If a crisis situation arose in your destination tomorrow, would you be ready? We highlight how Visit Santa Barbara, with the help of Barberstock’s Digital Asset Management (DAM) services, changed public perception and helped tourism flourish again in the aftermath of a devastating wildfire and mudslides that ravaged Central California last year.

Timing is Everything

In December 2017, Santa Barbara, Calif. was dealt a devastating 1-2 blow: the largest wildfire in California’s recent history followed by the Montecito mudslides. Tourism came to a halt, and businesses that relied on the holiday season for income had to close temporarily.

Ultimately, Santa Barbara recovered and the land began to mend. And by January 2018, area establishments were open for business once again. However, even as most areas of the region were restored and deemed safe, tourism in the area remained very low.

Visit Santa Barbara faced a huge challenge: the DMO had to change the narrative of what was being portrayed in the media and bring tourism back to the area.

Barberstock’s full-service digital asset management service was integral in Visit Santa Barbara recovery plan and crisis communications efforts, then and now. Check out our case study to learn how DAM worked for the DMO...and how it can work for you!


The Recovery Plan


Santa Barbra needed to be able to provide updated photos to media outlets and also put a stop to the distribution of old damaging photos that were being distributed by locals and partners who didn't realize the negative impact they were having. Santa Barbara set up a recovery plan:

  1. Visit Santa Barbara needed to get new and accurate images and videos into the hands of their partners. They worked with local photographers and videographers to gather real-time visuals of the destinations with time stamps to prove they were recent.
  2. Images and videos were uploaded to Visit Santa Barbara's Baberstock library and placed into a public collection and media toolkit. The link to the library was emailed out to all partners and made available on Visit Santa Barbara's website.


The Results


  • Visit Santa Barbara's efforts worked; by receiving accurate and up-to-date images of the destination the media and local partners were able to assist in the recovery process directly resulting in tourism returning the area and businesses started to recover.
  • The media toolkit and public collection have continued to work wonders, providing not only members and partners with up-to-date assets but it also aids sales teams, who rely on them to bring leisure and group travelers to Santa Barbara.
  • The Santa Barbara team also uses Barberstock’s analytics to see who is downloading the files within the system and how many times these files are downloaded—a feature that provides the bureau with insight and strategy for future distribution and management of assets.
  • Santa Barbara now has a cohesive PR crisis plan in place, this has proven useful for any emergency situation, as well as weather-related incidents.

In the tourism industry, time is of the essence, especially when it comes to communication during crisis control. Our case study exemplifies the importance of timeliness and a well-organized DAM.