What’s In a Name?

For Travel Portland, it’s a whole new way of selling a diverse destination

By: Marty Wentzel

This is the first Image
The Heathman Hotel’s Books By Your
Bedside package includes a hardcover book.
The Portland Oregon Visitors Association is out, Travel Portland is in, and with that name change comes the debut of a redesigned Web site for the destination marketing association.

“It seemed like the start of a new year was the perfect time to unveil our new brand,” said Travel Portland president Jeff Miller.

During the reinvention process, Miller and his team looked for ways to convey the warm and authentic feeling of the so-called City of Roses.

“We have always positioned Portland as environmentally conscious, outdoorsy, independent, creative, friendly and unfiltered,” said Miller. “Our goal with the new brand was not only to continue to highlight these traits but to add a sophisticated urban element something we hadn’t focused on heavily before.”

In retooling its brand, Travel Portland took a cue from extensive market research.

“We saw that travelers and meeting planners were well aware of Portland’s reputation as an eco-friendly destination with lots of recreation,” said Miller. “What they weren’t so sure of was whether or not there was anything to do at night. Is there culture, arts, fine dining? The new brand although not abandoning the key messages of green and outdoorsy focuses more prominently on the fact that Portland has a classy city center that is surrounded by all the things people have heard about, like mountains, the wine country and the Columbia River Gorge.”

Browsers to Travel Portland’s revamped Web site are greeted by a dramatic difference in its overall appearance, from fonts to photos. Look deeper and it’s clear that the site is more customer-focused than before.

“We want to provide extensive information to potential visitors,” Miller said, “and we also want to give them access to opinions and feedback from other travelers.” To that end, the site will soon feature a Trip Advisor-style Web portal called Go.See.

Portland, where anyone travel agents, clients, tour operators, meeting planners and armchair travelers alike can set up a free account.

After they build an online profile, they receive ongoing information and updates based on their areas of interest.

Go.See.Portland users will be able to post their own reviews of places they’ve visited in the city as well as scan reviews posted by other users.

“What we say about Portland on our Web site could be considered a bit biased,” said Miller. “But if dozens of other travelers who have already been to Portland recommend the same things we do, it certainly lends legitimacy to our suggestions. Comments to this Web site can be posted by anyone, and comments can be good or bad. So, users will see a mix of feedback from all types of travelers.”

Travel Portland plans to enhance the new Web site with the introduction of a travel blog.

“We’ll have a variety of voices contributing to the blog, but among those will be a tourism department staff member,” Miller explained. “That person’s entries will focus on topics and information of interest to agents and tour operators.

“The more information that’s available [on our Web site], the more likely travelers are to find a hook or a lure that tips the vacation scales in our favor,” Miller added. “People have thousands of travel options, so anything that gives us a competitive edge and pushes clients toward Portland is great.”



As Travel Portland rolls out its new brand, the restaurants, attractions and accommodations it promotes continue to come up with news of note to travel agents and their clients.

A new restaurant called Rocket recently blasted onto the scene, attracting attention for its green design and sustainable ingredients. The building features a rooftop garden where the chef grows many of his own herbs and vegetables; a natural aquifer that recycles rainwater; and large windows that lower energy bills by filling the dining room with natural light.

Deschutes Brewery
Fresh from Bend, Ore., Deschutes Brewery is opening a pub in Portland’s Pearl District. Known throughout the Pacific Northwest for its high-quality beer, the company is targeting a May 2 opening. The 190-seat restaurant and 70-seat bar will transform a 1900’s building with a decor highlighted by Douglas fir timbers and views of fermentation tanks.

Portland Art Museum
At the Portland Art Museum, clients can now see an original Vincent van Gogh canvas called The Ox-Cart, dating back to 1884. Donated to the museum by longtime Oregon residents, the priceless work is on public display in the attraction’s Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art.

Heathman Hotel
Portland’s Heathman Hotel which touts a lending library now offers the Books By Your Bedside package in partnership with the city’s famed Powell’s Books. For $229 per night, couples get a hardcover edition from a recent guest author, travel reading light, city walking map, bookmark, Powell’s map and guide, personal tour of the library and continental breakfast.

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