2014-2015 Annual Report: Communications

Continued to tell the story of Raleigh to garner positive publicity for the destination and Wake County hospitality partners. During the 2014-2015 fiscal year the department continued to pitch and host journalists with a quality vs. quantity approach that has produced stellar results in many top-tier media outlets.

Raleigh continues to be a destination that is "new" to travel outlets. There is increased interest in Raleigh as a travel destination, and because of this, the Communications Department hosted 58 credentialed and working travel media from publications including Delta Sky, Simply Buckhead, New York Magazine, AAA Carolina's Go Magazine, USA TODAY, The Local Palate, Huffington Post and numerous others. In addition to individual media visits, a group media familiarization tour was held in conjunction with the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass week, where five national journalists experienced not only the music of the festival but also the sights, sounds and culinary options that make Raleigh a great visitor destination all year long.

Hit the road this year to take the Raleigh message to key media markets and industry conferences. The department was able to pitch Raleigh story ideas to over 230 journalists (cumulative) at the Society of American Travel Writers International Conference, at Travel Media Showcase and during invitation-only media events in New York City, Portsmouth and Charlotte.

Garnered $4 million in earned media value through stellar media coverage of the Raleigh area as a premier leisure, meeting and sports destination. "Big hits" in national publications included Huffington Post, Our State, Garden and Gun, AAA Carolina's Go Magazine, Rejuvenate, Meetings Focus, USA TODAY, Saveur and Condé Nast Traveler among many others.

Wrote 20 press releases and distributed to appropriate, targeted media outlets locally, regionally and nationally. Releases focused on topics ranging from GRCVB accomplishments and initiatives to leisure marketing campaigns such as the Greater Raleigh Beer Month campaign.

Served as a co-chair for the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass media relations committee, member of the Wake County Economic Development Public Relations Committee and guest public relations lecturer at Appalachian State University (twice a year). Throughout the year assisted multiple meeting and sports organizations and planners on public relations best practices for securing local media coverage of their respective events.

Secured the winning bid to host the Society of American Travel Writers Eastern Chapter Convention in Raleigh, Apr. 24-27, 2016. This conference will welcome 80 travel journalists to the Raleigh area for a three-day conference, which will consist of both half- and full-day tours of the destination.