Success story

Visit Seattle


Seattle, WA

Visit Seattle streamlines media outreach to drive record-breaking tourism

Anyone who has been to Seattle knows the city is so much more than cloud-blanketed skies, artisan coffee, and the Space Needle; it has a character all its own that can be difficult to translate into digital media. That’s where Visit Seattle’s marketing and sales teams come in: the nonprofit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) works with agencies and freelance photographers to capture the city’s unique gems, bringing in tourists from all over the world.

David Newman, Creative Director at Visit Seattle, leads the creation and management of these critical digital assets. To keep the team running smoothly even as Seattle tourism grows, David spearheaded the search and implementation of a digital asset management (DAM) solution to help team members and outside collaborators get the assets they need, when they need them.

The goal

The organization needed an intuitive, easy-to-use DAM solution that would bring the team together and save time when dealing with their growing digital asset library.

The result

The marketing and sales teams are set up to self-serve with Canto, saving time and speeding up workflows.

Goal: An easy user experience with DAM

Before David took control of digital asset management at Visit Seattle, the nonprofit organization had been using a DAM solution popular within the travel and tourism industry. David describes this previous system as “mindboggingly counterintuitive and expensive”; team members didn’t actually use the solution because it was too convoluted to figure out.

“Our previous solution had a lot of functionality, but it was very nonvisual – like seeing a wall of text without paragraph breaks or punctuation. That’s just not how people work,” said David.

To move the team forward, David knew they needed a DAM that would bring the team together, not scare them away. He evaluated and deeply compared seven products, finally choosing Canto for its flexibility, user-friendliness, and price point.

Visit Seattle Streamlines Media Outreach to Drive Record-Breaking Tourism (Photo credit: Visit Seattle)

Enter Canto: A DAM for the whole team

No stranger to bold moves, David took the lead with the organization’s transition to Canto.

“Although there was already an interest in moving on because people understood how our previous DAM wasn’t helping anyone, there was also a bit of reticence to try a new system. But once people saw how easy Canto is – how easy it is to tag, collect, and share things – they got on board quickly,” said David.

By migrating files over and setting up the library structure before introducing Canto to the broader team, he avoided any possible confusion. David implemented the folder structure in a way that made sense for the organization: each department has its own folder which contains content most relevant to them. He set “big bucket” items such as neighborhoods and major landmarks as keywords, and encourages his team to use tags generously to help folks find assets as easily as possible. Thanks to David’s foresight and Canto’s intuitive design, the organization was able to start reaping the benefits of their new DAM solution right away.

Internally, marketing uses Canto to centralize assets created by in-house photographers, freelance content creators, and production agencies. Once in Canto, the assets are easy to find and share. To streamline their media relations workflow, the team created a media portal containing pre-approved assets that they can share with press with just a link.

The sales team, which brings meetings and events to the Washington State Convention Center, also uses Canto to find and access assets they need when they’re in the field. Sales representatives can quickly download the images they need to create presentations on the fly or communicate with prospects and clients.

Canto is really easy to understand. It’s rare that people come to me for help with Canto, because it’s just so intuitive.

David NewmanCreative Director

Results: More bookings for happier hotels, restaurants & attractions

Canto helps David and his team save time and avoid frustration when dealing with their growing digital asset library. Training a new team member to use Canto takes only 15 minutes, and then they’re set to self serve and access the assets they need.

“Canto is really easy to understand. It’s rare that people come to me for help with Canto, because it’s just so intuitive,” said David.

For David, success for Visit Seattle is quite straightforward: it’s “heads in beds and butts in seats.” The more hotel beds are filled and tourist attractions and shows sell tickets, the more tourism contributes to Seattle’s economy.

And Visit Seattle’s efforts are paying off. In 2018, Seattle saw its eighth consecutive year of record tourism, welcoming 40.9 million visitors who contributed $7.8 billion to the local economy.

With Canto easing the flow of their marketing and sales teams, Visit Seattle looks forward to continuing this upward trend.