Morro Bay, California
Currently I sit as the Chair of the Morro Bay Tourism Improvement District (TBID), and volunteer as the President of the Morro Bay Maritime Museum. I am the past Chair of Visit SLO CAL (VCB), past Chair of the Central Coast Tourism Council, and past President Central Coast Aquarium (Sea Life Center).
THE YATES STORY —
As a young boy my parents brought our family to Morro Bay for a summer vacation, and although I was only 10 I remembered it well — especially the Rock and all the great seafood.
When I had the opportunity to move to the Central Coast we chose Morro Bay as our home. California the way it used to be. Cool, casual and welcoming. People here smile and greet each other like family and I love it! Being a boater, surfer, fisher the bay, beaches and parks fill my days with joy.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
The guests! Sharing our Rock’n with the world.
What distinguishes Morro Bay from other coastal California communities?
We have it all in one place — the best beaches, parks, bay and estuary. You can golf, swim, surf, kayak, stand up paddle board, go fishing, relax on a sunset cruise, go whale watching. Live like a Morro Bay local.
What’s your assessment of the tourism situation in 2019?
Tourism is a very competitive business and we are serious about how we show the world our home. Many things influence travelers from weather, to politics. We strive to offer something uniquely California, only Morro Bay can offer.
In terms of your marketing efforts — how are you positioning Morro Bay?
Positioned as the place where you can “Put life on Coast!” We do our best to attract all types of travelers, through Group Sales, Foreign Individual Travel services, attending 2 International Trade Shows…asking travelers to come and “Live like a Local” and get out in nature to find oneself.
Millennials are being sought by many locations — what specific steps are you doing to attract them to the area?
We are an attractive destination for millennials as we ask them to “Live like a local!” giving all an opportunity to get back to their better nature…discover the joys of all Morro Bay has to offer. Our newly launched website, Facebook and Instagram posts keep our message fresh and relevant. On the golf course we have a young adult rate of $20 age 25 and under. $5 ages 18 and under. We also have USB ports in all of our golf carts so millennials can charge there phone.
How big of a market does Morro Bay get from those outside of the United States?
Not as big as we want and we can do better. We are growing our foreign travel market through group sales, contracts with Individual Foreign Travelers Services (FIT) and attending two International Trade shows.
How important is having a golf course right in town and how many rounds does the facility do annually?
The Morro Bay Golf Course is an integral part of what Morro Bay is…with over 63,000 rounds played annually! The well established and maintained course is an important asset to our community and guests from around the world. The Inn at Morro Bay even offers a free bucket of range balls for every guest! A great course for all ranges of skill, from Pro to novice, the Morro Bay Golf Course is the place to play!
Do you have information on usual length of stay in Morro Bay and dollar amount spent when visiting?
Average stay is just below two nights, with an average spend of $1,100
The high season is when? And how important is the shoulder season — both prior and after?
Although tradition dictates seasons, we are blessed with temperate year round weather, with some of our best weather during the fall and winter. The shoulder season offers discounted rates and specials to enhance visitors to stay longer and take advantage of all we have to offer. I personally love the fall — or “Indian Summer” with the best weather and uncrowded beaches. October and November are heavenly.
Biggest challenges facing Morro Bay — short and long term?
Competition, within our county and beyond. The increase in demand for VRBO and Air B&Bs, as well as Camping and RVing has changed the landscape for lodging choices. As Morro Bay has it all we are in a good position for continued success.
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