2015-2016 Annual Report: Communications

Worked directly with media pitching story ideas, hosting press trips and responding to inquiries, to garner positive editorial coverage. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the department continued to pitch and host journalists with the mentality of quality vs. quantity, which has produced stellar results in the past, as well as to develop relationships with key media, which will hopefully yield results for future stories.

Continued to engage many mainstream travel outlets that consider Raleigh, N.C., a destination that is “new” and “undiscovered.” There is increased interest in Raleigh as a travel destination, and because of this, the Communications Department hosted 72 credentialed and working media from publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Delta Sky, Atlanta Publishing, Huffington Post and numerous others. In addition to individual media visits, three group media tours were hosted in partnership with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina’s Visit N.C. PR team as well as The Umstead Hotel and Spa and in conjunction with the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass week and the launch of the Delta Air Lines nonstop flight to RDU from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Welcomed 100 journalists and destination PR representatives to Raleigh, N.C., April 24-27, for the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Eastern Chapter Conference. SATW is a professional association made up of 1,100 print, digital, broadcast and photo journalists, public relations professionals and hospitality industry representatives from the U.S. and Canada. The conference was held at the Raleigh Marriott City Center with media tours and functions throughout the destination, allowing ample time for the group to explore various highlights of the destination, including restaurants, attractions, retail and guided tours.

Hit the road to take the Raleigh, N.C., message to key media markets and industry conferences. The department was able to pitch Raleigh story ideas to over 320 journalists in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York City and Charlotte.

Garnered $7 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, Southbound Magazine, NY Magazine, Meetings Focus, Forbes, Travel and Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler among many others.

Wrote 15 press releases and distributed to appropriate, targeted media outlets locally, regionally and nationally. Releases focused on topics ranging from CVB accomplishments and initiatives to leisure marketing campaigns such as the Raleigh, N.C., Beer Month campaign (April 2016).

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 PR best practices for securing local media coverage of their respective events.