California ‘Glamping’ Tour: Bloggers Venture Out in Venza

September 05, 2012
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Venza with a View – “Hey, look, we took 1st place in a Toyota USA-sponsored photo contest amongst our fellow travelers on the California Venza Glamping Tour,” wrote Carol Porter on The Roaming Boomers Facebook page. “Oh what a feeling, Toyota!” Porter was one of nine travel bloggers who participated in the tour.
David and Veronica James aren’t just Empty Nesters. They’re Gypsy Nesters, who write about life on the road. So it’s not surprising that Venza commercials featuring stay-at-home children and away-from-home parents appealed to the Baby Boomers.
 
“We thought: Wow, that is right up our alley,” they wrote on their Gypsy Nesters blog. “They are marketing this car directly at us.”
 
Indeed. In August, Toyota Motor Sales loaned the couple a Venza and took them “glamping” (glamour plus camping) on the Southern California coast.  That, the pair wrote, is when the Venza “drove its way into our hearts.”
 
And onto their blog, Twitter and Facebook, which reach thousands of followers and friends.
 
Nine travel bloggers participated in the weeklong Venza glamping tour, which began in Santa Monica with a scenic drive up Pacific Coast Highway. Participants then glamped in cushy cabins in El Capitan Canyon, north of Santa Barbara, before driving back down to Beverly Hills. Along the way, they biked, hiked and kayaked.
 
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Cattle Call – “Wait. What? There are COWS on top of this beach house in Malibu!” wrote Veronica James on her Gypsy Nesters blog.
“We wanted to show the vehicle in its natural setting,” says Greg Thome, Toyota Division Communications manager. “We wanted to show people who generally buy the vehicle how it can actually be used. The event and the vehicle matched their demographic. And their demographic is our demographic.”
 
Namely, active Baby Boomers who travel.
 
The event also provided exposure for the 2013 Venza in the middle of its model cycle. “Once we get done launching a vehicle, we need to determine how we can continue to promote it,” Thome says. “We don’t want to launch them and leave them. What can we do to help promote cars that aren’t brand new?”
 
They can invite lifestyle media to help promote them. For example, writers on the Venza tour competed in a photo contest – and posted their entries on Twitter and Facebook. “We wanted to prime them to use social media during the event,” Thome says.
 
They did, both during and after the event.
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Timeout for a Taco – “There’s always room for tacos! We found a ginormous guy on top of a restaurant in Malibu,” wrote David James on his Gypsy Nesters blog.
 
“Designed in California and built in Kentucky, [Venza] is a nimble cross between SUV and sporty coupe that easily held everything we could need while looking good along the way,” wrote the Gypsy Nesters, whose Venza was “an eye-catching metallic green called Cypress Pearl.
 
“Our Pearl turned out to be a real gem, taking us up the Pacific Coast Highway in open-up-the-sunroof-and-turn-up-the-tunes California cruzin’ style,” they wrote. “We explored without a care because the onboard navigation always knew exactly how to get us where we were going.”
 
And when they got to the end of their trip, what did the Gypsy Nesters do after breakfast in bed? “We spent the rest of the morning brainstorming how to fit our new friend Pearl into our suitcase.”
 
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Gone Fishing – “We loved our luxury nature camping at Santa Barbara’s El Capitan Canyon,” tweeted Wayne and Pat Dunlap of their Plan Your Escape blog. “Here we go fishing.”
 

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