Arizona destinations and partners, including the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, met at the annual Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism hosted by the Arizona Office of Tourism to strengthen, educate and enhance the industry.

For the first time ever, the Arizona Office of Tourism created a “Grand Pitch” contest, which awarded the best marketing presentation nearly $100,000 in in-kind marketing dollars. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau’s “Sedona Secret 7” campaign blew the judges away, and took home the win.

“Sedona Secret 7” is a social media and digital campaign that identifies seven different categories of under-the-radar sites in Sedona so that visitors can truly experience the area like a local. With the success at the Grand Pitch contest, the Chamber notes that the campaign will officially launch in Winter 2016.

“We are extremely proud and honored to have been chosen as the winner of the new Grand Pitch contest,” Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff said. “We are thrilled to begin working with the media sponsors to promote Sedona in off-peak seasons and to share some off-the-beaten path locations and adventures.”

The “Grand Pitch” contest was for Arizona destinations to enter a marketing idea for a chance to win up to $100,000 from Arizona Office of Tourism media partners. Out of 17 total entries, four finalists had the opportunity to present their ideas to a team of judges during the general session of the conference on Wednesday, July 13. With only eight minutes to present and five minutes of questions from a panel of judges, the fate was then left up to the final vote.

The judging panel consisted of representatives from media partners sponsoring the prize. The sponsors for the Grand Pitch included Condé Nast Traveler, Expedia, Golf Digest, Off Madison Ave, Sojern, TripAdvisor and Travel Zoo. From there, it went to a vote, with judges accounting for 25 percent and audience participation accounting for 75 percent of the final vote. In the end, the highest number of votes went to the Sedona Secret 7 campaign.

The video was created in coordination with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau’s agency of record, Owens Harkey Advertising. Owens Harkey uses classic advertising and public relations strategies, combined with digital and social media tactics to achieve brand goals and aspirations.

The Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism is the premier annual gathering of Arizona’s tourism industry. The Governor’s Conference provides a variety of educational and networking opportunities, all designed to strengthen and enhance Arizona’s tourism industry. The goal of the contest was a way for the Arizona Office of Tourism to support statewide destination marketing efforts and increase the economic benefits of tourism activity.