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Case Study: Destination Vacaville, California


For years Vacaville, California, has been basically known for two major attractions: The Nut Tree and the Factory Outlet stores.

However, Melyssa Laughlin, CEO of Visit Vacaville, felt their town, 55 miles east of San Francisco and 35 miles west of Sacramento, had much more to offer visitors.

She felt if visitors looked a little closer, they would discover more than a famous restaurant or factory outlet stores.

They would find an array of unique local treasures and interests and, overall, a richer adventure true to the Northern California spirit.

So, Laughlin determined to find a new way to tell Vacaville’s deeper and better story--one that was more authentic while more interesting for potential visitors to experience. She reached out to Destination Storytellers to assist in making their goal a reality.


Destination Storyteller’s approach and solution revolved around 3 stages:

1. Brand identity and brand awareness at every stage of a visitor’s journey, especially in the dreaming and sharing stages. Hence, Vacaville’s storytelling is a top rather than secondary priority for the DMO team.

2. Shift story development and production focus to local experiences and stories indigenous to Vacaville and the emotions they evoke, rather than on stories based upon the usual events, places, businesses and “things to do” themes. We isolated story themes and content that organically grew from Vacaville’s core values, zeitgeist, people, history, culture or relationships.

3. Based on the findings above, our professional creative storytellers (real artists rather than staff) wrote narratives. The best of these functioned as “signature stories” that stood out because they communicated in Vacaville’s authentic voice and interestingly expressed its unique personality and vibe.


"It's been a strategic priority to see our destination brand storytelling evolve from the typical education or promotional approach

to a more personal and entertaining one that touches emotions as well as minds,. The signature brand stories Destination Storytellers created helped us achieve our brand storytelling goal,"said Laughlin.

We anticipate these signature stories will measurably help position Vacaville as a promising destination for meaningful visitor discoveries and experiences.

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