 2.9 million advertising impressions

Spend, Stay, Love Oakland

August-December 2020

  • Partner Referrals: 588
  • 25,378 pageviews
  • Social media follower increase during campaign: 3,270
  • Partnerships with Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce and City of Oakland

Going Somewhere

October 2020–December 2020 (continuing into 2021)

  • Impressions: 9,087,802
  • Hotel bookings with Expedia/Hotels.com: 1,613
  • Estimated Oakland Hotel Revenue $196,486
  • Return on ad spend; $10.19
  • Developed Oakland Community Travel Pledge
  • Participated in “Calling All Californians” Co-op Campaign with Visit California and San Francisco Travel


Public Relations

A Commitment to Equity and Diversity


Attended 9 Industry Events

  • Panelist/Speaker @ 5
  • Sponsor @ 1

Hosted 12 Client Events

  • 2 in person, 10 virtual
  • 96 new contacts made
  • 3 leads generated

Attended 11 Tradeshows

  • 290 total appointments
  • 23 leads generated
  • Brought 15 total Oakland hotel partners to 2 events

Highlights include:

  • Mai Tai Happy Hour Sponsor at Connect Sports, September 2020
  • Virtual Build Your Own Mai Tai Happy Hour Activation for 500 planners at Connect Marketplace Orlando, October 2020
  • Education Sponsor at Connect Marketplace with introductions and Oakland video presentations before 32 education sessions
  • Backpack and breakfast sponsor at Destination West with 3 minute speaking time & video


  • Hosted ‘Once in a Leap Year FUM’, February 2020
  • 7 new contacts
  • 2 leads with 200 total RN

Other Accomplishments

  • GBAC Certification for Oakland Convention Center
  • Alameda County Variance Task Force: Spearheaded partnership between Visit Berkeley and Visit Tri Valley to establish partnership with Alameda County Health Officer on allowing meetings to resume.

Staff Accomplishments


  • 30 Under 30 Award, Destinations International – Lisa Baird
  • Stella Award Best DMO in Far West Region, Northstar Meetings – Visit Oakland
  • Smart Women in Meetings, Smart Meetings – Rhanee Palma
  • 40 Under 40, Connect Meetings – Rex Maxion

6 new board members:

  • Taj Tashome, Oakland Athletics
  • Paul Tormey, Fairmont Claremont Resort
  • Dennis Berris, Homewood Suites
  • Jermaine Gause, Sonder
  • Mark Ive, Hilton OAK
  • Pete dePashalis, Southwest Airlines