The San Marcos Convention & Visitor Bureau (SMCVB) brought home three Destination Excellence Awards from the Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (TACVB) during their annual conference in South Padre Island this August. SMCVB earned first place for Website Design & Effectiveness and Public Relations, as well as a second place award for Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) of the Year. 

“I am incredibly proud of our team,” said Director of Destination Services Rebecca Ybarra. “Last year was tough for everyone, but they poured their heart and soul into making San Marcos a great place to visit. I’m so glad the SMCVB staff are getting recognized for all their hard work.”

First Place Website Design & Effectiveness Award

The SMCVB went through a complete website overhaul in August 2021, with microsites created for Downtown, Music and Arts. A Partner Connect portal was created for local tourism partners to stay connected to the ongoings around town and a new booking engine for local hotels was integrated into the platform. The website overhaul included all new iconography for San Marcos, which took elements from San Marcos’ past and created a modern yet playful take on the San Marcos experience. 

First Place Public Relations Award 

The Mermaid Capital of Texas promotion was a collaborative effort with other City departments and the community. It included a microsite with more information about the designation, promotional video, a “press conference with flair,” and media bags with Mermaid Capital of Texas swag. Decals were also created and placed around Downtown businesses touting the designation, and a graphic kit was made available for locals to use for mermaid related branding. 

Second Place DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) of the Year Award

The DMO of the Year Award went to Texas destinations that made a significant impact within the travel industry. San Marcos came in second place for their outstanding work in 2021.

  • Storytelling in Downtown San Marcos – The SMCVB collaborated with Downtown San Marcos to turn vacant buildings into a self-guided walking tour of San Marcos history and local lore. 
  • Adding Color to Downtown San Marcos – The SMCVB also collaborated with Downtown San Marcos to create the Downtown Outdoor Gallery, street banners designed by local artists and new walking wayfinding signs. 
  • Major Events –Organizers brought two major events to San Marcos in 2021. The Great Race brought 120 antique, vintage and collector cars to Downtown for their first stop of the race in June 2021. The Beer Now Conference brought craft beer bloggers and influencers from all over the country to San Marcos to explore the craft beer scene for their pre-conference excursion in November 2021. 
  • Music & Mermaids – San Marcos earned the Mermaid Capital of Texas designation in July 2021, which was celebrated with a media event kicking off “Mermaid Month” in San Marcos. The Texas Music Office designated San Marcos a Music Friendly Community in October 2021. This designation inspired Listen San Marcos, a music-centric branch of the SMCVB. 
  • Website & Expanded Vendors – In addition to the website overhaul, the SMCVB integrated a new hotel booking platform for local hotels, created microsites for Downtown, Music, and Arts, created the Partner Connect for local tourism partners, and saw a dramatic increase in website traffic.